bsolomon created part one of this information.
One of the more exciting aspects of smoking is learning how to match different “flavors” of smoke to different types of foods. While other smokers use different wood chunks and chips, Bradley uses a proprietary technology to manufacture “bisquettes.” Each bisquette advances through the Bradley Smoke Generator and burns for 20 minutes before being extinguished. This system yields a tremendous amount of flexibility and allows for both consistency and the ability to experiment.
Bradley Flavor Bisquettes are available in 9 different flavors, or types of wood. While there is no one right type of wood for any particular type of food, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Lighter, sweeter smoke flavor:The above flavors lend themselves to delicately flavored foods. They work well with fish and poultry and can also be used with wild game meat. Alder is best known for its use with smoked salmon.
Mid-range, moderate smoke flavor:
The above flavors seem to be good all-purpose flavors, working equally well for poultry, pork, and beef. Many people seem to favor maple and pecan and will use them for just about everything they smoke because of the slightly sweeter flavor than hickory. Some people are equally passionate about oak. Special blend is sometimes called “hotdog wood” in that it is made up of all of the other types of wood (except mesquite). Some people seem to like special blend for its overall neutral character that works well with everything, and other people think it is too non-descript, and therefore prefer a specific flavor for a specific food.
- Special Blend
Stronger, heavier smoke flavor: The above flavors lend themselves to more strongly flavored foods, especially pork and beef. Hickory is a favorite of many people and statistically one of the best sellers. Some people claim good results with mesquite, but use caution with this flavor – the Bradley makes a very concentrated smoke which seems to get even more pronounced when using mesquite, so apply this flavor carefully if you elect to use it. One thing to keep in mind about mesquite is that many people think it is synonymous with BBQ, but the reality is most of its popularity comes from grilling because it burns very hot. Since heat is not the main objective of a bisquette, you may find the mesquite flavor overpowering and better left for the grill.
Tips and tricks:
1) Still can’t decide what to order? Bradley produces a variety pack that contains 12 each of Alder, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, and Special Blend. Chez Bubba makes their own variety pack that contains 12 each of the remaining flavors of Apple, Mesquite, Oak, Pecan. Variety packs let you sample without having to commit to a larger order until you find your favorites. Bisquettes are available in 48-packs, which will cost you around $1.50 per hour of smoking, and they are also available in 120-packs, which bring the price closer to $1.10 per hour. So if you do find your favorites, you are definitely better off buying in bulk.
2) Still can’t quite get the flavor the way you want it? One of the best things about the use of bisquettes in the smoke generator is that you are not required to use the same flavor throughout the cooking process. Some people begin with a couple of hours of one flavor, and then finish with something different, such at 3 hours of hickory for a deeper, fuller flavor, and then 1 hour of apple, to give the surface a sweeter finish. Another idea is to alternate the bisquettes in the stack, for example one maple bisquette followed by one pecan, and so on, or two apple followed by one cherry. The possibilities here are endless.
3) What about wood flavors that Bradley doesn’t offer, such as pear or plum? Some people have inquired about making their own bisquettes. In theory, this is possible. Bisquettes are wood chips in a small amount of collagen binder, compacted under pressure, but the exact mechanisms of this process are unknown outside of Bradley. A few forum users have had some limited success making bisquettes themselves, but the consensus has been that it takes just too much time and effort to be viable
JJC Created this second part.
Wood Flavor Chart
Bradley Bisquette Flavors Are Green Highlighted
|Alder||Light, Woody, Neutral||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Apple||Light, Fruity, Sweet||X||X||X||X|
|Ash||Light, Woody, Sweet||X||X||X|
|Beech||Medium, Woody, Tart||X||X||X|
|Cherry||Medium, Fruity, Pungent||X||X||X||X|
|Chestnut||Medium, Woody, Sweet||X||X|
|Grape||Medium, Fruity, Rich||X||X||X|
|Hickory||Strong, Nutty, Bacony||X||X|
|Jim Beam||Mild, Woody, Slightly Sweet, Hint of Bourbon Essence ||X||X||X|
|Maple||Medium, Woody, Rich||X||X||X||X|
|Mesquite||Strong, Earthy, Pungent||X||X||X|
|Oak||Mild, Woody, Slightly Sweet||X||X||X||X||X||X|
| Pacific Blend || Light, Neutral, Sweet ||X1||X||X|
|Peach||Mild, Fruity, Sweet||X||X||X||X||X|
|Pear||Light, Fruity, Sweet||X||X||X||X||X|
|Pecan||Medium, Woody, Rich||X||X||X||X|
|Plum||Medium, Fruity, Rich||X||X||X||X|
|Special Blend||Medium, Woody, Neutral||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Walnut||Medium, Nutty, Pungent||X||X||X|
| Whiskey Oak||Mild, Woody, Slightly, Sweet, Hint of Whiskey Essence ||X2||X||X||X3|
|1Also Wild Turkey and other wild fowl.|
2Also all wild game.
3Best for wild fowl, than domestic fowl.
This table reflects the general use of the woods shown above. Don't be afraid to experiment!
Wood types not available for the Bradley are listed for reference purposes and for those who have other smokers or grills.