Smoked chicken is the perfect bite for your backyard gatherings. You can serve them to your guests in just about any recipe out there. Since there are many wood types out there, it’s easy for you to get confused and be indecisive. But today, I’ll be discussing pecan wood and its use in smoking poultry. By the end of this article, you’ll be whipping up different smoked chicken dishes with the most decadent flavors.
What Is a Pecan Wood
A Pecan wood consists of a hickory type wood that features buttery-smooth and rich edible nuts. It’s excellent for constructing furniture, but people also chop it into chips and chunks for smoking chicken or any other meat. Pecan’s flavor is more rigid compared to other fruity woods. But its flavor is milder compared to wood types such as mesquite and hickory.
Who Should Use Pecan Wood
Pecan is suiting for a person who is interested in having a richer smoking wood. It gives off a strong flavor that stems from all the nutty aromas sitting behind its sweet-tasting profile. The wood is also powerful enough for standing up against meats like beef, game, and pork. It’s available for use in both chunks and chips, with the difference that chips tend to burn compared to pieces.
If you plan to cook smoked chicken pieces for a short period, then wood chips must. But cooking meals like chicken brisket that goes up to 1-2 hours, then wood chunks are an absolute must. Also, make sure to avoid mixing pecan with hickory because it features an increased pronounced flavor compared to other fruity wood. You’ll end up with an unpleasant taste.
What You Should Know About Smoking Chicken with Pecan Wood
Some people believe that a great use of pecan during barbecuing and smoking causes a widespread odor inside the meat, which is false. Many people stick with pecan wood because it doesn’t overpower the seasonings at all. You’ll find all the flavors perfectly intact with the cuts of meat on your plate. There is no reason for you to change out the firewood type midway inside your smoker throughout the cooking session.
But certain people do it with woods such as pecan for avoiding meat tainting with an immense pecan flavor. Pecan is undoubtedly one of the top lumber varieties in meat smoking. A meat’s pecan smoked flavor profile is stronger than the ones with oak and apple tree. Less bitter hickory is what comes closest to the description of pecan in smoked meat.
Some people refer to pecan as a cool-type of wood, but there is very little evidence supporting that argument. However, pecan is an excellent coal source, and it burns equally well as the rest of the hardwoods. Just because wood originates from a tree that bears crop and you smoke, it doesn’t mean your meat will get crop flavor elements. Using almond wood with smoked ribs isn’t going to give your meat an almond flavor.
Similarly, smoking your meat with orange wood or lemon won’t produce certain juiciness and tang of citrus fruit. Fruit trees have a subtle flavor under smoking; many people will end up detecting the orange or lemon presence only if you tell them. Plus, there is also very little chance someone with a particular crop allergy will get an allergic reaction upon consuming the meat cooked from the specific allergen’s wood.
Mesquite is the only wood type that can overpower and overwhelm other flavors present in your meat. Its potent nature deserves its classification. Do you, by chance, have any pecan lying around in your backyard? If you do, then you might want to put it in your smoker and start cooking—meat like chicken, pork, beef, and the game work excellent with pecan wood. Plus, pecan trees can easily tolerate a wide range of climates.
Pecan Wood for Smoking Chicken
When you’re smoking chicken with pecan, you must first decide on either using chunks or chips. Chips tend to smoke faster and are easier to work with. However, if you’re working with a giant chicken low and slowly, then chunks are a smarter choice. Start soaking in your wood chips underwater for a good 15 minutes to slow down the wood burn.
You can do the same for chunks with a difference of 30 minutes underwater before you proceed to place them over the hot coals. You can start smoking chicken in any one of the following ways:
- Charcoal Grill
If you’re utilizing a charcoal grill, charcoal starter, and heat coals, start pouring the coals inside your grill. Now directly place the wood over the hot coals. Try setting up a fuse burn, along with wood chips or chunks and charcoal for extended smokes.
- Electric or Gas Grill
When it comes to an electric or gas grill, proceed to place the wood chips or chunks inside a smoke box or foil pack and put it under direct heat. When the wood starts smoking, try moving them towards the grill’s cooler part and place your food.
- Smoker Grills
Here smoker grills refer to offset barrel smokers, pipe smokers, and horizontal smokers. They have control over the entire smoking procedure. These grills are best suited for gentle cooking at low temperatures that leave pork ribs or chicken falling off the bones. Start by lighting the coals inside the starter, opening the chimney baffles and intake, and inserting the hot coals inside the firebox. Now add the chunks or chips onto the coals.
Pecan wood is an excellent choice for barbecue fanatics because it complements different meats. Its rich nutty aroma helps in pulling off the best chicken recipes. Aside from smoked chicken, you can also cook a smoked turkey, smoked BBQ brisket, smoked spare ribs, smoked ham, pork loin, etc. The wood also does a great job in combating protein with a strong odor like gamey meat. You can also experiment with wood combinations for smoking. Who knows, you just might end up with the next big recipe for your family and friends.