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Smoking in a meat smoker has always been a popular way to produce delicious foods in the USA, however, it's only really been in the last couple of years where we've seen it take off in Australia. Smokers are operated by either gas, electricity or wood/charcoal.

Then there are hot smokers and there are cold smokers. As the name suggests, hot smokers require a heat source in order to cook i.e. gas, electricity or wood. Cold smokers do not require a heat source, rather it is just the smoke that cooks the food. Some examples of foods that are cold smoked include yoghurt, cheese, maple syrup and fish.

While wood smokers automatically add their own smoky flavour as the wood burns, gas and electric smokers require wood chips or pellets to be added to give the smoky flavour, otherwise, it would be no different to cooking in a household oven at a low temperature. Hot smokers typically have a gas burner or electric element sitting under a metal bowl containing wood chips or pellets. The heat from the gas or electricity heats up the wood chips or wood pellets which in turn smoulder.

There is a wide range of different flavoured wood chips or wood pellets available to purchase depending on the desired flavour you want to achieve. Wood chips are small pieces of wood taken from trees such as apple or cherry trees and are generally required to be soaked prior to use.

There is an even more huge range of wood smoking pellets as other flavours can be added during the manufacturing process. For example, as well as all the traditional types of pellets such as alder, mesquite, hickory, apply etc. you can buy speciality flavours such as bourbon, beer.

Alder, cherry and apple pellets are all similar and have a sweet, delicate, fruity flavour.

Hickory has a strong, hearty smoky flavour.

Mesquite and pecan are very similar to hickory except slightly sweeter and lighter.


To get the best flavour out of your meat smoker, the following meat/pellets go well together


Poultry - alder, cherry, hickory, pecan, oak and maple Seafood/fish - Alder, cherry, maple and Mesquite

Beef - Apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, oak and pecan.

Pork - Alder, apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, oak and pecan.

Lamb - Apple, cherry, oak and pecan


Click here for our comprehensive guide on which flavoured pellets suit different types of meat. 


  Rhiannon Peterson   By: Rhiannon Peterson


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