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Thread: Wood for smoking and grilling?

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    Default Wood for smoking and grilling?

    What type of wood do Alaskans use for high heat grilling and what is best for slow smoking meat?

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Hickory or mesquite for meat, Alder for fish.
    BK

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    Birch also works for grilling, alder for slow smoking meat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    Hickory or mesquite for meat, Alder for fish.
    BK
    Y'all have mesquite up there?

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    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, the only native cooking/smoking wood we have in AK is Alder; everything else we have to import. Birch is really strong because its full of birch oil unless its seasoned for 3-4 years, and it still imparts a strong flavor unless it is used indirectly to heat a separate chamber.
    ďDon't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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    Quote Originally Posted by OKElkHunter View Post
    Unfortunately, the only native cooking/smoking wood we have in AK is Alder; everything else we have to import. Birch is really strong because its full of birch oil unless its seasoned for 3-4 years, and it still imparts a strong flavor unless it is used indirectly to heat a separate chamber.
    fortunately.... we got lots and lots of free Alder....

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    Hickory or mesquite for meat, Alder for fish.
    BK
    +1,, Hickory or mesquite for meat, Alder for fish, I find Alder too strong and bitter for meat for my taste. I also like Apple and Cherry for pork.
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    When using wood for high-heat grilling I make two fires. One to cook the food on, and another fire to provide additional coals for the first fire.
    I find that the initial burning of the bark and wood with flame is what gives off the strong flavors. The coals left after the flames are
    gone are pretty much flavorless. The coals don't last long, so that's why you need to replenish under the food.

    Build a fire in your cooking pit and let it burn down to coals, add your grill and meat, then replenish coals from the base of your other fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2minutes View Post
    Y'all have mesquite up there?
    Sure do, but you gotta know where to look. I usually find it within a few feet of the gun counter at the local box store!!

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    Alder is good for smoke, and as mentioned, quite abundant in most areas. peel the bark(lot easier when it is green and then let it age) before using it to smoke. the bark is quite bitter. it also makes good hot coals for cooking if you use good size chunks.

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    Brings back good memories....grew up in da UP, my family were commercial fishermen on Lake Superior. As kids we were the smoke pit tenders when a mess of chubs were smoked. Nothing fancy used...an old refrigerator, gutted to make a firebox and racks installed to hand the fish on nails. Best job and our reward was the tasting fish around...chubs are naturally fatty and when smoked properly (Alder is key), cannot find a better tasing fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobmikk View Post
    Brings back good memories....grew up in da UP, my family were commercial fishermen on Lake Superior. As kids we were the smoke pit tenders when a mess of chubs were smoked. Nothing fancy used...an old refrigerator, gutted to make a firebox and racks installed to hand the fish on nails. Best job and our reward was the tasting fish around...chubs are naturally fatty and when smoked properly (Alder is key), cannot find a better tasing fish.

    I've never heard of anyone ever eating a Chub. The lake I grew up on in northern Maine was full of them. We considered them trash fish and get made when we caught one. Heck, we ever tried to use them as live bait in the 3-5" range in size for Salmon or Lake Trout and even they wouldn't bit on Chub. LOL They got big too. I've caught them up to 10 pounds, but average was 6-12 inches. You are for real and not trying to pull our legs are you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chico99645 View Post
    I've never heard of anyone ever eating a Chub. The lake I grew up on in northern Maine was full of them. We considered them trash fish and get made when we caught one. Heck, we ever tried to use them as live bait in the 3-5" range in size for Salmon or Lake Trout and even they wouldn't bit on Chub. LOL They got big too. I've caught them up to 10 pounds, but average was 6-12 inches. You are for real and not trying to pull our legs are you?
    I'm thinkin' it's the Yooper term for whitefish...
    I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

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    I've done high heat grilling of steaks and chicken over birch, or a mix of birch and alders. I've also done slow cooking of soups, stews, turkey, and chicken in dutch ovens with birch and alder. All have been quite tasty. Key is to burn it down to coals before you use it for cooking.





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    Quote Originally Posted by chico99645 View Post
    I've never heard of anyone ever eating a Chub. The lake I grew up on in northern Maine was full of them. We considered them trash fish and get made when we caught one. Heck, we ever tried to use them as live bait in the 3-5" range in size for Salmon or Lake Trout and even they wouldn't bit on Chub. LOL They got big too. I've caught them up to 10 pounds, but average was 6-12 inches. You are for real and not trying to pull our legs are you?

    These Chubs in Lake Superior were caught when our herring nets were set deep, and when they came to the surface their bladders were fully expanded and we had to use a nail to deflate them in order to get them free of the net. Only one good way to eat them and that was smoked. One of the best tasting fish around...lots of oil, flavor and they would melt in your mouth. Not the same as the chubs you referenced in Maine.
    Attachment 68639
    BLOATER CHUB (Coregonus boyi)
    Historically, bloaters were disdained as the smallest and least attractive of Lake Superiorís five deepwater chubs. Asthe sea lamprey ravaged the top predators in the lake,bloaters grew in size and numbers. U.S. fishermen havenow turned to the slow-growing bloaters to bolster theircatches. Taken at 200 to 350 foot depths, these oily, softfleshed
    fish are usually marketed as a smoked product.

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    Yep, in the UP of Mich., and even in places in that dismal Lower Penninsula, smoked chub can be found at darned near any commercial fish shop that sells smoked fish.


    As for local wood for smoking and grilling fish and meats, alder, alder, and alder... Though older cottonwood will do in a pinch.. The cottonwood is what's used most often up here for the cold-smoked traditional king strips; gathered straight from the banks of the rivers, embedded silt and all...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobmikk View Post
    These Chubs in Lake Superior were caught when our herring nets were set deep, and when they came to the surface their bladders were fully expanded and we had to use a nail to deflate them in order to get them free of the net. Only one good way to eat them and that was smoked. One of the best tasting fish around...lots of oil, flavor and they would melt in your mouth. Not the same as the chubs you referenced in Maine.
    Attachment 68639
    BLOATER CHUB (Coregonus boyi)
    Historically, bloaters were disdained as the smallest and least attractive of Lake Superiorís five deepwater chubs. Asthe sea lamprey ravaged the top predators in the lake,bloaters grew in size and numbers. U.S. fishermen havenow turned to the slow-growing bloaters to bolster theircatches. Taken at 200 to 350 foot depths, these oily, softfleshed
    fish are usually marketed as a smoked product.

    Thank God its not the same chub!I was beginning to think Michigan UP Guys were a little twisted. LOL Yeah the chub in Maine have more of a rounded head and have large scales. There are two variations, the chub and then mud chub. Mud Chub are darker and some have small bumps on their head.

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