are twigs ok for smoking?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by cppbrian, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. I just searched the forum and didn't find an answer to if there is a minimum diameter of branch/twig for smoking. I am going to prune my peach tree in a couple of weeks when the leaves finish dropping. The problem is that it is a small tree and the thickest branch that i am trimming is only about an inch around. Most of the wood will be little twigs. Is that ok for smoking? I realize i will need to let it season. Will i need to peel off the bark, or is that left on for the smoke? Sorry for these newbe questions, I have been using the bagged wood chips from the store and i read that peach is a good wood for smoking so i thought i'd try.

    Also, what size should i cut them to to season them? I have a MES so i cant use very long sticks in the chip tray, so should i cut them to inch long pieces and dry them that way, or should i dry them first and then cut them up?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. danj

    danj Meat Mopper

    i would t hink they will be fine. chips in a bag are not to big.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Cut them into the size you want to use and allow them to dry that way the smaller the faster it will season. I personally don't take the bark off much of it will come off as it seasons.
  4. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The first year spring pruning with my peach, apricot, cherry, plums, green gage etc they were all quite small two where just whips. I had planted them all at the same time. At most 1 inch diameter branches. I borrowed my neighbouts chipper, set it on a real coarse setting and tossed each type on thru. I gathered up each pile of wood and spread the chips out on a tarp in full sunlight. I guess it was mid summer that I bagged the different types of wood and labled them. ( all fruit woods including grape. ) They made great smoke in my MES. They are really no good for splits till they are about 3-4 in diameter because the thinner ones burn hot and fast.

    The second year I had quite a few bigger branches for making chunks as well as chips. Now they are getting bigger I have some 4 inch.

    My neighbour passed away so I will have to rent the chipper next fall when I plan to prune.
  5. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yup[​IMG]No size requirment, use it all.
  6. dave from mesa

    dave from mesa Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Not to hijack but why do you need to let them dry? Aren't you gonna soak them first anyway?
  7. Thanks for the quick advice. I guess I'll save all of the prunings. The orange tree needs some smaller pieces taken off, I guess I'll save those too[​IMG]

    And Dave, I read in a different thread that green wood can do the creostote (sp?) that gives a bitter taste that would go away when fully 'seasoned'.

    Also, I do have some thick, woody pieces of a rosemary plant. I wonder if those would smoke well, or if it would be bitter because i think it is related to pine.
  8. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    yes Dave you need to let them season-and most folks don't soak there woods when smoking.than again some would have it no other way.
  9. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    My experience with twigs (plum, almond) is that they don't smell near as nice as chunks of wood.
    Ones I tried smelled too much like burning weeds and leaves or something.
    I think it has to do with small twigs being too much bark and too little wood.
    All else being equal, I wouldn't use stuff under 1" diameter.
    But just try it and find out for yourself.
  10. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    Let your cuttings dry naturally before using to smoke foods. It's twigs, give it up to 4 weeks or so from cutting.

    I'll have to disagree with the writer that said most people don't soak their wood for smoking. Everyone I knw of that is using a vertical or indirect soaks the wood to allow it to smolder rather then burn.

    Of course if you are talking custom competition rigs, or course not, they are burning wood as the heat source too.

    Basically, twigs are fine for smoking and a lot of people have a lot of opinions. I suggest you just try it out ojn your own, you may learn more then most pretend to already know. [​IMG]
  11. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    What they didn't say is that there is no such thing as a newbie question. It's just a question you don't know the answer to. Fortunately, in my short time here, reading pages and pages of threads, I've yet to find anyone disparging a "newbie" for asking what would seem to be an obvious question. These guys need to pat themselves on the back for being such a great resource and being great teachers. Don't say "aw shucks", you people deserve it.

    That being said, as to your question, I have an Apple tree, a Pear tree and a Concord Grape. I prune them deligently every year and use every bit of them for smoking. I dry them in a unused Greenhouse that works perfect. I always figure on using them NEXT smoking season. I'm fortunate in having enough to take care of my needs so far, although this site has opened my eyes to a heavier (more) smoking schedule[​IMG]. Bark, I've heard both ways, I keep the bark on, doesn't seem to make a significant difference, or is it, ignorance is bliss?
  12. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sure why not just make sure that hey are dried out you don't want to pick them up and smoke with them. Let them dry out first.
  13. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You usually do disagree on many things, soaking is a waste of time and prolong the smoke. It has been proven that it is a was a waste of time.

    Here is a video that shows the actual process and the results.

    Good luck and I hoped you learn something from the video.
  14. scpatterson

    scpatterson Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use to pick up small pieces of pecan in my moms yard and use to smoke with. I would use lump and add the twigs to it worked beautifully. OSme would be as small as a pencil in diameter...and I dont soak mine and never have and thats just saying its my way.
  15. hoser

    hoser Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I guess the soaking is personal preference...I'm with the no soak camp. All you're doing is steaming instead of smoking...I never could see the sense in that,
    so I never, ever soak my wood for smoking.

    Guess it just comes down to "whatever floats your boat"
  16. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Wood is wood!! [​IMG]

    as to soaking or not soaking. I was taught 33+ years ago to soak, so I still do it. [​IMG]
    It may not help, but it sure doesn't hurt either.
  17. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Ron, but I'll continue to soak my wood as I have for over 20 years. Whether it's been proven or not is just a personal opinion and I appreciate hearing yours, so I'll skip the video for now. If I was smoking in an electric smoker, I probably wouldn't soak my wood either, but I burn fires and smoldering slowly is a much better way to go in my opinion. Looking around, I see others share it as well. To each his own.
  18. erain

    erain Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    to get this back on track....... i saved all my trimings from my apple trees, a prolly 3/4 to 1-1/2 inch dia with the bark on. let season and used them. i noticed whenever i used the trimmings i had alot more smoke of the non thin blue type. i am thinking the bark does have a factor in it as far as that goes. i guess prolly as i was just using small amounts mixed with real seasoned heartwood it didnt affect flavor. but maybe if one was just using the trimmings alone there could be an issue. not saying there is or anything just want to share my observation. it was enough that i was thinking of "skinning" a branch to see if different...

    and if ya wanna soak your wood, go for it... and if you dont, then dont. have never heard of one way giving better flavor, and thats all that counts.
  19. athabaskar

    athabaskar Smoking Fanatic

    To address the use of rosemary, I use it a lot. Actually I use whatever herb strikes me as appropriate to the meat I'm smoking. I never bother to season them and have never had creosote issues, but then I never used sticks even as large as a pencil.

    Thyme and basil are good for example, and I always use them in combination with another wood. You will need to use a more mellow wood like alder, olive, or even pecan and maple. Hickory and mesquite are too overpowering to let the herb smoke come through. Fish and fowl are best too, as they take up the delicate smoke better. Hope this helps.
  20. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I pick up every branch I can that falls off of my pecan trees, including the ones I prune. I am not sure if they help or not as I burn an Oak / Pecan mixture on just about every smoke.

    I have even used some of the smaller branches, chunked up in my weber kettle when cooking / grilling and they seem to do ok as far as flavor goes.

    Just be sure it is dry / seasoned before you use it.

    As far as the bark goes, I only remove bark that is covered in moss, which we get around here from time to time. The smaller branches this should not be an issue. So I say leave it alone..just my opinion

    And I am gonna stay out of the soak / don't soak argument since it was not part of the original question

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