Can you tell a difference in wood smoke?
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Can you tell a difference in wood smoke?
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Thread: Can you tell a difference in wood smoke?

  1. #1

    Can you tell a difference in wood smoke?

    Scooter posted this in another thread, and I thought it might make a good topic:

    Quote Originally Posted by scooter View Post
    Some people are more sensitive to smoke flavor, can pick up on it where others can't.
    OK, I have a theory that it's all in how well you smell. I think people with a sensitive sense of smell are able to detect the differences better, because a lot of what we taste actually comes from smell (this is accepted scientific fact).


    I have a very sensitive sense of smell and can tell a difference in woods, especially when cooked low & slow. At higher temps I have a harder time telling.


    What do you guys think?

    Cliff
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Chili Head's Avatar
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    Can you tell a difference in wood smoke?

    I can tell the difference between oak and say hickory. There's a brand that has a mix of oak hickory and cherry and I can pick that out immediately. Didnt much care for
    It and quit using it. Definitely wine soaked oak I can tell a difference. Still hoarding 80 pounds of it! High heat as you said it gets tougher for me. The wife on the other hand is a super taster and she can pick up on the slightest smoke flavor but not individual types. I know what she likes from trial and error but she can't tell you in a taste test what something was smoked with.
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  3. #3
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    I cant tell with pellets except for Mesquite on the stick burner yes.

  4. #4
    Moderator scooter's Avatar
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    Agree with BP, can't tell with pellets except for mesquite. probably because of the blending that goes on.

    Now check this out Tent, you mentioned taste coupled with smell. You can't taste and smell at the same time. You can only taste when you exhale and you can only smell when you inhale.
    Last edited by scooter; 08-31-2013 at 11:55 AM.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by scooter
    ...can't tell with pellets except for mesquite. probably because of the blending that goes on.
    Yep, makes perfect sense that blended pellets would make it harder to discern a difference.



    Scooter, I've heard that about the taste/smell thing. I am pretty sure the smelling while inhaling is basically true, but don't think rest is proven to be true.
    Last edited by TentHunter; 09-01-2013 at 07:42 AM.
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  6. #6
    I can tell very little between them to be honest, but still continue to buy different flavors. I can tell hickory or mesquite normally on long cooks. But that also depends on how much the cook i am cooking is seasoned. Lot of bold flavors masks the specific wood flavor.
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  7. #7
    I think it's more obvious on a stick burner as well.If someone is using 100% mesquite vs. 100% say apple (or other light fruit wood) there is a difference.
    Low and slow is the way to go!

  8. #8
    Junior Member smokenovice's Avatar
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    You are all correct and it will vary with each and every person.

    When a specific smoke flavor is imparted into the BBQ, it will just taste like smoke to the general population; a small percentage may distinguish between the stronger Hickory and Mesquite; and yet, an even smaller percentage may distinguish even more specific ones such as Apple, Cherry, Peach........

    Cooking the BBQ on pellet grills, traditional stick burners, offset stick burners, and so on will vary everything. As well as the amount, duration, and exposure of smoke applied. Let's not forget about the type and grade of meats absorbing the smoke too....................We can go on and on with so many varibles affecting the smoke flavor in BBQn in order to taste it and wonder who can taste the difference.

    The bottom line wil be if everone is happy with the final BBQ taste is what going to count at the end............my 2 cents.
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