Choosing the Perfect Wood for Pork
QUESTION: Which is the Best Wood to use when Smoking Pork?
OK, just kidding… (mostly). I realize asking “what is the perfect wood for smoking pork?” is a lot like asking the question “what is the absolute best color in the world?”*
Most expert pit-masters and grill-masters that have smoked cuts of pork for any length of time have a favorite wood, and if pressed they will tell you to “try it yourself” and “just pick your favorite”… but they won’t always tell you their “magic pit master smoker secrets” to making the best pork ribs that they, themselves have ever made.
Yeah, that’s not a real helpful answer.
So instead of just repeating “just try it yourself”, I will (humbly) give you my opinion on the subject.
Full Disclosure: I have smoked A LOT of dead pigs and I have a little bit of bias when it comes to pork…I have to admit… I REALLY LOVE PORK (probably more than Opera loves bread)!!!
In fact, one of the quotes that is most attributed to me is:
“I’ve never met a dead pig i didn’t like.” – Admiral BigGun
So now that you know a little bit more about me, let’s get to it… these are my favorite
Top Five (5) Woods to use when Smoking Pork:
Apple wood is very mild with a subtle fruity flavor and slightly sweet. Actually you can’t really go wrong with apple no matter what cut of pork you are using. Apple is delicious with pork loin and I absolutely love it with pork ribs!
Pecan wood is a great with most types of dead piggy. I love the mild, subtle flavor and often pair it with a citrus wood (like orange or cherry) to enhance a ham or pork ribs…. and don’t even get me started on pork chops. YUM! It is also fantastic way to add a hint of smoke to bacon (or anything wrapped with bacon). Pecan is the perfect response when preparing for someone who doesn’t like strong woods like Hickory or Oak.
3) SUGAR MAPLE
Sugar Maple is one great wood to use for pork. A little bit harder to find but it has a great sweet subtle flavor that compliments pork like no other wood does. Way more mild than most woods… I find it great for baby back ribs or pork butt!
I’ve never met a dead pig that didn’t love being paired with orange wood. It has a great and mild smoky flavor with just the right amount of citrus. Great with ham, loin or roast. Orange wood is fantastic when paired with hickory.
Peach wood has different citrus hint to it. A little more floral and less acidic than other fruity woods like apple, cherry or orange. It is light and very enjoyable on most port. My favorite cut of pig to mix with peach would have to be ham.
Honorable mention: PEAR
Nice and subtle flavor of smoke very similar to apple. Woodsy and slightly sweet. Next time you do pork chops on the grill… add in some pear wood… trust me.
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