You are stuck at home like myself, then all you want to do is cook something delicious on the grill. Easy right? You’ve got all the gear you need: meat, Cowboy Charcoal, seasoning and grill. But your friend/wife/brother/brother-in-law/father-in-law/competing Dad from next door told you that you need to add wood chunks to your arsenal.
What are wood chunks? Why should I use them? Can someone help?
Don’t worry, I got you covered.
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What are Wood Chunks?
Simple Explanation: Wood chunks are broken down pieces of wood used for smoking and grilling.
My Explanation: Wood chunks are tiny bombs of flavor that you can add to your grill or smoker to make some insanely delicious food.
Whether you prefer Hickory, Apple or Mesquite, using wood chunks is always a great way to get some additional flavor on your food. Basically, they are broken down pieces of flavorful wood that impart their essence onto the food you are cooking. They are a great way to get a smoke for long cooks like brisket, spice up flavor to meat over open fire or substitute if you are out of charcoal.
So what type of chunks are there?
What are my Chunk Options?
Here is a quick breakdown of my favorite chunks: Cowboy Charcoals chunks:
- Hickory Wood: These are my go-to chunks. Simple, classic and really great flavor. Hickory wood is one of the staple bbq flavors with a hearty aroma and an unmistakable woodsy taste. Plus, they go really well with beef, pork and chicken!
- Apple Wood: Great choice for those that want a good balance of smoke and sweet; moreover, the crisp and rich smoke flavor given off by Apple Wood is hard to resist. These chunks go great with beef, chicken and seafood.
- Mesquite Wood: Mesquite Wood Chunks are sweet with a strong smoke flavor; moreover, they are the heartiest in flavor which makes them the preferred wood for brisket. I love using mesquite wood for smoking all kinds of beef and chicken!
How do I Use Wood Chunks?
Using wood chunks is pretty straightforward. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
- For Smoking: When starting, try adding a couple of wood chunks to the top of your coals or inside your burn box for smoking. They are great for getting quality smoke on meats like brisket, pork shoulder, chicken wings or turkey. I love using hickory, mesquite, oak or apple wood chunks for smoking.
- For Grilling: When cooking a steak or pork chops, I will add some wood chunks on top of some hot Cowboy Charcoal before I start grilling. This is a killer way to create some immediate heat off the coals, and a way to kiss the food with just a touch of added smoke flavor. It is a great option for any kind of grilling.
- For Open Fire Cooking: I love adding chunks when I cook over open fire to create heat and flavor. I will use wood chunks once my fire has settled down to create clean smoke for my food. I just add a few chunks to the coals while cooking and you have a hickory/oak/apple smoked hanging lamb leg or rotisserie chicken. Delicious!
- As Coals: One last way to use chunks is as the fuel itself. If I run out of lump charcoal or want to start a really hot fire quickly, I will pour a chimney full of wood chunks and light it. They make great coals, and really help when you want to cook something quickly with a decent amount of smoke like mussels, shrimp or reverse seared ribeyes.
What are some Recipe Ideas?
Now that you are the Wood Chunk expert, here are a few recipe ideas to get you started! Enjoy and keep that fire going!
- Mojo Chicken Drumstick Skewers
- Chipotle Adobo Skirt Steak
- Grilled Bone Marrow w/Garlic Parmesan Crust
- Honey Fire Rotisserie Turkey Legs
Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek’s fire cooking journey. He’s a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he’s cooking up, it’s guaranteed to be so freakin’ delicious!