Cherry wood chips are a popular choice for adding a delicious, smoky flavor to grilled and smoked foods. Here's the best way to use cherry wood chips for smoking or grilling:
Soak the Cherry Wood Chips:
- Start by soaking the cherry wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before using them you might like to try a presoaked chip like Bourbon Black Cherry. Soaking helps the chips smolder and produce smoke, rather than catch fire and burn quickly.
Prepare the Grill or Smoker:
- If you're using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal and let it burn until it reaches a white-ash stage. If you're using a gas grill, you can use a smoker box or a foil pouch for the wood chips. Simply wrap the soaked wood chips in aluminum foil and poke a few holes in the foil to allow smoke to escape.
Add the Cherry Wood Chips:
- For charcoal grills, spread the soaked cherry wood chips directly over the hot coals. If you're using a gas grill, place the foil pouch or smoker box with the wood chips over the burner or heat source. Make sure to place it on the hottest part of the grill.
Preheat and Adjust the Temperature:
- Allow the grill or smoker to preheat with the cherry wood chips. You want the chips to start producing smoke before placing your food on the grates. Adjust the temperature to the desired level for cooking. Cherry wood chips work well with a variety of meats, poultry, and seafood.
Place the Food on the Grates:
- Once the grill or smoker is producing a steady stream of cherry wood smoke, place your food on the grates. Close the lid to trap the smoke and maintain the desired temperature.
Monitor and Maintain Smoke:
- Keep an eye on the smoke levels throughout the cooking process. If the smoke starts to diminish, you can add more soaked cherry wood chips to the fire or smoker box as needed.
Cook to Perfection:
- Cook your food until it reaches the desired level of doneness. Cherry wood chips impart a slightly sweet and fruity flavor to the food, so the cooking time and temperature will vary depending on what you're cooking.
Remember that it's essential to achieve a balance between heat and smoke. Too much smoke can result in an overly smoky flavor, while too little can make the wood chips ineffective. Experiment with the amount of cherry wood chips and cooking time to find the perfect balance for your taste.
Cherry wood chips work well with a wide range of foods, including pork, chicken, turkey, duck, and even vegetables. The sweet and fruity flavor they impart can add a delicious twist to your grilled and smoked dishes.