Barbecues are a staple in the summertime all throughout the country. There is no tastier option than a cooked steak that’s made on top of cherry wood or a salmon cooked to perfection. When it comes to cooking on cherry wood, it’s all about how and why choose this wood when compared to maple and mesquite.
Why Cherry Wood is Preferred
Cherry wood has a light, fruity flavor that will naturally infuse into your foods when you cook on it. The wood can either be purchased in large planks or smaller chips, ideal for cooking on open fireplaces and barbecues. While cherry wood chips can be more expensive and is one of the most extravagant options available to cook with, it’s also the most preferred. Many high-end restaurants throughout the country are known for their dishes solely because of the wood it’s cooked on, which is most often cherry wood.
Foods that Go Well With Cherry Woods
There is practically no food that doesn’t taste good on cherry wood. Unlike mesquite, which is meant for red meats, cherry wood is great for chicken, fish, red meats, pork and even veggies and fruits. A deliciously juicy ripe watermelon cooked on a barbecue over cherry wood is a delicacy all its own. The beauty about cherry wood compared to other options is that it gives a lighter flavor, so you’re not choking on a smokey piece of meat that tastes charred or burnt.
Purchasing Cherry Wood Chips or Planks
When looking for cherry wood chips or planks, you want only the highest quality wood. The wood should be dark in color with a rich red hue. This is what gives the wood its name, since it is the color of black cherries. The wood shouldn’t be brittle or dry-looking, since you need some moisture in the wood to let off smoke when it’s used in the barbecue. Cherry wood is also great for your smoker but adhere to all smoker guidelines to ensure that you’re adding the right type of wood into the machine. For example, many smokers need pellets rather than chips, and cherry pellets are also available.
Cooking with the Wood
Once the perfect cherry wood chips or planks are purchased, you’ll want to use them properly to achieve the best flavor possible. If you’re using a barbecue, you’ll need to add the chips to the bottom of the grate and slowly light them with no lighter fluid. Lighter fluid will take away from the natural fruity flavor of the wood and instead give a chemical taste that lingers and adheres to the food that you’re cooking. If you’re using a plank, it can be placed directly on the rack and you can cook your foods on it as you would a frying pan or skillet. Cherry wood pellets can be fed into your smoker where you would normally put the pellets, and then use the smoker according to the directions in the manual.