Orangewood is an underrated smoking fruitwood that will elevate your smoked chicken, turkey, or salmon to the next level. Discover how to use these beautiful citrus smoking wood chips today.
When most people think about fruit woods that you can use for smoking, they think about the most common ones such as peach, apple, and cherry. Orange wood doesn’t get mentioned as often, maybe because orange trees only grow in parts of the United States.
However, that doesn’t mean that orange wood isn’t a good choice when you fire up your smoker. Here is your guide to incorporating this delicious, if lesser-known, fuel choice into your barbecue plans.
What is Orange Wood?
Orangewood is wood that comes from the orange tree, a type of citrus tree. In the United States, orange trees grow primarily in warmer states such as California, Texas, and Florida, where it is more common to use orange wood for smoking meat.
Orange wood is very popular particularly in Florida barbecue, but pitmasters all over the southern United States like to rely on this sweet, mild hardwood.
Orange Wood Characteristics
One of the most distinctive aspects of orange wood is its flavor. Like other fruit woods, orangewood gives off a mild, slightly sweet taste when you burn it in the smoker. However, it also imparts a slightly acidic citrus flavor that you don’t get from other fruitwoods. To enhance that flavor, prepare your meat with a citrus marinade.
In addition to the citrus hint in the flavor of the meat, orangewood also gives off a slightly citrusy aroma as it burns. Your yard will smell like a citrus grove!
Another distinctive feature of orange smoking wood is the color. As it burns, orangewood will give food a golden yellow hue due to the wood’s light color.
Like most fruitwoods, orange burns steadily but it does not burn for as long as oak and other hardwoods. It’s not a great choice for cuts of meat that have to cook for a long time, such as brisket.
How To Use Orange Wood
The most common forms of orange wood are chips and chunks. These work well with electric and propane smokers. You can find orange wood pellets if you have a pellet smoker at home. Orange wood planks are another great option for the smoker because they allow you to smoke more delicate foods such as fish.
You can use orange wood on its own to smoke wood or mix it with other wood types. Its sweet flavor can help balance out more pungent types of wood, such as hickory.
If you don’t live in an area where orange trees are abundant, mixing orange with other types of wood can help you get the flavor of orange wood without spending a lot of money as sourcing it outside of the South or California is expensive.
Best Meats to Smoke Using Orange Wood
Orangewood pairs best with white meats that have a delicate flavor.
You can use orange wood to smoke poultry, whether you’re smoking a whole chicken or just a turkey breast. Use a citrus-based marinade or rub on the meat to maximize the flavor.
Orangewood also works well with milder cuts of pork, such as pork chops. Anything you would cook on the stovetop using a citrus marinade pairs well with orange wood.
You can even use orange wood for fish. Salmon steaks go very well with the subtle citrus flavor from burning orange.
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where you can easily get orange wood chunks for your smoker, using it is a great way to add some sweetness to your next meal.