It is a safe to state that mankind takes wood for granted. A recent study of trees found that there are at least 4 trillion trees on the planet. This 4 trillion number greatly exceeded the estimate. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we now don’t have to worry about the planet, our natural resources or taking care of trees, instead it underscores just how vital trees are to the world as a whole.
Trees benefit mankind in an almost endless number of ways. Trees provide us with everything from shelter to energy, paper and more. We can even use wood to cook just as we our ancestors have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. Let’s take a closer look at the five of the best ways to cook with wood.
Cooking with Wood Tip #1-Planks
One of the most overlooked ways to cook with wood, but a way that yields amazing taste results is the simple plank. A plank of wood placed over a grill can infuse food with an almost mysterious taste. Since most people never or rarely eat food prepared in this way, plank prepared food has a real wow factor.
Wood planks work extremely well with meat, poultry and fish. Seasonings used on a wood plank also absorb into proteins in a unique fashion helping to create that unusual taste. One good idea is to preseason your wood plank and consider adding an oil,such as avocado oil, to your plank. If you are looking for a way to liven up your next barbeque or party, then you’ll want to experiment with cooking on a wood plank. Many people love this style of cooking so much that they don’t want to go back to barbequing in the old way ever again!
Cooking with Wood Tip #2 -The Wood Fire Grill
Wood fire grills are becoming much more popular these days and for good reason. Wood fire grills help give food a distinctive flavor. Firewood smoke adds an amazing level of complexity to food and, let’s be honest, there is something very primal and satisfying about food prepared on a wood fired grill. Grilling is an activity your whole family can enjoy!
Wood fire grills, like other grills, have the benefit of being easy to maintain and being very flexible. A wood fire grill is very beautiful to look at when in action, and it is possible to prepare a truly wide array of foods.
Wood fire grills make tasty food and have a distinctive fun factor. No doubt about it our second choice, the wood fire grill, is a true winner!
Cooking with Wood Tip #3- Three-Wood Chips on a Gas or Charcoal Grill
Is it possible to use wood chips on a gas grill? Yes! If you want to get that smoky flavor but don’t want to use a smoker, then you’ll love using your gas grill with wood chips. The truth is this approach is even easier than you might believe. There are smoker box made from cast iron and stainless steel that can be placed on your gas or charcoal grill, which work great and provide much of the taste complexity one would expect to find in other options such as planks and the wood fire grill.
Cooking with Wood Tip #4-Smoking
Smoking has an ancient history. For hundreds of years smoking was used as a way to not just cook food but also flavor it and preserve it. There are two different kinds of smoking: the first being wet smoking that incorporates a pan of water into the process. Also there is dry smoking, which uses wood to cook food in a slow fashion. Both methods serve to give food a rich, smoky flavor. A wood smoker is an extremely effective way to smoke meat. Not every wood is a good fit for smoking. Many woods that are free of sap will work well for smoking, but you might want to experiment with different woods to find the one that works best for you.
Cooking with Wood Tip #5-Using Marinades and Seasonings
Any of the four ways to cook with wood outlined above can be improved by the incorporation of seasonings and marinades. Seasonings and marinades add a tremendous punch, kick and unexpected flavor to what wood already brings to the table. The end result can be a taste sensation that is dramatically different than what most people experience in their day-to-day dining experience.
Cooking with wood has a tendency to wow people, especially when done correctly; however, adding the additional taste complexity of marinades and seasonings serves to punch things up to a whole new, bold and exciting level. Marinades with wood planks works particularly well and makes for easy experimentation.
Just before you get started, one reminder that there are some concerns when cooking with wood. In addition to the obvious safety concerns revolving around the proper use of fire, there are some other issues. One easy to overlook issue would be the safety of the wood being used. You should only use untreated wood that is free of chemicals, additives, metal or anything else that could be harmful. In short, it is extremely important that you know what kind of wood you are using and understand its origin.
Cooking with wood can be fun, extremely tasty and allow you to explore your culinary creativity. There is nothing that can replicate the taste achieved by cooking with wood. As an occasional treat it is tough to top cooking with wood. Your ancestors would be proud.