Apple Tree Wood is becoming more popular among BBQ aficionados because of its unique flavor, so I decided I wanted to try it out for myself. Ever since I did, I have been smoking with Apple Tree Wood every now and then.
I'm here to answer all of your burning questions regarding whether apple tree wood is better smoked than other woods and give you pointers on how to go about the process correctly.
You'll also discover what to look for when choosing the finest apple wood for smoking.
Summary of the Key Findings
- Apple Tree Wood gives smoked meat a sweet flavor. This type of wood is not very strong but suitable for lighter dishes like pork and fish.
- When smoking food, keep the heat low. You'll get excellent results if you cook your meal "low and slow."
- You don't need to soak Apple Wood chunks before cooking with them. Soaking the wood does not add any flavor to the dish, and it also takes longer for the fire to start.
What Is Apple Tree Wood?
Apple wood is the wood composed of the Malus Pumila apple tree. The apple tree is believed to have originated in Central Asia but is now cultivated and produced worldwide.
In most cases, apples are grown for their fruit. China was the main producer of apples in the world in the 2020/2021 fruit year.
China's apple production reached approximately 44 million metric tons throughout that time, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) .
Apple Tree Wood-smoked food is anything that has been prepared over an apple wood fire. Apple smoked food is cooked on chunks, splits, or apple wood logs in a grill or smoker. When it burns, it produces smoke that gives the dish a semi-sweet, apple-like flavor.
Apple Wood Benefits In Smoking
Apple wood's benefits are two-fold. First, it gives your food a unique flavor. And second, it can speed up the food cooking process. Let's take a more in-depth look at each of these benefits.
- Unique Flavor: Apple wood has a sweet and fruity taste that can enhance the flavor of pork, chicken, beef, and fish. But that's not all. Apple wood also imparts a subtle smokiness that'll make your dishes taste even better.
- Speeds Up The Cooking Process: Apple wood is also known for its ability to speed up the cooking process. So, if you're smoking something like chicken or pork, apple wood can help you cook it faster.
However, it's important to note that apple wood can also make your food dry out quickly. So, if you're smoking foods like beef or lamb, you might want to use a different type of wood.
Appletree wood is best used as a secondary wood when it comes to smoking. This is because it's pretty mild and can be easily overpowered by other stronger woods like hickory or mesquite.
However, when used correctly, apple wood can enhance the savory flavor of your food without overwhelming it.
7 Things to Consider When Smoking with Apple Wood
There are things one must consider while smoking with Apple Wood - density, amount, type, dry or fresh wood, bark, quality, and the types of smokers you use. Let's talk about them in detail.
Pay attention to the wood's size and form. Wood chunks vs chips generally produce a slower and steadier stream of smoke.
I'd recommend using thin apple tree twigs or apple tree wood chips for the best results over thicker logs or medium-sized wood chunks.
Wood chips or twigs from apple trees burn faster and are more readily available, but they also produce far less smoke than other woods. Unless you're a seasoned connoisseur, we recommend you steer clear of using logs.
You must also think about the quantity of apple tree wood you'll need when selecting a smoker. Of course, the amount of wood you utilize is determined by the size of your smoker.
Avoid smoking wood from evergreen apple trees. This wood is soft, has more air and pungent sap, and burns faster.
Furthermore, this wood will impart an unpleasant funny taste to your meat as a result of its greater air content. Instead, use hardwood rather than softwood. While you're at it, avoid using wood treated with chemicals, as these can be harmful to your health.
4. Dry or Fresh Wood
It is important to consider if the apple tree wood is moist or dry. Never use fresh wood for smoking, no matter what you do. It has more sap than damp wood, so it burns unevenly and imparts a strange taste to your food. Dry timber is your greatest choice.
5. Bark or No Bark
Many smokers are torn between whether or not to remove bark from their apple tree wood. It's a question of personal choice whether you remove it or not.
Some people like removing all the bark, while others don't. I usually remove the bark, but never entirely. The bark is more combustible because it has extra air in it than the wood itself.
6. Apple Wood Cooking Characteristics
There are a few aspects of the right apple tree wood itself that must be put into consideration, such as:
- The tree's age
- The time of year it was cut down
- The part of the tree the wood came from
All of these elements influence the quality of the smoke. Young trees, for example, produce superior smoked aromas than old ones.
