Here are two things to consider when you barbecue:
When cooking on your BBQ, remember that smoke adheres to cold and moisture so don’t bring your meat to room temperature. Take it straight from the refrigerator. The second thing is to keep your meat moist. You can do that with a spray bottle which you can use to spray a mist on your meat while cooking, Some say you can place a small pan of water on your grill which will add moisture but I want the smoke to adhere specifically to my meat..
Then consider this, if you are using either our Smoke Sacks or our Drop, Soak & Smokes, you want to get the smoke going before you put the meat on the plank then on the grill. That is because, you want to get the smoldering going first since, as mentioned, smoke adheres best to cold meat. In the case of the Smoke Sacks if you are cooking over coals, soak the sack for about 5 minutes, then lightly squeeze out the excess moisture then drop the sack directly on the hot coals. Once the sack begins smoldering, add your plank with your meat. With the Drop, Soak & Smokes, after soaking for 90 seconds, add a handful to a pocket formed with tinfoil with 6 to 8 small holes in the bottom and place over direct flame till beginning to smolder then move to the indirect heat side and add your plank with meat. In both cases, the colder the meat the better the smoke is absorbed.
And since you are primarily cooking over indirect heat, make sure you keep the lid closed. That will keep the smoke in and keep the temperature consistent which is very important.
Now what about the flavor of the wood. Some people say it doesn’t make a difference. I strongly disagree. The wood flavor is no different than seasoning. They don’t all go with everything. I personally would not cook fish on hickory. I don’t like it. But hickory smoked bacon or even some hickory smoked cuts of steak are delicious. I personally like mesquite with salmon and chicken but most people say it is too strong. I was introduced to a mesquite salmon in Berkeley, CA at a restaurant called Skates on the Bay which overlooks the San Francisco Bay and the San Francisco skyline which is worth the visit on its own but then their mesquite salmon was to die for. That is where I got hooked. And so now I even use our Mesquite Smoked Wraps with chicken strips and I cook frequently for guests and I have never had anyone walk away disappointed.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to taste buds so you should try different combinations to see what you and your family prefer. We at Kelly Craig have more options than anyone else when it comes to flavor combinations because we can actually blend together two or more woods in one plank. This allows us to balance out the more robust flavors like hickory, pecan, oak and even maple with a milder flavor and/or fruitier wood. This can provide a pleasant balance that can make a huge difference.
Many will say that you can accomplish the same thing with different flavors of chips and they are right. But the surface you are cooking on is going to be dominant since the food is touching the surface. So we suggest you first deal with the plank surface and then think about what might work nicely in a chip, smoke bomb, smoke sack or drop, soak & smoke. And don’t forget you also have the option of soaking your plank itself in something other than water. With that, you have literally hundreds of flavor options to choose from and there is virtually no limit to what you can try.