When it comes to kiwis using smoking chips on a BBQ we Kiwis usually reach for the stock standard Manuka chip. It pretty much goes with everything and it’s easy to find in New Zealand.
But, did you know there are plenty more options? Cherry, Applewood, Mesquite, Hickory, Oak, Pohutukawa just to name a few. A difference in coarseness, chips, chunks.
Your choice of wood and thickness there of, will generally be determined by your choice to meat and how long you are looking to cook it for.
For example, a sweet cheery or apple wood are great for white meats and pork, whereas the peppery and robust flavoured hickory or mesquite are more suitable for red meats and game. Whether you are using fine chip, or logs, a thin light, see through, bluey coloured smoke coming from your bbq is what you want to see.
Stay away from gummy or resinous woods, like Pine. This will not provide a good flavour.
Charcoal tends a more no fuss smoking path to go down. The charcoal provides some smokey flavour anything, you can throw the chips right on the coals, it’s fire and manly stuff and it’s fun.
But rest assured, Gas grillers and “Wife won’t let me have one of them’ers”, you can get that smokey flavour too. Just pick up stainless steel smoking tin, available from most, hardware stores and BBQ stores.
If you cannot find one, use a bit of Kiwi ingenuity and make a tin foil pouch few layers thick, poke some holes into it, sit it on top of the grill turn that burner directly under it down as low as it can go. This way, it’ll get some smoke going but hopefully wont set fire to the chips. This is where perhaps keeping a spray bottle of water handy so if anything does catch you can quickly put it out. Safety first.
The best advice I can give you though, is to buy some cheap cuts of meat and practice. I am no expert by any means, but the best way to figure out how your grill works, and how it cooks is to use it… a lot… And remember when your partner says “I don’t want BBQ again tonight”, what they really mean is “I want BBQ again tonight”.