7. Type of Wood Smoker You Use
The type of smoker you use will also impact the quality of the smoke. If you're using a gas or electric smoker, make sure that it has a good seal to avoid too much smoke.
This is to prevent any oxygen from seeping in and spoiling the taste of your food. When using a charcoal smoker, be sure to add wood chips or chunks directly to the coals.
How to Smoke Food Using Apple Tree Wood?
You can smoke food using apple tree wood in both gas and electric smokers. If you are using a gas or electric smoker, make sure that it has a good seal. This is to prevent any oxygen from seeping in and spoiling the taste of your food.
When using a charcoal smoker, add wood chips or chunks directly to the coals. Please do not put them in a foil packet, as this will prevent the smoke from properly permeating your food.
Steps to Smoking Meat Using Apple Tree Wood
- Get your meat sliced. Keep in mind that smoke travels through colder cuts of meat more efficiently. Please do not allow your food to reach room temperature.
- Add the meat immediately after cutting. This prevents it from drying out, you can even spritz your meat with a spray bottle. Alternatively, I tried using apple juice to enhance the taste of my dish and give it the same sweet flavor that you get when you bite from an apple.
- Rub the meat with the spice rub you prefer. I preferred to keep it simple with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. The flavoring of your meat highly depends on this cooking procedure.
- Use a smoker with a water pan. Water slows down the rate of evaporation, keeping the meat juicy and tender. This will help you slow-cook your meat.
Based on my experience, it is very important that you use a slow cooking method when smoking meat with apple wood. Do not have your meat directly over high heat to avoid burning it.
If you're using a charcoal or wood smoker without a separate smoker unit, move the hot coals to one side and the meat to the other.
- Place your freshly cut wood in the smoker as early as possible, but only when the fire is hot. When it comes to smoking meat, you must know that meat absorbs more wood flavor at the beginning of cooking.
I can’t tell you how much apple wood to use in your smoking process, because it depends on the volume of your cooking chamber.
I also won’t be able to tell you the amount of time it takes to smoke meat, because it is determined by the material and cuts you're using.
For example, when I tried smoking a pound of pork, the ideal time took between 60 and 90 minutes to smoke if the temperature was kept at 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. However, with the chicken, it will need approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to cook.
Steps to Smoking Veggies Using Apple Tree Wood:
- Choose your apple tree wood. Be sure to select hardwood, such as oak or hickory, for best results. Avoid using softwoods like pine, as they will impart an unpleasant flavor to your food.
- Cut the wood into small pieces. I prefer cutting them about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. These smaller pieces will produce more smoke and flavor.
- Soak the wood in water for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours. This helped prevent the wood from igniting too quickly and producing too much heat.
- Build a small fire in your grill or smoker using charcoal or another type of fuel. When the coals are ashed over, add a few pieces of the soaked apple wood to build that fire up,
- Place your vegetables on the grill grates. Don’t forget to close the lid or cover away from direct heat to avoid it being overcooked. I smoked my veggies for 30 minutes to 1 hour, which left them tender and infused with flavor.
What Taste Does Apple Tree Wood Has?
Apple tree wood has a fruity taste. It tastes like a combination of apple flavor and smoke. The smoke flavor is not as strong as other woods, such as hickory or mesquite. The fruit flavor is subtle and adds a sweetness to the smoke.
Is Apple Tree Wood Good for Smoking, or Is It Toxic?
Apple tree wood is good for smoking and it’s not toxic. However, it is essential to use dry wood when smoking food because apple wood burns slowly.
Fresh smoking wood is full of sap and will burn unevenly, imparting strange tastes to your food. Also, if you have an allergy to wood dust, it’s best to avoid apple tree wood as it might provoke unwanted health reactions .
Can I Use Old Seasoned Wood for Smoking?
Yes, you can use old seasoned wood for smoking. Although seasoned wood is frequently suitable for smoking, it's still important to inspect any pieces you're considering using to ensure they're appropriate.
Is Apple Wood Good For Smoking?
Apple Wood is a good wood for smoking. It imparts a unique fruity flavor to your food that is both sweet and smoky. However, it is essential to use dry seasoned wood and control the temperature to ensure the best results.
If you're open to experimenting with smoking but not a big fan of the applewood smoked flavor, I recommend checking out other best woods for smoking meat.