How to Smoke Meat

Hard-core barbecue connoisseurs know that smoking meat is the best way to get serious flavor and tenderness. Stoke your fire with these regional ingredients.
1. HICKORY CHUNKS
how to smoke meat

(West Virginia)
A Southern barbecue staple (the trees grow throughout the Southeast), hickory releases a robust, woodsy flavor best suited to pork shoulder or red meat like beef brisket.
Before Using Soak for 2 hours or overnight.
To Use On a charcoal grill, start your fire with hickory logs, or place hickory chunks over the coals just before cooking. For gas grills, smaller chips might work better: Place them in a smoker box or perforated tinfoil pouch and set on the grate.

2. CORNCOBS

(Iowa)
The state is known for its sweet niblets, but cobs impart their own flavor, says Kurt Michael Friese, chef-owner of Devotay restaurant in Iowa City. Using them for smoking lends a subtle sweetness to pork and chicken.
Before Using Soak for 1 hour or overnight.
To Use For a charcoal grill, place the cobs on the coals. If you're working with gas, wrap the cobs in perforated tinfoil and set them on the grate. Keep the lid closed.
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3. MAPLE PLANKS

(Vermont)
Like the sap that it exudes, maple wood gives a sweet and earthy flavor to foods. Use it to smoke ingredients that might pair well with the syrup, like pork, turkey and carrots.
Before Using Soak for at least 1 hour.
To Use Place the presoaked plank on your cooking surface and lay the ingredients right on top (do any desired searing or grill marks first). Close the grill to let the aromas concentrate.
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4. CHERRY CHIPS

(Utah)
This state is one of the country's top cherry producers, and the smoke lends a woodsy, sweet scent that's good with duck, beef and salmon. (It may tinge foods slightly pink.)
Before Using Soak for 15 minutes.
To Use About 10 minutes before cooking, sprinkle cherry chips over the coals. On a gas grill, place cherry chips in a smoker box or perforated tinfoil pouch and set on the grate.
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5. GRAPEVINES

(California)
Ninety percent of American wines are made in Cali -- so there are plenty of trimmings to use for the grill, says Christine Hanna, president of Hanna Winery and author of the upcoming book The Winemaker Cooks. Heating the vines creates a nutty smoke that complements lamb.
Before Using Lay vines on newspaper for a month to dry, or buy them predried to reduce bitterness. Soak overnight prior to smoking.
To Use Bundle 20 or so pieces together with twine and place the bundle on the coals, grate or grill shelf; close the lid.
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6. PEACH WOOD

"We Georgians are proud of our peaches," says Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie, chef and co-owner of Woodfire Grill in Atlanta. Wood from the tree produces a tart-sweet smoke that's a good fit for pork, apples and onions.
Before Using Soak branches or chips for 2 hours.
To Use Add the wood to hot coals or, for gas grills, place the chips in a perforated tinfoil pouch on the grate. "It will smoke for about 15 minutes, so consider throwing in a second type of wood that will last, like hickory," Gillespie says. Use low heat and keep a spray bottle of water on hand.
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