Hazelnut wood for grilling/smoking

Discussion in 'The Connoisseur' started by dnjan, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

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    Does anyone have experience using hazelnut wood for either hot or cold smoking?
    I normally use either apple or plum, but have a bunch of hazelnut following some tree-trimming and was wondering if I could use it with similar results.

    I found some info online saying that it could be used, but no comments as to how mellow or sharp the resulting smoked flavour is.

    Thanks,
    Don
     
  2. Gregg Axley

    Gregg Axley I'll Lock Up

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    Never thought about it.
    Although I'm intrigued...
     
  3. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

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    The underwhelming response to my question suggests I will need to try it myself.
    Maybe the next time I am hot-smoking a salmon ...
     
  4. robrinay

    robrinay One Too Many

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  5. WesternHatWearer

    WesternHatWearer A-List Customer

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    I have also stumbled across a few sites stating that hazel wood is good for smoking meats as well. I have not thought to use this flavor. If you use hazel wood; may I encourage you to post what you thought of the flavors and taste, afterwards.
     
  6. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

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    I found the above link when I was looking to see if hazelnut could be used. Unfortunately, all that is said is that it is "good".
    I started out hot-smoking salmon using the traditional Northwest alder wood. More recently, due to a wind storm, I had some large-enough pieces of plum. I tried those, and think that the smoke is a bit stronger than the alder (which I like for the salmon).

    For cold-smoking, I have been using either plum or apple chips. Very happy with the results for dry-cured meats.
    However, for bacon, I think I would like something a bit stronger. So I think I will experiment with the hazelnut the next time I need to cure up a new batch of bacon and see how it turns out. I will report back, but it might be a month or so ...
     
  7. robrinay

    robrinay One Too Many

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    I look forward to hearing how it comes out. Do you buy your bacon cure or do you make your own?
    Rob
     
  8. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

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    Make my own. Salt, brown sugar, black pepper and bay leaf.

    I am starting to get motivated to try the hazelnut wood. It will give me the push I need to do some badly-needed tree trimming.
     
  9. rumblefish

    rumblefish One Too Many

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    I have, Don. I used wood from a Harry Lauders Walking Stick (contorted filbert). I used it for bluefish, which happens to be a very oily fish. It did work well, however, I liked it best when I used it with apple.
     
  10. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

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    Thanks for the advise.
    Any comments on why you added the apple? (cutting down sharpness?)
     
  11. emigran

    emigran Practically Family

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    I lived in SW Florida during the mid 90's and a buddy of mine who had Hazelnut trees on his acreage use to cut limbs to make aged medallions which he would soak overnight in "Mojo/Naranja"(the bitter orange and garlic spiced liquid) and geez loueez was it good stuff... chicken, ham, ribs, beans...all of it
     
  12. rumblefish

    rumblefish One Too Many

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    Exactly. I've found nut and stone fruit wood tend to be sharp, as you say. Pomme fruit, grape and maple I use to mellow and round out the flavor. Cherry, especially wild black cherry can be really overpowering.
     
  13. rumblefish

    rumblefish One Too Many

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    Since the topic is about cold smoking, I just want to add; I make lox, which of course starts by dry curing with salt, pepper and sugar. It's pressed and the moisture is wicked away. Before the fillets are smoked, to keep the smoke from "sticking" to the outside of the fish (that sort of over dried edge that is too bitter and a acrid), I wrap it in cheese cloth and brush it with vegetable oil. After the smoking the cloth is peeled off, leaving a nice clean fillet with plenty of smoke flavor.
     
  14. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

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    thanks for the advice!
    I haven't noticed much sharpness with plum, but I will keep that in mind if and when I get around to trimming the cherry tree in the back corner.
    I've only hot-smoked salmon (and trout), and those were whole fish so I had the skin to peel away.
    For cold-smoking it has been sausage and pork for dry-curing.

    Looks like this week I will get time to cut some hazelwood and run it through the chipper ...
     
  15. Around here, we typically use pecan with a bit of mesquite. Mequite is what gives the best flavor, but it can overpower and be bitter if you use too much, so you use pecan for the fire and throw in a few logs of mesquite for flavor.
     
  16. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

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    Initial results are promising!

    On Saturday I hot-smoked a salmon with hazelnut chunks.
    I normally use chunks of plum or alder, and I found that the hazelnut gave a "fuller and rounder" smoke flavor.
    I did not notice any harshness, and so will be cutting up more of the logs from the hazelnut pruning into chunks for hot-smoking.

    Also, on Sunday, I used hazelnut chips for cold-smoking some bacon. Won't know the results for a couple of weeks, as I still have some bacon left from the previous batch.

    Next time I dry-smoke some meat for dry-curing I will probably use hazelnut chips.
     
  17. Rodney

    Rodney Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Centralia, WA
    When I was growing up apple was always our wood of choice for smoking salmon. We would use alder to keep the fire going and apple for flavor.
    I do my barbecuing over wood these days. I like the flavor flowering plum gives. I only have a couple small sticks of hazel laying around. Probably not enough to notice any difference in flavor. I may round more up.
    Thanks for the report on how you like the hazel.
    Rodney
     

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