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Basics of Wood for Smoking

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I am relatively new to this hobby but have made some great tasting pork in a cheap little smoker I have using lump hardwood charcoal and Jack Daniels wood chips. I'm currently looking into a really nice smoker and trying to learn more about fuels.

 

First of all, I have a rookie question: when someone says a "wood" smoker, does that mean they are using only real wood? Does lump hardwood charcoal count as "wood" or "charcoal?" Do some people using only real wood (ie-no sort of charcoal whatsoever) in their smokers? I assume you can probably burn down chunks of real wood to make charcoal and it may be the best fuel, although I've never done this or seen it done.

 

Secondly, is there any consensus on what is the "best" fuel? I am sure everyone has their opinion but I was wondering what the professional competition guys use to smoke pork. If you go to a competition, do you find some guys using charcoal, some using charcoal with wood chips, and some using only wood for smoking? Or, is there something that is generally considered the "best" for serious pork smoking?

 

Lastly, I want to make my own wood chunks/chips to add to the smoker. I have access to just about every tree you could want. How do you prepare wood for use in a smoker? I assume you don't want green wood so after you cut a tree you want to dry it out. How long do you dry it? After that, is it as simple as cutting or chipping the wood and using it?

post #2 of 5



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMLWinds View Post

I am relatively new to this hobby but have made some great tasting pork in a cheap little smoker I have using lump hardwood charcoal and Jack Daniels wood chips. I'm currently looking into a really nice smoker and trying to learn more about fuels.

 

First of all, I have a rookie question: when someone says a "wood" smoker, does that mean they are using only real wood? Does lump hardwood charcoal count as "wood" or "charcoal?" Do some people using only real wood (ie-no sort of charcoal whatsoever) in their smokers? I assume you can probably burn down chunks of real wood to make charcoal and it may be the best fuel, although I've never done this or seen it do.So you can see it donehttp://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/99882/home-made-charcoal

 

Secondly, is there any consensus on what is the "best" fuel? I am sure everyone has their opinion but I was wondering what the professional competition guys use to smoke pork. If you go to a competition, do you find some guys using charcoal, some using charcoal with wood chips, and some using only wood for smoking? Or, is there something that is generally considered the "best" for serious pork smoking?http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/wiki/wood-types-and-flavor

 

Lastly, I want to make my own wood chunks/chips to add to the smoker. I have access to just about every tree you could want. How do you prepare wood for use in a smoker? I assume you don't want green wood so after you cut a tree you want to dry it out. How long do you dry it? After that, is it as simple as cutting or chipping the wood and using it?



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post #3 of 5



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMLWinds View Post

I am relatively new to this hobby WELCOME to the Forum but have made some great tasting pork in a cheap little smoker I have using lump hardwood charcoal and Jack Daniels wood chips. I'm currently looking into a really nice smoker and trying to learn more about fuels.

 

First of all, I have a rookie question: when someone says a "wood" smoker, does that mean they are using only real wood? Not necessarily wood as opposed to electric or propane.  Many small offset Wood Smokers burn charcoal and briquettes to keep the heat and then add chunks or small splits for additional heat and flavor.  Larger wood burners ( Lang, Bubba Grills use mainly wood. Pellet smokers use processed wood ,  Does lump hardwood charcoal count as "wood" or "charcoal?" Do some people using only real wood (ie-no sort of charcoal whatsoever) in their smokers? Many of us will use charcoal to start a fire and burn wood the rest of the smoke I assume you can probably burn down chunks of real wood to make charcoal and it may be the best fuel, although I've never done this or seen it done. There are threads on this forum on how to make charcoal.  Most of us purchase good quality lump charcoal to use in our smaller smokers

 

Secondly, is there any consensus on what is the "best" fuel? I am sure everyone has their opinion but I was wondering what the professional competition guys use to smoke pork. If you go to a competition, do you find some guys using charcoal, some using charcoal with wood chips, and some using only wood for smoking? Or, is there something that is generally considered the "best" for serious pork smoking?  I'll let the competition guys reply to this question but I believe a lot of it depends on the competition.  I have access to pecan and oak so that is what I use.  Pecan is closely related to hickory and oak makes a good heat source

 

Lastly, I want to make my own wood chunks/chips to add to the smoker. I have access to just about every tree you could want. How do you prepare wood for use in a smoker? I assume you don't want green wood so after you cut a tree you want to dry it out. How long do you dry it? After that, is it as simple as cutting or chipping the wood and using it?    It needs to be dry is the only requirement and generally not be a soft or resinous wood.   Depending on the size of the fire box on your smoker you might use small "splits"  maybe 12 inches long and as big around as a beer can (needed to give you a readily available reference), Large splits or whole logs, Chunks as big as your fist, chips or even dust if using electric or dino fuel.



 

 

post #4 of 5

Sounds like the other Al has you covered.

post #5 of 5

First off Welcome Aboard,,,

I would say the "Best" fuel is the one YOU like the taste off and the one that works the best for you..

 

As far as "green wood" goes..... I have seen a show where Myron Mixon goes to a peach orchard and cuts it of the trees directly and uses it, AFTER he started his fire with a whole bag of Kingsford charcoal, so I guess its what ever you like doing and using.

 

I say its what ever gets the meat done and on the table. I have a off-set  fire box and right now I burn Kingsford and Lump charcoal, I also use Apple, peach, hickory, cherry chips and chunks. I say try all you can and find YOUR favorite.

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