2017 Pick of the Pork Sauces: National Barbecue News
Celebrating their 7th year of honoring great BBQ from across the nation, National Barbecue News recognized these labels as the top 11 sauces for pork. As in every year, the competition is open to both commercial producers and enthusiastic amateurs. Check out these sauces when you’re in the neighborhood. And come back to this blog soon for the magazine’s lists of winning chicken and beef sauces, and champion BBQ rubs, too.
Our wood pellets are made of just that—wood. It’s the only ingredient. Today, we’re going to talk about maple, a great wood for BBQ pellets and more….
Sugar maple trees are neighbors to many of us
There are approximately 128 species, with the largest number native to Asia. Their habitat in North America spreads across the eastern part of Canada (starting in Manitoba) and the north-central US (from Minnesota eastward). A sugar maple typically grows to a height of 80 to 115 feet and can reach 148 feet. A healthy example might live to the age of 400 years, too.
Sugar maple wood is often known as “hard maple” and the tree’s timber has many uses.
The fine-grained wood of the maple is appreciated for the soft sheen it brings to flooring, furniture, and cabinetry. It’s the preferred wood for bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, pool cue shafts, and butcher’s blocks for kitchens.
The maple’s bright autumn foliage is so spectacular, it’s fueled tourism traditions in North America and across Asia.
Vermont is the nation’s leading producer of maple syrup. Producing nearly 2 million gallons of syrup in 2016, Vermont generates 47% of the country’s maple syrup.
And It’s not just for syrup!
Maple is a great wood for food flavor. Maple has long been popular for smoking foods. It adds its mellow sweetness and fine flavor to smoked and grilled foods. We proudly mix maple into two of our unique and delicious 100% wood blends – Competition and Fruitwood.
When you read about cooking with indirect heat on charcoal or gas grills, it’s all about moving the food around relative to the heat source—putting your big beautiful brisket in between or off to one side of the coals or burners. But let’s face it: that’s not indirect heat, it’s UNEVEN heat. And your cooking will be off-kilter as a result of the surface of the food that’s closer to the heat getting ‘hot spots,’ while the midsection is not nearly so well done.
Good news: a wood pellet grill does not use direct heat.
It’s convection cooking, the only true kind of indirect heat. Under the wood pellet fire box, there’s a fan that circulates heat throughout the cooking chamber, creating even temperatures all around. In fact, the temperature is so consistent that you don’t really have to turn your food. You only flip your food on a wood pellet grill to create nice-looking grill marks or to baste.
Wood pellet grilling is a pretty perfect solution for slow-cooking outdoors, including not just roasts and braises and briskets, but smoking and even baking.
Wood. It’s what makes wood pellet grilling different, special, and just plain better. Wood has been used for cooking for centuries. It’s a natural product. And as a cooking fuel, it imparts flavors that are natural, too.
Think about where wood comes from.
Trees! There are plenty of different kinds of trees, and the species vary according to geography. There might be cherry or hickory or maple or mesquite trees or some combination near you. That’s what’s nice about buying wood pellets instead of chopping down your own trees – you can take your pick, depending on the flavor profile you prefer. (Not to mention the fact that chopping down a tree is a pretty serious undertaking.)
A tried and true flavor enhancer.
Using wood pellets to smoke or grill with enhances the flavor of whatever meat or vegetables you are cooking. Cherry trees bear sweet fruit, and maple trees produce golden syrup, so it makes sense that their wood would deliver unique flavors as it burns in your wood pellet grill. Curious about the flavors associated which different types of wood? Find out more from the National BBQ Association here.
When you’re planning your next weeknight meal or taste-tempting, mind-blowing grilling adventure, remember to use the right ingredients. When you’re doing wood pellet grilling, the main ingredient is wood.