We know smoking is bad--except when it comes to food.
As prime outdoor cooking season approaches, we’re looking to Sweet Smoke grilling sticks to elevate our game. Sold by CloverFields Farm & Kitchen in Hardin Springs, Kentucky, each bag contains about 20 two-by-six-inch pieces of fragrant, responsibly harvested fruitwoods and hardwoods, including persimmon, sugar maple and wild cherry ($25).
But this isn’t your basic kindling: Each piece of wood has been soaked in the farm’s sweet sorghum syrup. The complex natural sweetener, which has recently undergone a Renaissance in popularity, imbues the wood with a sweet, vegetal scent.
We used the kindling to smoke everything from butter to a rack of ribs; the former, which we cold-smoked and then whipped with chopped ramps into a compound butter, had a floral, vegetal smokiness at its core. The ribs carried a more pronounced sweetness; rubbed with coarse salt and pepper, they had a hint of the candied flavor of sauce without the mess.
We think this wood is a pretty sweet deal.