Maple wood is a popular wood for smoking and grilling. It has a sweet aroma that combines perfectly with chicken, ribs, or ham. Maple trees produce syrup that you use on pancakes and many other things. Sugar-maple wood is an excellent maple wood for smoking turkey.
All the pitmasters like this wood because of its good-burning characteristic and slightly sweet and mild flavor. It is an ideal wood for smoking poultry and pork. In this article, you will learn how to use maple wood for smoking and all about maple leaves.All the pitmasters like this wood because of its good-burning characteristic and slightly sweet and mild flavor. It is an ideal wood for smoking poultry and pork. In this article, you will learn how to use maple wood for smoking and all about maple leaves.
What Is Maple Leave?
We get the maple wood from Acer, known as maples, a genus of deciduous trees. The magnificent leaves of the color yellow, orange, and red foliage are on these trees during fall. Maple trees are most commonly found in the northern side of Northern America, including Canada, where trees are considered a national symbol.
An essential type of maple wood in the Northern United States is sugar maple leaves. Sugar maple trees create a sweet syrup that gets changed into maple sap. It is a sweet wood, but all types of maple wood do not come from sugar maple.
Maple Wood Characteristics
Maple wood is preferred over all other smoking woods due to its flavor. It gives a sweet taste to the meat that is delicious but not overwhelming. The reason is that most of the maple wood in the stores is sugar maple wood.
The flavor of the maple wood is similar to its aroma. It creates a slightly smoky, sweet smell that gives an excellent taste to your meat and forces everyone to come and eat.
The smoke of maple is slightly more substantial than the mild flavor. When it burns, it creates a deep, robust smoke that turns the meat into a dark mahogany color. In this way, the maple wood will burn for a long time.
Types Of Maple Wood
Each type of maple wood produces a different flavor in each meat. There are two major types of maple wood, i.e.,
- Hard Maple: Hardwood is a dense wood found in the northern USA. The standard varieties of hardwood are black maple and sugar maple.
- Soft maple: Soft maple is most commonly found in Eastern North America. It is not as dense as hard maple but is durable enough for various applications. The most common examples of soft maple are boxelder, silver maple, red maple, and bigleaf maple.
Sugar maple is the most popular type of maple wood for smoking ribs. Silver maple gives a less sweet taste to the meat. The sugar maple’s bark is brown, having black streaks. Silver maple bark has a light brown color without black stripes.
How To Identify Sugar Maple?
The sugar maple trees are present in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Northern hemispheres. The barks of sugar maple trees become plate-like as the tree matures and grows upto 70 – 100 feet tall.
Dark green leaves are 3-5 inches long and have five lobes. The hairy veins might be underneath the leaves. The leaves turn yellow to green in the spring and yellow to red in the fall.
How To Use Maple Wood?
You can buy maple wood in the form of chunks, pellets, logs, and chips. The type of wood you have to use depends upon your smoker. Offset smoker works best with split logs as they have large fuel pits.
While most electric or propane smokers need small chunks or chips, pellets are given to pellet smokers. You can mix the maple with other woods. Since maple produces a mild flavor, it works well when combined with hickory.
Best Meats To Smoke Using Maple Wood
Maple wood gives a subtle taste to the meat. However, it works best with minor cuts. For example, poultry is a good choice with maple. Sometimes hickory overwhelms the fragile taste of chicken, but the chicken gets the natural flavor with maple.
Maple wood is suitable for smoking small birds such as quail without overwhelming its taste. Turkey also works well with maple wood because maple sometimes balances out the bland flavor.
For example, maple bacon and smoked country ham are delicious dishes. They are often treated with sweat to enhance the natural taste of the pork. So, the best idea is to smoke pork with maple.
Maple is also a good selection for vegetables and fish as it does not overwhelm the taste. If you want to add a smokey, sweaty flavor to your food, then try maple wood.
Maple is an excellent choice as a smoking wood and makes food taste delicious. You should ensure that you are using maple wood for smoking meat or food because not all syrups or sugared water can produce good tasting food. The color and smell make the food look better, and the taste of the food makes it worth it.