Kansas City’s barbecue sauce is tomato-based, thick, sweet and smoky. These Kansas City-style spareribs are a perfect example of that style of barbecue.
It’s not often that I review smoking wood. Well actually, I’ve never reviewed smoking wood. It just seems that when smoking wood is needed, I just head over to my local home improvement center and grab a few bags. I have to admit though, I am at the mercy of whomever orders the stuff. Sure, they have the traditional hickory, oftentimes mesquite and on a lucky day I may find a bag of maple. That’s about it. Mind you, this is during traditional months of the grilling season, primarily the summer.
As I pondered this wood review, what should one look for when grading a smoking wood? For starters, variety is important. Why should our creativity on the open flame be throttled because of the lack of inventory? I also want to buy my smoking wood any time I want, not when the store’s calendar says it’s grilling season. My calendar says it’s grilling season every month.
Of course, quality should come into play. When I buy smoking chips, I’m not looking to buy sawdust. Likewise, chunks doesn’t mean chips. I also believe quality means a nice chunk of wood. As a carpenter, I choose my lumber wisely, as an outdoor cook, I want the same option.
From the Peach state, hails a man who promises to satisfy the picky requirements of picky smokers. Baxter’s Original Smoker Wood out of Fitzgerald, Ga does indeed have a wide selection of wood, yet can he satisfy the rest of the criteria that I would be looking for in order to be crowned the perfect smoking wood?
First, I loved the packaging for the 2 pound bag of chips. A burlap bag with a draw string. I think it makes for a nice, yet simple presentation. The quality of the wood was also excellent. The peach chips I looked at were clean, fresh and consistent in cut. They almost looked as if they were hand picked. I compared Baxter’s smoking wood to those “other guys” and it was a difference of night and day.
The chunks were of equal quality. They were unbelievable in their size consistency and were a size that would not only work well in a smoker, but also on a grill.
The Final Verdict
I have to admit that besides the fun I had at the grill playing with my new wood chips, Baxter’s Original may very well produce the perfect smoking wood. For something we all seem to just take for granted, I learned that there is more to a smoking wood other than a bag from the local home improvement center.
Broaden your outdoor cooking experience by giving some of Baxter’s unique woods a try. You’ll fall in love with the various flavors these woods will impart on your food. In addition to the peach, Baxter’s also offers apple, almond, apricot, cherry, hickory, maple, peach, pecan, plum and walnut. All his woods are available in chips and chunks, in small quantities or bulk.
To learn more about Baxter’s Original products, check out their website…Here
Enjoy your ribs and always remember…admire the fire!
What’d Ya think?
If you’d like to learn more about cooking with wood, here’s a couple of articles that I wrote for my barbecue column at the Examiner: