Updated On 21st April 2023
For a long time, I’ve been on a quest to find a tree wood that is great for grilling and smoking.
Since long ago, I have been curious about discovering new flavors that can take my grilling experience to a whole other level.
With that in mind, I have experimented with various trees including apple, mesquite. hickory, cherry, you name it but I’ve yet to find something that comes even close to the fig tree.
However, not many people know that the fig tree can be used for cooking because it’s not mentioned nearly as much as other smoking woods.
So, is fig wood really good for smoking meat?
Yes, fig wood is an excellent choice for smoking meat. It produces a mild and fruity smoke that adds a unique flavor to your food without overpowering it. Fig wood also burns cleanly and evenly, making it easy to control the smoke and temperature while grilling.
In this article, we’ll explore the unique characteristics of fig wood, discuss its safety and suitability for smoking, and give you tips for using it to enhance the flavor of your favorite meats.
So let’s get started!
What is The Fig Tree?
Fig wood is a type of hardwood that comes from the fig tree, a deciduous tree that grows throughout the Mediterranean region.
The wood is harvested from mature fig trees that have reached the end of their fruit-bearing life cycle.
It is then cut, seasoned, and used for smoking meat.
But what makes fig wood so special?
For one, it has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other smoking woods.
When burned, fig wood produces a mild and fruity smoke that adds a subtle sweetness to your meat.
This makes it a great choice for meats that have a delicate flavor, such as fish, chicken, or pork.
Another advantage of fig wood is its availability.
Because fig trees are grown in many parts of the world, fig wood is widely available and relatively inexpensive.
This makes it a great option for beginner grillers who want to experiment with smoking without breaking the bank.
Before I knew about using fig wood to smoke meat, I used to use it as firewood and it burned so well that I considered using it for cooking.
Other than bbq, fig trees can be used to make furniture and other woodworking projects.
Can You Smoke BBQ with Fig Wood?
Absolutely! Fig wood is a fantastic choice for smoking BBQ. It’s mild and fruity smoke profile pairs perfectly with a variety of meats, from chicken and pork to beef and fish.
As I was doing research on this article, I contacted a few of my friends who are pit masters, and the general consensus was that the fig tree is a great smoking wood.
In fact, even experienced chefs swear by it!
Honestly speaking, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a smoking wood and my family agrees.
In fact, they would pick fig over apple or mesquite any day!
Picture this: you’re preparing a rack of baby back ribs for a family gathering.
You’ve marinated the ribs overnight and now it’s time to smoke them to perfection. You’ve heard about the benefits of using fig wood, so you decide to give it a try.
As you start the fire, the sweet and fruity aroma of the fig wood smoke fills the air.
You place the ribs on the smoker and let them cook low and slow, allowing the fig wood smoke to infuse them with flavor.
After a few hours, the ribs are ready.
You take a bite and are blown away by the complex and delicious flavors.
Your family can’t stop raving about the ribs, and you know that you’ve made the right choice by using fig wood.
In short, smoking BBQ with fig wood is not only possible, but it’s also a fantastic way to add a unique and delicious flavor to your meat.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced griller, you can’t go wrong with using fig wood for your next smoking session.
Is Fig Wood Toxic?
When it comes to using any type of wood for smoking, the issue of toxicity can be a concern for many people.
The good news is that fig wood is generally considered safe to use for smoking meat.
However, it’s important to note that all wood can produce smoke that contains potentially harmful compounds, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
PAHs are created when organic matter, like wood, is burned. They can be harmful to human health when ingested in large quantities.
However, the amount of PAHs produced by fig wood is relatively low compared to other types of wood, such as mesquite or hickory.
To minimize any potential health risks, it’s recommended to avoid burning green or unseasoned fig wood, as this can release more harmful chemicals into the smoke.
It’s also a good idea to limit exposure to the smoke by grilling or smoking in a well-ventilated area, and not directly inhaling the smoke.
It’s important to remember that while fig wood may not be toxic when used for smoking, it’s still important to handle it with care and take proper precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.
What Does Fig Wood Smell Like?
The smell of fig wood is another essential factor to consider when smoking meat.
The aroma that fig wood produces is sweet and fruity, similar to the smell of figs themselves.
This sweet scent is one of the reasons why fig wood is so popular for smoking meats and it’s also the reason why I love using it so much.
