Smoking today is considered a delicacy and not only means to preserve food as it was once. With the change in the concept of food smoking, came the world of flavors that makes smoking even more delectable. Spices and condiments sometimes don’t meet the desired result which is why barbeque lovers came up with the idea of flavored smoke.
Flavored smoke is created by burning wood or wood chips that add a layer of flavor. Fruit-bearing trees are the best examples. They not only create smoke but also release essence in it to produce flavored smoke for enhanced taste and smell of the food. Pine, Fir Spruce, and Cedar contain resins that may negatively affect the taste of your food.
Cedar often makes the list of flavors for food smoking. However, what many of us don’t know is that cedar should never be used as a direct fuel for smoking. Besides, ruining the overall flavor of the food, cedar can also harm your health.
Cedar as smoking wood
Cedar is a coniferous wood and that’s the reason it is resinous. Resinous wood should never be used for food smoking. This is because it is softwood and leaves behind unburned carbon.
Check out the factors below to see why cedar wood is not suitable for food smoking.
Burns fast: As cedar is a conifer wood, it is by nature a softwood. It burns faster and also produces a low amount of heat. This is definitely not a fuel-efficient option.
Thick smoke: Cedar burns to create thick smoke that leaves behind soot in the form of unburned pitch and carbon. This soot will coat the food rendering a foul smell and a bitter taste.
Harmful to your health: The unburnt carbon and nasty residue that is left behind by the cedar wood will react with the food protein to form carcinogens. Carcinogens are extremely harmful to human health.
Damages the smoker: The thick smoke and soot will also create a stubborn layer on the inner part of the smoker. If the layer is not scrubbed off after cooking, then it will impart the same bitter taste and foul smell to the next food that is cooked too.
Ways to infuse cedar flavor in smoking
Considering the ill effects of cedar that are discussed above, it can never be considered for smoking. However, certain foods like fish and shrimps benefit from that typical cedar essence to reach perfection. This may seem a bit tricky but it is possible. Here are two ways to do it.
Instead of using cedarwood to create smoke you can simply place the food on a cedar plank and let it smoke. Be careful, not to burn the cedar plank, it will be there to release the flavor through steam. This way you can skip the negatives of burning cedarwood while getting the flavor.
Food smoking hacks
This article will not be complete without sharing some pro tips on food smoking. Now that you know how to flavor your food let’s get into the other aspects of food smoking.
Brine the meat: Brining whether wet or dry is an important factor in food smoking. Brining not only improves the flavor of the meat but also enhances its tenderness making it succulent.
Pro tip: Check out our expert articles on brining below!
Consider Steaming: This is another way to serve perfectly tender juicy steaks. Some lean meats tend to lose moisture faster. So, brining alone cannot save the game. Steaming the meat during smoking can make up for the lost moisture to keep it tender.
Maintain low heat: Smoking is a low and slow process. The secret to achieving an intense smoky flavor lies in maintaining the temperature. The slower the meat is cooked the more smoky flavor it absorbs.
Rest the meat: Let the meat rest for a while after it is smoked. This is when the meat will absorb all the juice that has been secreted by the connective tissues during the cooking process. It will make the meat more succulent and flavorful.
Use a quality smoker: This is by far one of the most crucial factors to consider. A quality smoker will work independently to give you a perfect smoking experience. The Bradley Smoker is a quality smoker with advanced features and automatic controls. It’s equipped with dual heating elements, full temperature control and automatic wood feeder for up to 9 hours.
Hope this information on cedar wood smoking has been helpful. We’re here to help simplify food smoking with some easy Bradley tips & tricks for beginners to encourage you to don your apron and enjoy some delicious smoked food.
For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.