Maine Grilling Woods

Fuel is a key element of the BBQ process that is often taken for granted. Creating authentic, slow smoked BBQ requires a quality hard wood fuel source. The folks at Maine Grilling Woods understand this better than most. Maine Grilling Woods is a family owned and operated company that provides high quality grilling and smoking woods to the public.

Of all the products that I have been fortunate enough to sample this summer, none of them had me as excited as the Maine Grilling Woods sampler boxes. Maine Grilling Woods sent sample packs of their wood chunks, chips, round planks (with bark) and traditional rectangular grilling planks. Though I'm fairly experienced using chips and chunks in conjunction with charcoal for slow smoking, I had never used grilling planks prior to receiving the Maine Grilling Woods' products.

I was impressed the moment I opened the package. Each sampler contained a variety of hardwoods:  Sugar Maple, Olive, Oak, Hickory, Mesquite, Alder, Apple, Black Cherry, Cedar and Beechnut. The various woods were individually packaged and convienently labeled. The wood was also the cleanest product I had ever encountered. I normally purchase wood chunks / chips from the big box stores. There is no comparison between what they offer and the product Maine Grilling Woods sells. I was really blown away by the quality and appearance of the wood.

I didn't waste any time putting the wood to the test. Shortly after the samples arrived, I used mesquite chunks to hot smoke chicken thighs. I then used hickory and oak chips in a vertical chamber smoker for spare ribs. The wood burned clean and produced a fantastic smoke ring. I've since used the apple and black cherry chips and chunks (mixed with charcoal) for ribs and pork shoulders.

Ribs, pork and chicken smoked with Maine GrillingWoods

As I mentioned before, the grilling planks were somewhat foreign to me. I'd seen chefs grill salmon using cedar planks on television, but I had never actually used them. The first time I used the round / oval planks, I soaked oak and alder overnight. I then placed a chicken thigh on each plank and grilled them over hot coals. The wood absolutely provided an additional smokey flavor. I was also pleased to see that it didn't slow the cooking process much or prevent the skin from crisping on the chicken.

I've since found other uses for the planks. I grilled filet mignon on a round sugar maple plank. I also used two hickory planks to add smoke to a grilled whole chicken on the gas grill. I turned the outside burners on med/high and placed a wet plank over each one. I then stuck the bird on the center of the grill with no heat directly below it. The smoldering planks provided just the smoke flavor I was looking for.

One great thing about the planks is the presentation factor. The round planks are just the right size for single servings of steak, chicken or fish. The rectangular planks are large enough for couples. Serving the protein still on the plank adds flair in addition to flavor.

I still have several varities of wood to test out, but I've used enough of the samples to form a pretty solid opinion of Maine Grilling Woods' product. I have a hard time believing there is a better BBQ wood product anywhere. I look forward experimenting further with plank grilling. I highly recommend Maine Grilling Woods samplers as gifts for the BBQ enthusiast in your life.

Learn more about Maine Grilling Woods by clicking the title of this review. See how I rate their chunks, chips, and planks on the "Product Reviews" page.

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