Firewood is most often associated with use in our fireplaces, firepits, or chimineas to create warmth and a cozy ambiance in our homes and outdoor spaces. But firewood also serves another function as many people use it for cooking.
In a previous article we discussed the types of firewood that are best for providing warmth in fireplaces; here we’ll focus on some tips for picking the types of firewood you should get if you want to use it for cooking.
Pick hardwood over softwood
Hardwood like oak is very dense. While it takes more effort to light hardwood, once you have it going it burns longer, hotter, and more consistently, which is what you want for cooking. It may be tempting to use softwood like spruce or pine because it is so much easier to light, but it will burn out more quickly, and never achieve the heating potential of hardwood.
Avoid resinous woods
Another reason to go with hardwood over softwood is that softwood tends to have a higher resin content. Resin is not good in firewood used for cooking for several reasons. First, wood with a lot of resin has a greater potential to spark or pop, shooting out stray embers that can be a fire hazard or potentially cause injury. Beyond that, resinous wood also produces smoke and fumes that are not good for cooking. In some cases, they can even release chemicals that are toxic to ingest, so it is important to steer clear of resinous woods when you are cooking over a fire.
Go for a complementary aroma
When it comes to hardwoods, there are many that can be used for cooking or even smoking your food. Which one is best depends on what you are cooking and what flavors you prefer. Here are a few of the more popular options for hardwoods used in cooking:
Hickory: Hickory is perhaps the most commonly used firewood for barbecuing, enjoyed for its hearty flavor and long, steady burn.
Alder: Alder is not as common, but it gives off a sweet aroma and is considered a good choice for cooking and smoking fish like salmon.
Oak: Oak is very common and, while it has a more mild aroma, it is prized for its versatility in matching well with most foods.
Mesquite: Mesquite has a strong, smoky aroma that some people might find overpowering. If you do like the scent, however, it can be a good firewood for grilling and barbecuing.
Fruitwoods: Fruitwoods like apple and cherry can lend a very distinct, sweet flavor to the foods they are used to cook.
Wondering what type of wood is best for you to use when cooking over a fire? Give the firewood experts at JerseyFirewood™ a call today.