dead wood any good?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by simple, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. simple

    simple Smoke Blower

    A new coworker found out I enjoy this hobby, and has offered me the wood from a couple of small hickory trees if I'll cut them down.  Sounded like a fairly good deal until he mentioned that the trees have been dead for a couple of years...

    So--is this still a good deal?  Is wood from a dead tree any good for smoking?  Is it already dried and ready to go, or is it something to stay away from?  He has no knowledge of why the trees died.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It's good to go. Cut it & use it right away, no drying time.
  3. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    yup it is good
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just make sure it isn't so rotten that it crumbles.  If very dry it will burn very fast so use a little at a time and see what the fire looks like.
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Didn't think of that Al. Good point!
  6. simple

    simple Smoke Blower

    Thanks, guys!  My first thought was "Pre-dried! woohoo!"  quickly followed by "Wonder what killed it?  Will there be bug/critter/rot/funkiness issues?" 

    I'll get out and take a look at it and get going on it.  Inherited a little Husqvarna (or whatever it is) chain saw from my FIL, been trying to find a reason to fire it up...  Now I guess I've got a good reason.
  7. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Lucky you.  Yeah, wood in this condition is excellent as long as you take a few precautions.  Check for insect infestation (likely to be random critters that called the wood home and of no great concern) like wood borers or beetles.  This is really important, just to be sure you're not transporting some invasive insect into a new area.  Up here in the Pacific Northwest, it breaks my heart to see the devastation that has occurred to the Pine forests along I-90 in Montana because of a beetle.   Moss and mold, scrape it off REAL good.  Bark, that depends on if the wooded area is liable to have been sprayed in any form.  I usually remove bark if it's suspect, but that's just me.  Store it in a dry place with plenty of ventilation.  Don't be tempted to bag it in big plastic baggies.  Gunnie sacks are ideal.  Know any plumbing contractors?  They get their parts for home plumbing in large gunnie sacks and I've found these to be ideal.  Especially for the next sentence.   A warning though:  I've discovered, fortunately without serious consequences, that yellow jackets like to winter over in wood piles.  When they're cold, they don't move very fast, but come springtime, it's a whole different story.
  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     Would you tend to soak, older, dried wood before use? I have some older pecan. Wood is still hard and was wondering if I should use it or replace it.
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I don't see any reason not to use it Flash. I would not soak it. Personally I like the wood to catch fire a little bit in my WSM. I probably use as many wood chunks as I do charcoal. I guess I'm looking for the flavor the stick burners get.
  10. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    If you have never felled a tree ,PLEASE be careful!!! a live tree is easier to drop where you want it to fall Dead trees can have soft spots and fall b4 you are planning on it to.
  11. simple

    simple Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the info on the soft spots.  I'm no lumberjack by any means, but I've taken a few down.  Luckily the area is wide open for the most part, not too concerned with having to hit a drop zone. 

    Went out earlier this week and looked at it, shouldn't be a major issue, may have more (awfully small-thankfully I just need chunks for a drum, not splits for a SFB), possible a small maple and blackjack oak.  I admit to never having heard of "blackjack" oak, so I've got to do some searching around to see if it's good for smoking or not.

    Hope to get out next week and take a stab at getting one down for sure. 

    They also have native sandstone laying around by the ton that I'm gathering for flower bed edging...  could turn into work before I get done
  12. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Yes use it

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