The smoking of certain ingredients, rather than being a step in the process of a recipe, is another essential ingredient for many dishes. A technique used for thousands of years, when man discovered fire, out of innate curiosity, and over time, people realized that smoke kept certain types of meat for longer. Nowadays, smoking ingredients gives an explosion of flavors.

In Mexico, this traditional technique has transcended for several generations among indigenous communities. In pre-Hispanic times there were even specific rituals to honor some gods through fire and smoke, little by little it evolved to add peculiar flavors and texture to food.

For example, the Mayans believed that their gods created the people so they would honor their origin through the flavors of their cuisine. For this reason, smoking various ingredients made them venerate their ancestors. Today, impregnating the dishes with the smoke of some wood is characteristic of the gastronomy of Riviera Maya.

The dxixilché, pixoi, chucum, and kadzim are native woods of the region and give the typical food its unique flavor. Thanks to the interest of smoke cooking in that area of Mexico, many restaurants provide an excellent sample of regional food, of course including smoked foods. Such is the case of Chaká at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, which highlights the Mayan cuisine with dishes such as lime soup, cottage cheese papadzul, smoked salmon wrapped in Mexican pepper leaf and more.

Contemporary gastronomy has incorporated this technique to delight even the most demanding palates, from meat and seafood to vegetables and sauces, the universe of smoke cooking opens up infinite possibilities of flavor. For this reason, today we want to delve into this art a little by sharing 5 types of wood that perfectly complement the flavor of some meats, so the next restaurant you visit in Riviera Maya will surely use one of these combinations.


This wood brings out the flavor of fatty fish such as red snapper, salmon, and trout. It is also a basic of smoke cooking since it can be mixed with some other wood to enhance its aroma.


The wood of this tree provides a sweet and light flavor of its delicious fruit, it matches perfectly with delicate meats such as chicken or fish. In general, most fruit trees have that slight aroma that will be felt in the final product.

Cherry tree

Similar to the peach tree, cherry wood is much more subtle. However, it is very popular for sausages, small poultry, and lamb.


It is most popular on the list because it has a very intense flavor and accompanies the one for beef meats, chickens, fishes, and any vegetable you like.

Walnut tree

It is the ideal companion for beef meats, chicken, and some aged cheeses since its flavor has some taste that resembles old bacon, so the result will be a little bit spicy.

Grilled Angus steak. Chaká, Grand Velas Riviera Maya.

Practically all foods and beverages can be smoked: chicken, sausages, seafood, asparagus, mayonnaise, salt, oils, wines, or cheeses; these are just a few options, but the smoked cooking has many variants. Would you like us to share some recipes?