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? ....also....my 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...???