The sweet aroma adds a unique and delicious flavor to the meat, which enhances its taste and creates a mouthwatering experience.
Fig Wood Vs Other Smoking Woods
When it comes to smoking meat, the strength of the wood used is a crucial factor to consider.
I’ve found that fig wood has a medium strength that provides a great balance between the smoke flavor and the intensity of the heat.
Yes, you’ll get a smoky flavor but it won’t overpower your food.
Fig is not as strong as hickory or mesquite, but it is definitely stronger than fruitwoods such as apple or cherry.
Because of this, I use fig wood on beef, pork, poultry, and even fish.
When using fig wood for smoking, it is important to consider the type of meat and the desired flavor profile.
For example, if you are smoking a delicate piece of fish, stronger woods like hickory or oak may overpower the flavor of the fish, while fruitwood may not provide enough smokiness.
In this case, fig wood would be a great option because of its medium strength, which provides a subtle smoke flavor without overwhelming the delicate flavor of the fish.
On the other hand, if you are smoking a stronger meat like beef brisket, you may want a stronger wood like hickory or oak to complement the bold flavors of the meat.
If you prefer a more subtle smoke flavor, fig wood could still be a great choice.
The important thing is to experiment with different wood types and find the one that best suits your taste preferences.
You can search online and on forums for woods that pair well with each other and try them out in your smokers.
The Best Foods For Cooking With Fig Wood
When it comes to smoking meat with fig wood, there are a variety of foods that pair well with its unique flavor profile.
One of the best foods to smoke with fig wood is pork.
Whether it’s pork ribs, pork shoulder, or pork chops, fig wood can enhance the flavor of the meat and add a subtle sweetness that pairs perfectly with the savory taste of pork.
Another great food to smoke with fig wood is chicken. The mild flavor of chicken allows the unique taste of fig wood to shine through, creating a delicious combination that is sure to please any palate.
Whether you are smoking a whole chicken, chicken breasts, or chicken thighs, fig wood is a great choice for adding a subtle sweetness to your dish.
For those who enjoy smoking fish, fig wood can be an excellent choice.
Its mild flavor won’t overpower the delicate taste of fish, making it a great option for smoking salmon, trout, or any other type of fish.
If you’re looking for something a little different, consider smoking vegetables with fig wood.
Eggplant, zucchini, and peppers all pair well with fig wood and can be a great addition to any vegetarian or vegan meal.
When it comes to smoking meat with fig wood, the possibilities are endless.
Therefore, you need to experiment with different types of meat and vegetables to make the perfect combination that suits your taste.
Benefits of Smoking With Fig Wood
Grilling and smoking meat with fig wood has its pros and cons, and it’s important to consider them before deciding whether to use this wood for your next BBQ session.
Here’s a simple table outlining some of the key advantages and disadvantages:
- Unique flavor: Fig wood imparts a sweet, fruity flavor to meat that is difficult to replicate with other woods.
- Good for long cooks: Fig wood burns slowly and steadily, making it ideal for long smoking sessions that require a consistent source of heat.
- Versatile: Fig wood can be used to smoke a wide variety of meats, including pork, chicken, beef, and fish.
- Expensive: Fig wood is not as widely available as other smoking woods, and it can be quite expensive when compared to other options.
- Potentially toxic: While fig wood is generally considered safe for smoking, it is important to ensure that the wood has not been treated with any harmful chemicals that could pose a health risk when burned.
- May not be suitable for all meats: While fig wood is versatile, it may not be the best choice for all meats. For example, some people find that the sweet flavor of fig wood overwhelms the delicate flavor of seafood.
As with any grilling or smoking technique, it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences before deciding whether to use fig wood.
While it has some unique benefits, it may not be the best choice for everyone.
Is Fig Wood Good? Final Thoughts
Overall, fig wood is an excellent option for smoking meat, providing a unique and delicious flavor that cannot be replicated with other types of wood.
While there are some concerns about toxicity, when used properly and in moderation, fig wood is a safe and flavorful choice for smoking meat.
So go ahead, try smoking your favorite meats with fig wood, and see the difference for yourself.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the world of smoking, experimenting with different types of wood is always a fun and exciting experience.
And with fig wood, you can rest assured that you’re using a high-quality, flavorful wood that will take your BBQ to the next level.
- Husbands, A. and Cranford, S., 2019. A material perspective of wood, smoke, and BBQ. Matter, 1(5), pp.1092-1095.