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When you want to cook with wood the type of wood used is all important; different woods impart different flavours, different degrees of smokiness to the foods. Here is a list of common woods and the types of cooking flavours you can expect:


The traditional wood for smoking salmon in the Pacific Northwest, alder also works well with other fish. It has a light delicate flavour.

Apple and Cherry

Both woods produce a slightly sweet, fruity smoke that's mild enough for chicken or turkey, but capable of flavouring a ham or beef steaks.


Hickory is the king of the woods in the Southern barbecue belt of the USA, as basic to the region's cooking as cornbread. The strong, hearty taste is perfect for pork shoulder and ribs, but it also enhances any red meat or poultry.


Mildly smoky and sweet, maple mates well with poultry, ham, and vegetables.


The mystique wood of the past decade, mesquite is also America's most misunderstood wood. It's great for smoking because it burns very hot, but below average for barbecuing for the same reason. Also, the smoke taste turns from tangy to bitter over an extended cooking time.


New Zealand's very own, it can part a bitter flavour if used to high a temperature


If hickory is the king of barbecue woods, oak is the queen. Assertive but always pleasant, it's the most versatile of hardwoods, blending well with a wide range of flavours. What it does to beef is probably against the law!


The choice of many professional chefs, pecan burns cool and offers a subtle richness of character. Some people call it a mellow version of hickory.

Rules (of thumb)

The number one concern above all else is ensure any wood you use is not treated or tanilised, as this will give off toxic fumes into your foods.

Allow the wood to burn down to an ember before cooking on/over it, this will allow for subtle flavours in the foods, as most woods tend to give a bitter taste if used when they are still flaming.

If using wood, keep any marinades simple and not too over powering or the delicate flavours of the wood and seasonings will be superceded.



Food and Cooking Tips
from professional
Chef Tallyrand


Born and raised in Plymouth, Tallyrand started his initial training as a chef at Plymouth College of Further Education. It was here that he was to learn his love, his passion for food and the culinary arts. From here he headed to Germany to complete his apprenticeship as Commis de Gardemanger.

Germany gave him his first taste of cooking for the rich and famous, as half way through his first year, along with the Sous Chef and a Chef de Partie, he was whisked off to Cologne to help prepare meals for a political conference, where amongst other dignitaries they cooked for Mr Brehznev, the then powerful Russian leader. This was to prove to be just one of the many celebrities he was to cook for or get to know over the years . . .

If you would like to find out more why not visit Tallyrand's own web site www.tallyrand.info (link in main menu)

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com