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Wood smoking/barbecue wood thread

Iowawoodguy

Iowawoodguy

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I couldn't find much discussion on here about smoke wood or barbecuing so I figured I'd make one. I'm curious what kinds of wood you guys use for smoking, what your favorite is, how you process it, how long you season it, what the optimal size round is for the best flavor, what you use your wood and other matters.
I'm new to smoking and grilling in general. I've recently bought a portable, Masterbuilt smoker/grill at a garage sale.
20200720_190216.jpg
The most common type of wood around here that I know of that is good for smoking is mulberry. My neighbor has a lot that is full of them and they grow like crazy in the fieldlines. I've got some ready for the next couple weeks.
20200721_111358.jpg
I have a lot silver maple CSS but I havent heard many people using it for smoking. I'm curious what you guys think of it.
I'm also curious as how or if you are supposed to season smoke wood. I've also read somewhere that the bigger the tree is that the smoke will be less flavorful from that wood.

Anyways, feel free to discuss any other facet of this topic here. Just thought I'd make a place for it, thanks.:barbecue:
 
EchoRomeoCharlie

EchoRomeoCharlie

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I've honestly never used Maple...but people have used it, seems more mellow so probably pork/chicken is a good application.

Fruit wood for pork/fish/chicken (apple, cherry, etc) I'm guessing mulberry would fall here
Nut wood for beef/pork (hickory, oak, pecan)
Strong woods (mesquite) mainly for beef.

I season my smoking wood to the 10-15% range. You don't want wet wood that puts out billowing white smoke....that's dirty smoke and is not as flavorful as a clean burning fire. Soaking the wood is absolutely pointless, don't do it.

The smoke coming out of your smoker should be from completely clear heat waves, to a thin blue smoke at most. White smoke is bad.
 
CentaurG2

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husqvarna257

husqvarna257

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I use maple for most of it but I also use scraps from the wood processing area. That could be any number of hardwoods we have around here. Might go and buy some apple wood from the local orchard soon. apple is my favorite and maple is #2.
 

svk

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Good thread

I do not smoke much but for native wood I have my choice between red maple and pin cherry. Both have a nice smoke but very very light. I wonder how birch or burr oak would work?
 
Iowawoodguy

Iowawoodguy

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Looks like I need to step up my smokewood scrounging game.
I've got a lifetime supply of maple. I like how it tastes with pork. Haven't done any beef yet, but I'll probably use some oak for that. I also have cherry, maple and hickory available. Did some ribs a couple weekends ago. View attachment 844083
What size do you process your wood into to fit the grill? My grill is pretty small so the last batch I made into 2 inch chunks. 20200722_134857.jpg
 
cuinrearview

cuinrearview

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Looks like I need to step up my smokewood scrounging game.

What size do you process your wood into to fit the grill? My grill is pretty small so the last batch I made into 2 inch chunks. View attachment 844084
Mine are smaller than that. Maybe fist size or slightly under. I only use 2-4 depending on what I'm making. You can see the three chunks in amongst the coals. 20200624_201935.jpg
 
Ryan'smilling

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Looks like I need to step up my smokewood scrounging game.

What size do you process your wood into to fit the grill? My grill is pretty small so the last batch I made into 2 inch chunks. View attachment 844084
My grill is a komado style (like big green egg). Wisdom seems to be 2"X2" or so chunks, so that's what I'm aiming for. My wood is seasoned a year or so, but not bone dry exactly. I know different types of cookers prefer different size and dryness of wood. I think the gas grill guys use chips, which you can use on a kettle, komado, or drum also for short smoke duration. Small chunks like Tim and I use are good in kettles, drums, and komados, and bigger chunks, up to full size stove splits and beyond are used in drums and offsets. If wood is the main heat source, like in an offset, dryness is much more important. With clean burning lump or briquettes, a slightly wet chunk of wood won't really hurt your flavor much, but if that's all you've got in an offset, you're gonna be rolling thick white smoke instead of the desirable thin blue smoke.
 
Ryan'smilling

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When do add wood chunks to the coals?

Right at the start. I load the fresh coals and wood chunks, then dump a hot chimney of coals on top. The minion method. That pic was just after I dumped.
I do this, or I fill the grill with charcoal and either light with a torch or with its onboard propane starter. Then when it's at temp and I'm ready to add meat, I toss in wood chunks, the deflector plate, drip pan, cooking grid, and meat.
 
cuinrearview

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I do this, or I fill the grill with charcoal and either light with a torch or with its onboard propane starter. Then when it's at temp and I'm ready to add meat, I toss in wood chunks, the deflector plate, drip pan, cooking grid, and meat.
I used to assemble and get it to a stabilized temp before adding meat, but really it's only minutes so I dump hot coals onto the fresh ones and wood, throw the assembled barrel section with water pan on, and throw the meat on. Then I stabilize temp. Potato potahto.
 
benjo75

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I've recently started really liking apple. Got burned out on hickory. Pecan can get bitter if overused. Tried mesquite for the first time a couple months ago. My wife is from texas so I thought she'd like it. Neither of us really cared for it. She doesn't like a strong smoky flavor anyway and I'll burp it up all night if I get it too strong. Cherry is abundant around here and smokes well. I've been wanting to try redoak. I have hundreds of them but never tried it. I've recently been cheating and using an electric smoker and just adding chips. Works pretty good though. Just put a roast in a couple hours ago using apple.
 
Ryan'smilling

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I used to assemble and get it to a stabilized temp before adding meat, but really it's only minutes so I dump hot coals onto the fresh ones and wood, throw the assembled barrel section with water pan on, and throw the meat on. Then I stabilize temp. Potato potahto.
Exactly. A lot of ways to skin this cat.
 
GeeVee

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I am far from being expert at it, so FWIW.

I have plenty of Pignut Hickory, White and Red Oak, Sweet Gum, and- a small supply of Cherry. I cut it to 8" long and I aim for 2x2. I dont use any charcoal at all, ever. I wind up with alot of smaller slivers and definitely make some 1x2, and work for about 20 minutes getting a good bed of that material coal-ing, before I add food product on a small vertical Char Broil with two racks. I use the water bowl as a temp gauge and drip catch really WHen the water is wanting to boil, its hot enough at my food height. I watch the temp gauge on the lid, and watch the smoke out the top regulator, and open and close the front door to keep the wood smoldering without runaway burning- delivering too much heat. I add one to three sticks every half hour to hour, to keep volume of coals/fuel. I use my log splitter, and am hand picking what I am going to set aside for the Smoker, so I can get very consistent fuel. I make enough splits to last me ten cooking sessions in just a few minutes on the splitter, and I store it in landscape pots in the shed, just tossed in. Stacking invites ants in smaller splits, like any stacking can here in Floridah.

I like to do four chickens at once, or two slabs of ribs, Or about 100 chicken wings (Which are quite fast) and when I can get the fish, Like Mullet, or King Mackerel, Pompano, some is eaten right away whole as a meal, then my wife will make smoked fish dip. For instance whole chickens, what we dont eat off the bone in a meal or for lunch the next day- she makes Chicken Salad. Obviously, Pork Shoulder, Hams and Roasts, are easy enough. though you should be using a thermometer. Many people buy a smoker, over cook the food, and sell it at a yard sale, because they are reading the thermometer on the lid. Its a benchmark, but you gotta probe the meat..... Like I said, I use the water bowl to also keep an eye on the heat.
 
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