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Smoke Wood List
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Jeff T
BBQ Super Pro


Joined: 08 Mar 2005
Posts: 4207
Location: Norfolk, Nebraska

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23 08 7:52 pm    Post subject: Smoke Wood List Reply with quote

Here is a list of smoke wood and there characteristics. This seems to come up often maybe an administer can stick it to the top of this page for future references. Wink
ACACIA - these trees are in the same family as mesquite. When burned in a smoker, acacia has a flavor similar to mesquite but not quite as heavy. A very hot burning wood.

ALDER - Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.

ALMOND - A sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.

APPLE - Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.

ASH - Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor. Good with fish and red meats.

BIRCH - Medium-hard wood with a flavor similar to maple. Good with pork and poultry.

CHERRY - Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Some List members say the cherry wood is the best wood for smoking. Wood from chokecherry trees may produce a bitter flavor.

COTTONWOOD - It is a softer wood than alder and very subtle in flavor. Use it for fuel but use some chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor. Don't use green cottonwood for smoking.

CRABAPPLE - Similar to apple wood.

GRAPEVINES - Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.

HICKORY - Most commonly used wood for smoking--the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.

LILAC - Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.

MAPLE - Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.

MESQUITE - Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning.

MULBERRY - The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.

OAK - Heavy smoke flavor--the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.

ORANGE, LEMON and GRAPEFRUIT - Produces a nice mild smoky flavor. Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.

PEAR - A nice subtle smoke flavor. Much like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.

PECAN - Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is an all-around superior smoking wood.

SWEET FRUIT WOODS - APRICOT, PLUM, PEACH, NECTARINE - Great on most white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.

WALNUT - ENGLISH and BLACK - Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.

Members report that wood from the following trees is suitable for smoking: BAY, CARROTWOOD, KIAWE, MADRONE, MANZANITA, GUAVA and OLIVE. The ornamental varieties of fruit trees (i. e. pear and cherry) are also suitable for smoking.

Other Internet sources list the wood from the following trees as suitable for smoking: BEECH, BUTTERNUT, FIG, GUM, CHESTNUT, HACKBERRY, PIMIENTO, PERSIMMON, and WILLOW.
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brae0408
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Joined: 08 Feb 2007
Posts: 178
Location: Omaha, NE

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26 08 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see you are from Norfolk Jeff. Was wondering what your opinions are on mulberry and maple. I know they are plentiful in our area and wondered if you used them. I myself have some that will be properly seasoned soon. I see some people on the ring discredit the info from the list you provided. Was just wondering your opinion.
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Jeff T
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Joined: 08 Mar 2005
Posts: 4207
Location: Norfolk, Nebraska

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26 08 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah opinions run wild when it comes to smoke wood. But to each his own.Very Happy
Mulberry.... i like it but the trick is to season it at least 18 months or longer, its a real sappy wood. I haven't tried any local maple so ???
How about crabapple from around here... have you tried any yet?
Its all good, i`ve tried it and its just as good as any apple i`ve come across.
Local Ash wood mixed with crabapple works great too.
My brother in law got a load of what he called "River Hickory" from some guys up around Souix City along the river, any clue as to what that is? It was ok but a little woodsy, not like any other hickory i have tried.
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brae0408
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Joined: 08 Feb 2007
Posts: 178
Location: Omaha, NE

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27 08 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't tried river hickory. Mostly just apple, hickory and mesquite. Looking forward to trying the mulberry though.
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Char Grilla
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Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 308
Location: Central Valley Cali

PostPosted: Sat Apr 19 08 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You kids are crazy, I tried some of that wood, but found non of those flavors. It had a more earthy taste, and gave me splinters. How do you cook these woods. Twisted Evil
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Dougie



Joined: 19 Apr 2008
Posts: 9
Location: Wake Forest, NC

PostPosted: Sat Apr 19 08 8:30 pm    Post subject: Not all hickory tastes the same! Reply with quote

Why is it that some hickory you get already chipped/chunked up from the store has a stronger more acrid almost mesquite taste?

I have used hickory in many forms over the years, but I heated with seasoned hickory a few years ago in a house I lived in with a Gatling stove, I picked up two BIG feedsacks of large hickory chips from stacking the wood, man that stuff is REALLY GOOD in the grill!

Really excellent taste and color and none of the stronger flavor like the hickory chips I bought at the grocery store.
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Smokinfunk
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Joined: 15 Apr 2007
Posts: 446
Location: Pensacola, FL

PostPosted: Sat Apr 19 08 9:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Not all hickory tastes the same! Reply with quote

Dougie wrote:
Why is it that some hickory you get already chipped/chunked up from the store has a stronger more acrid almost mesquite taste?


Man I sure wish somebody could tell me the answer to that one. That's the only kind of hickory I've ever tried, and no matter how careful and how little I used, the food came out bitter and nasty. As a result, I've got a bag of hickory chunks about 1/8 used that I've had for about three years. Now all I use is mesquite - and people think that's strong-flavored! It's got nothing on hickory for overpowering food.
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stinkpickle
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Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 303

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20 08 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Not all hickory tastes the same! Reply with quote

Smokinfunk wrote:
Dougie wrote:
Why is it that some hickory you get already chipped/chunked up from the store has a stronger more acrid almost mesquite taste?


