Cheryl Alters Jamison & Bill Jamison
The following text and recipes are from Smoke
& Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Read Way to Barbecue, on
Your Charcoal Grill, Water Smoker, or Wood-Burning Pit
by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison, reprinted with
permission from The Harvard Common Press, 535 Albany Street,
Boston, MA 02118.
Alder: The traditional
wood for smoking salmon in the Pacific Northwest, alder also
works well with other fish. It has a light delicate flavor.
and Cherry: Both woods produce slightly sweet, fruity
smoke that's mild enough for chicken or turkey, but capable
of flavoring a ham.
Hickory is the king of the woods in the Southern barbecue
belt, as basic to the region's cooking as cornbread. The strong,
hearty taste is perfect for pork shoulder or ribs, but it
also enhances any red meat or poultry.
Mildly smoky and sweet, maple mates well with poultry, ham,
The mystique wood of the past decade, mesquite is also America's
most misunderstood wood. It's great for grilling because it
burns very hot, but below average for barbecuing for the same
reason. Also, the smoke taste turns from tangy to bitter over
an extended cooking time. Few serious pitmasters use mesquite,
despite a lot of stories about its prevalence in the Southwest.
If hickory is the king of barbecue woods, oak is the queen.
Assertive but always pleasant, it's the most versatile of
hardwoods, blending well with a wide range of flavors. What
is does to beef brisket is probably against the law in some
The choice of many professional chefs, pecan burns cool and
offers a subtle richness of character. Some people call it
a mellow version of hickory.