The juicy, fuzzy, delectable peach is a well-deservedly popular fruit. Beyond the simple whole fruit, its jams and spreads are welcome in sweet desserts and savoury main dishes alike. However, in the world of smoking, the wood of this soft and supple fruit is often overlooked.
Apple and cherry are common and reliable fruitwoods, chosen because of their mildly sweet aromas. While hardwoods are tough and dense with a smoke that matches, fruitwoods are sought after for their mellow flavours, usually smoked with pig and poultry. The wood of the rose-colored fruit is just as delicate but imparts a sweeter taste on meats.
The wood is well regarded in the American state of Georgia. Also known as The Peach State, the region is packed with peach orchards. The fruit is an integral part of the southern state’s history and its harvest is a proud cultural icon. While Georgia does not have a distinct style of barbecue like it’s smokey neighbours South Carolina and Texas, it’s pitmasters and chefs alike are known to use peaches in their dishes.
Celebrity smoker Myron Mixon is an advocate for peachwood. The head of Jack’s Old South Competition Bar-B-Que Team is based in Georgia and relies on the abundant wood for his award-winning smoking. With more awards than any other barbecue competitor in the world, the pitmaster says peachwood allows the flavour of meat to be better presented. Its smoke is known to be quite pungent while cooking, but the taste is light and doesn’t overpower.
So add another fruitwood to your smoking repertoire. Apple, cherry, and pear are brilliant, but slow-cooked pork shoulder smoked with peachwood is decadent enough to make anyone blush peach red.