Man I sure wish somebody could tell me the answer to that one. That's the only kind of hickory I've ever tried, and no matter how careful and how little I used, the food came out bitter and nasty. As a result, I've got a bag of hickory chunks about 1/8 used that I've had for about three years. Now all I use is mesquite - and people think that's strong-flavored! It's got nothing on hickory for overpowering food.


I have to be careful with both hickory AND mesquite. I burn it one-chunk-at-a-time and hot (at the front of the air flow). That way, nothing is ever over-smoked. Mesquite, at least, gives me a little warning when it's burning too slow. It starts to get a coffee-like smell. That's my signal to turn up the burn. I actually prefer to use mesquite chips, because they always burn at the correct rate. Hickory doesn't have same warning signs, except for too much white smoke. When that happens, everything tastes like bacon.
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pyper
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Joined: 17 Jun 2008
Posts: 163
Location: S.C.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18 08 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about a list of woods to not use?

Pine I'm sure. A lot of other woods I thought would be best left alone are on the other list.
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davegrip62



Joined: 06 Aug 2008
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Thu Aug 07 08 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stay away from Pine, Cedar, and any type of Conifer, These create a Creasole that you will never get rid of, and they also burn extremely hot. Not to mention add horible flavor.

I have seen Sassafras on some not to use lists, I don't know if its because of the so called Cancer causing elements in the sap or what, I smoke with it all the time as well as make tea from the roots, and I haven't keeled over yet. I do recomend removing the bark before smoking with it. And making sure it is at least 6 months seasoned in split form. 1 year if the wood is not split.

As far as hickory, If the hickory is green it will over power anything you smoke with it. I always let Hickory season 1 year before using. I use a mix of Hickory and Sweet woods when smoking. I never use hickory by itself. My favorite Hickory blend is 60% Sweet Wood(I use Cherry) and 40% Hickory. I sometimes will throw a log of Sassafras with it too.

Most of the wood I get is local. I called all of the tree trimming services in my area, and they are usually very happy to have you come get the wood from them, and will call you if they get in the types of wood you are looking for.

What I concider Sweet Woods:
Apple
Pear
Peach
Wild Cherry
Sassafras
Maple
Grape Vines
Orange


By far my favorite of all mixtures I use, is a Combination of Pecan and Cherry. Pecan, flavor wise is like Hickory, but not as strong. Try using finely ground Pecan in your rubs to enhance that Pecan Flavor. I am doing my first Competition next weekend, I will let you know what the judges think...lol

The Smoker you use has allot to do with how much smoke is thrown to the meat. I use a homemade smoker that has 5 racks on a rotisserie so the meat is always moving within the chamber. This movement seems to help keep the meat from getting too much smoke.

Of course as with anything you will read on BBQ this is one persons opinion personally I don't think there is such a thing as too much smoke. and everyone's opinions vary due to their taste buds. When I cater events I find most people like a smoke flavor but not heavy smoke.

ChuckWagon Dave
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Wild West BBQ
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 142
Location: bfe ky in the belly of Smokezilla

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30 09 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cook with mostly oak and hickory but I got a batch of somthing called shag hickory or loose bark hickory now that was nasty. I ended up donating it to a local church bonfire.
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Haelix
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Joined: 03 Mar 2009
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26 09 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have found 9 types of hickory in north America. 16 in the world
http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/pages/compare-hickories.htm
Oddly enough pecan is one of the hickory subspecies.
That is how different each type can be, we need the information on the prime species of hickory. Around here there I only see 2 kinds.
I soak my seasoned hickory in salt watter for at least a month , then sun dry for a few months , this lets it burn hot with a milder flavor.
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Bunqui
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Joined: 13 Mar 2009
Posts: 770
Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03 09 11:52 pm    Post subject: Woods Reply with quote

Haelix, Thanks for the link on the varieties of hickory.

If folks are finding the wood chunks/chips from the stores unfit for using in their smoker. Where does one go for smoker wood?
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CrazyChef
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 1728
Location: Spencer, MA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04 09 1:07 am    Post subject: Re: Woods Reply with quote

Bunqui wrote:
Haelix, Thanks for the link on the varieties of hickory.

If folks are finding the wood chunks/chips from the stores unfit for using in their smoker. Where does one go for smoker wood?

Try your local tree service companies. I have 2 that I buy from.
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Haelix
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Joined: 03 Mar 2009
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12 09 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anyone tried persimmon? its a hard wood fruit tree that grows wild in the south east, and the deer love the fruit. the wood is extremely hard, and used to make golf club heads, so it should burn slow
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AZboy in Germany
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Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 32
Location: Baden-Württemberg, Germany

PostPosted: Wed May 13 09 7:42 pm    Post subject: What about Beech? Reply with quote

Hello,

What kind of flavor will beech wood give you?

Thanks!

-Tyler
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ShahBQ
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Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05 09 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know some good ratios when using mesquite? Living in the southwest I have an abundance of this wood...it's right in my back yard! But from what I understand it is easy to over do it...
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Bunqui
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Joined: 13 Mar 2009
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Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10 09 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CrazyChef, checked with local arborist and got some pecan and cherry.
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CrazyChef
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 1728
Location: Spencer, MA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10 09 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bunqui wrote:
CrazyChef, checked with local arborist and got some pecan and cherry.

Awesome!
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Devildog03318590
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Joined: 11 Jun 2009
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Location: Upper Marlboro, Maryland

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25 09 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My neighbor has a persimmon tree that hangs partly onto my property, and I've used some of the branches while smoking and it has a good and mild flavor.
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