Quality Wood for Your Portable Smoker

7th Apr 2015

Attention PK enthusiasts, are you looking for a way to perfect your TBS? No, not the television network with all the Family Guy reruns. Those are funny, but we digress. When charcoal grilling, TBS stands for "thin blue smoke". A perfect TBS is the secret to producing great smoked meats.

The first thing to know about achieving a perfect thin blue smoke, is the quality of wood is as important as the quality of meat you’re cooking. Here are some tips on smoker wood to help you achieve that perfect ribbon of TBS each time you use your PK Grill & Smoker.

Dry Wood vs Soaked Wood: We’re an advocate of dry wood. Used to produce smoke for flavoring the product, the type of smoke created is crucial for turning out quality barbecue. Soaked wood burns longer, but the smoke produced is less clean.

Recommended Flavors from Alder, Cherry, Hickory, and Walnut.

  • Alder Wood: Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.
  • Cherry Wood: Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef.
  • Hickory Wood: Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.
    • Hickory is what most restaurants and competition teams use, so you know it’s good.
    • Tip: Use a little hickory at the beginning of longer cooks like brisket and pork butts, and a small amount of hickory chips/chunks for short cooks. Too much hickory can bitter out your meat and add too much smoke.
  • Walnut Wood: Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.

What size to buy from You've got your three basic sizes available for purchase:

  • Smoking Chips: Good for adding a tinge of smoke and burn out quickly, maybe 10-15 minutes.
  • Smoking Chunks: Add a bit more substantial smoke flavor. These will burn longer and are good for a short indirect cook.
  • Smoking Logs: Work best for long cooks. Used most often when smoking larger items like chicken or brisket, and burn much slower and providing a good amount of smoke.

How much to add: Add just a few chunks at a time. A couple chunks yields about 45 min of good, clean TBS. Once those are burned, add a few more; thus allowing control of how much smoke you’re producing at one time.

Increase Burn Time from If you want to increase your burn time, there is a better option than soaked wood. Strategically place your wood by spreading them out so as your coals burn, the wood catches and burns naturally with a good, clean TBS smoke.

If there is a scent more sublime than crisp, spring air, it must be the smell of charcoal and wood wafting through your backyard, waterfront or patio.

Check out some great recipes for smoking on your PK this weekend:

For more great tips on smoking, check out these sites: