Couple of questions. I've got a massive purist streak in me regardless of what I'm doing. If I can do it on my own, that's how I want to do it. So after getting pissed at how much stores charge for a bag of chunks of smoke wood, I got thinking that maybe it was time to take a chainsaw out into the mountains and get my own smoke wood.
1. Do you get better results if you go with an exclusive wood fire, as opposed to using lump or briquette charcoal? Or will that put you at risk of making your meat taste like creosote?
2. Has anyone tried using scrub oak? We don't have actual oak out here in Utah (that I know of), but there's plenty of scrub oak. But I haven't the foggiest if it would be good for smoking.
3. What about cedar? There's a ton of cedars the forest service recently chain dragged not too far from where I live to improve elk habitat, and I assume they wouldn't mind someone hauling it off since cedar takes forever and a day to decompose. I've cedar planked fish (salmon and tilapia), which is great. I've also grilled a Johnsonville brat over cedar coals on a camping trip (best brat I've had in my life). But I'm wondering if anyone has used it as a smoke wood for beef, pork or poultry smoking. I'm wondering if the tastes would jive.
4. With apple wood, is there a kind of apple that is best? You know, fuji vs. McIntosh vs. red delicious, etc...
5. Same question, but with cherry wood.
Here's the part where I make some of you envious. The reason I ask about apple and cherry wood is because my grandpa owns a fruit farm. They do several different kinds of apples and cherries, and they're always rotating out one part of the orchard or another. A lot of times they just burn them after dozing them out to crop rotate. I'm pretty sure that all I'll have to do is get my carcass out there with a chainsaw, be patient enough to let it cure, and I've got as much fruit wood as I could ever want. They also do peaches, so I could try that. But I'm wondering if I should target a particular type of apple and/or cherry for my smoke wood.
Those are the only real options we have in this part of the country that I know of. The majority of trees out here are pines of differing subspecies and quaking aspen, both of which seem certain to be absolutely horrible to cook on.
As always, any input is appreciated.