What separates a smoker from a grill? Generally speaking, grills are used for cooking over higher-heat while smokers are used for offset style cooking at lower temps for longer periods.
Wood chips provide smoke when oxygen is reduced. What you are looking for is a slow-burning process that produces lots of smoke, lower heat temperatures, and flavor! Chip holders help make that possible – and easier.
Reducing oxygen is simple. Use a chip holder instead of tossing a bunch of wood chips into a fire. If you toss the chips onto hot charcoal or open flames then they will just burn up. There will be some flavor added but not much.
A chip holder reduces oxygen, slows the burning process, which produces smoke over a longer period. It can be as simple as wood chips wrapped in foil with a few smalls holes poked in the foil. Or, you can buy a chip holder made of cast iron or other metals. Some people like to soak chips to slow the process and some don’t. That’s something you can play with.
The great thing about wood chips is that types of wood are not the same. Traditional types such as hickory and mesquite are known for stronger flavors. Apple, Cherry, and Pecan wood chips are considered milder while peach wood chips are considered medium in comparison. Why is this important?
The variety of wood chips allow you to pair the chip to the food you are smoking! Stronger flavors match up with pork and beef while milder flavors are perfect for chicken and seafood. Plus, you can combine different chips for a personal blend!
Hopefully, this article provides some basic insight on using wood chips to add flavor to your smoked foods. But this is just a jumping-off point. Flavor combinations when mixing types of wood chips are seemingly endless.
Kent’s Wood Citrus Kissed PorkTenderloin. By
This recipe is a version of one in my cookbook titled Great American Grilling.
Use a fruit-flavored wine, or even a wine cooler, as a marinade for your next pork tenderloin. Add in some pineapple chunks and a few spices and you’re good to go for a tasty twist on your next grilled tenderloin.
Here’s all you need
1 pork tenderloin
Dashes of salt, pepper, minced garlic
1/2 to 1 cup Citrus fruit-flavored wine, or wine cooler
1 can of chopped pineapple, reserve juice (not the big chunks)
Additional ingredients are shown below.
Here’s what you do
Place the tenderloin in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and minced garlic or garlic powder. Next, add the wine and pineapples -reserve pineapple juice. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.
Preheat your smoker, or covered grill, for medium-high heat – around 300 degrees. Brush the grates with vegetable oil. Place the hickory wood pellets in your chip holder and allow it to warm over the heating charcoal or heat source.
Remove the tenderloin from the marinade and place it in the smoke/cooking chamber and close the lid!
For the Sauce
Reserved juice from pineapples
1 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
1 4 cup wine you used
1/3 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons mustard
Spoon some of the pineapple pieces from the pork.
While the tenderloin is smoking. Combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan with the pineapples from the marinade. Cover and simmer on medium-low while the tenderloin is grilling.
Reduce sauce heat to low and cool slightly before serving.
Cooking time will vary depending on temperatures, wind, and more. Your tenderloin is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Allow the tenderloin to rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Serve sliced tenderloin with the sauce drizzled on top!
AuthorBio: KentWhitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author with seventeen published titles. He is the former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network BarbecueContest. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @thekentwhitaker.