Help me out with hickory

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by thegoodtexan, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. thegoodtexan

    thegoodtexan Newbie

    I've only been smoking seriously for about a year and half now, when I got my Longhorn smoker. Before that, I had tried my hand at it here and there, but nothing much.

    After I got my smoker, I started researching woods, and discovered that apple is good. I was in luck, as my brother-in-law had a huge apple tree in his yard that was blown down by a storm. He let me have it for free...just to get it cleared from his property.

    I used that apple tree for almost a year, with GREAT results.

    When it ran out...I bought some hickory from a man down the street that harvests trees for a living. (As a novice) I used the hickory in the same method as I had used the apple....and promptly ruined a brisket, a pork shoulder and some ribs - they tasted absolutely horrible. Totally bitter.

    Since then, I've had someone tell me that it was probably because I hadn't stripped the bark from the hickory.

    Now I've got a whole load of hickory in my garage....and I'm scared to use it.

    Thoughts? brother-in-law just called to say that he has a peach tree in his yard that blew over..."Come and get it"....I've read that peach is similar to hickory...maybe a little milder...and a little sweeter...???
  2. roscoe dog

    roscoe dog Fire Starter

    I cut my own hickory from trees on my property and have had no problems but I take the bark off. I dont use it fresh cut. I let it dry for a few months.
  3. nether

    nether Newbie

    Remove the bark and proceed as normal. Hickory is quite a bit stronger than apple in my opinion, so I would start with 1/2 the amount you normally use in apple.
  4. lawdog

    lawdog Smoking Fanatic

    I use mainly hickory, chips in the MES, and splits in the big stick burner, bark and all. Haven't had a problem yet. Hickory is a stronger wood than apple all aroud so if you were using alot of apple to obtain the flavor you like and used the same amount of hickory it may have just been to overwhelming IMO

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

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

    Don't give up just back down how much smoke and it might make a difference.

  5. thegoodtexan

    thegoodtexan Newbie

    Done. [​IMG]

    on another's my "Roscoe Dog"....hanging out...waiting on me to fire up the smoker!

  6. lawdog

    lawdog Smoking Fanatic

  7. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The posts are right on regarding the Hickory. I've used it for years. Down South, it's certainly the prime wood for smoking. I've never been concerned with the bark. What ever your preference. Try it both ways but back off from the quantity. Remember .... THIN blue smoke.
    Regarding the peach .... grab it. Peach wood is especially good with chicken and fish. It gives a mild almost sweet taste. Also, the advise regarding allowing the wood to dry out is good. Although I have used green Hickory before, it's a better bet to allow it to dry. Enjoy!
  8. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    what bill said........

    also........ANY wood that comes from a tree that bears fruit OR nuts is good..........but it needs to cure wood will give a bitter taste
  9. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hickory is a strong wood, let it dry well and keep the amount a bit lower then something like apple or cherry. Peach would work just as well as the fruit woods. Just let them dry for 6 months or so.
  10. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use alot of hickory. Never bother removing bark... but then again I pre-burn my wood. No bark left when it hits the pit.
  11. thegoodtexan

    thegoodtexan Newbie

    Thanks for the advice guys. I'm trying to figure out how to use less wood...

    Please tell me if the following is a good process, or poor process:

    I build a fire in the fire box with lump charcoal...usually Royal Oak. I allow it to burn and mellow out for about 45 minutes or an hour. Then I place my wood on top of that, and have the meat ready to put in the smoker at the same time.

    Is this a decent method?

    I'm one of those people that usually thinks "if some is good...then more must be better". That's how I've approached smoke up till now, and it work fine with the apple. But seems that I need to tame that down a bit with the hickory.

    Am I understanding things correctly?
  12. It sounds to me like your wood is still green also. And it sounds like you have a big smoldering fire with white smoke comeing out of the stack because thats what usually gives you that creasote/bitter taste. What we mean by useing less wood is build a small hot fire with very little smoke.

    Try this method on your Q some time. Youll need a pair of welding gloves for this. Put about a chimney of lit charcoal in the firebox when it gets burning good n hot, for your coal bed. Cut your wood so its about 8" long and 3" thick +/-, or the size of a beer can. Put a few kindling size peices on the coals and let them start burning then add 2-3 of the beer can sized peices. Allow a little space between the wood for air to move through the fire, you need pleny of air in there. Put a few of the peices on top of your fire box, to get wamed up and ready for the next step. Put 2-3 pieces inside the fire box but not on the fire and try not to let them catch fire, you want this wood to get hot and dry without burning untill you need to add it to the fire. When you put your hold over wood, inside the fire box, on the fire repace it with wood from on top of the fire box and so on. This will help improve your smoke whether your wood is completly seasoned or not. However it is not a quick fix for green wood.

    Let the cooker get up to temp before you put the food in.
    You want to cook with thin blue smoke, no white, yellow or black smoke. Keep a close eye on that wood on top of the fire box or youll have two fires, if it starts smoking turn it over and warm up the other side a bit.
  13. mcp9

    mcp9 Meat Mopper

    the bark has never been an issue with me. i just limit the amount of hickory i put in. i use big chunks, i let one burn out before i put another in.
    embrace the hickory. great smell, great taste. just use in moderation. my caution is to watch for temp spikes with burning big chunks of wood.
    and as for when to put the wood in, i want my fire temp right, then, and only then will the meat go in.

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