Hickory Wood For Smoking [BBQ Guide]


Hickory is the classic wood grill. Its strong, nutty flavor is the perfect accompaniment to smoked brisket, pork loin, or beef chuck. Find out how YOU can use hickory smoker wood for your backyard grill.

Walnut wood for grilling

Every barbecue enthusiast knows that choosing the right material for smoking meat is crucial. Certain woods burn longer than others, while others bring a delicious flavor and aroma to food when grilled.

Hickory is one of the most versatile types of wood for grilling. Pitmasters like to use it alone or in combination with other types of wood. Here’s everything you need to know about how to get hickory wood for your own fines.

What is walnut wood?

Walnut wood is a hardwood species that comes from the walnut tree. There are 18 different types of hickory trees.

The use of hickory wood for smoking is more common when grilling in the Midwest and Southeast since this tree is native to the East Coast. Some species of hickory produce nuts that resemble pecans, which explains why the wood has a slightly nutty flavor.

Properties of walnut wood

Hickory is more natural thanks to its strong flavor. It gives the grilled food a smoky, sweet and slightly nutty taste. If you’ve temporarily seen bacon smoked in hickory at the grocery store, you can see why wood is so popular with Pitmasters, and you can imagine how your food will taste after being smoked over hickory.

Hickory also has a rich color. It burns with a particularly dark smoke that adds extra depth to the smoked meat. 

In terms of burning style, walnut wood has the resistance to long burning even when heated to high temperatures. Many pitmasters use it for cuts of meat that require a long, slow smoke.

Although mesquite wood IS often used interchangeably, the difference between mesquite and hickory is that hickory is more subtle, versatile and has a deeper flavor.

How to use walnut wood

You can obtain hickory wood in a variety of forms, including planks, sticks, chunks, and chips.

Hickory boards have the mildest flavor, so they should be used for relatively mild foods like cheese. They are best suited to facilities such as an oven or grills with a lid.

Offset smokers require sticks, also called logs, that fit into the smoker box.

Then, traditional grills and electric smokers work best when using chunks or chips for fuel. 

If you want to add a hint of hickory flavor to your food but smoke a bland cut of meat that would be overpowered if smoked over pure hickory, you have a few options. You can mix some pieces of hickory with other wood to balance the flavor. You can also get liquid hickory smoke at the store and add it after eating.

The best meat for smoking hickory

Hickory wood works best with heavily flavored meats that require a low, slow smoking method.

Bacon pairs well with hickory. The heavy smoky flavor of the pecan pairs well with the natural saltiness and fatty texture of the bacon.

Hickory is also good for large cuts of meat that take a long time to cook before falling apart. For example, Texas-style brisket is often cooked over hickory.

Hickory is also used with large cuts of pork, such as Boston shoulder or rump. The smoky flavor of this wood will make your pulled pork sandwiches tastier.

But that doesn’t mean that hickory wood is only good for grilling. You can use hickory boards to smoke salmon and cheese, or toss some walnuts in the smoker for a tasty snack.

Hickory is one of the tastiest woods for grilling. If you’re making a slow, slow smoke, using this wood adds extra flavor to your dinners just by mixing it with other types of wood.

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