Anyone know if RedBud trees are ok to smoke with?
Red Bud tree
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- 3,687 Posts. Joined 12/2007
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From what I read in other forums it's about the same as the Hawthorn-smokeable but nothing special. when in doubt get a chunk going and give it the smell test-check first to make sure it ain't poison . some where there,s a nice complete list of woods for smoking.
Here is a link to a past thread with a list.
I would still wait to find out for sure. Don't want you to get sick.
- 14,210 Posts. Joined 5/2011
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OK, Kathryn asked me to look in to this for you. You must be in the Northern half of Florida as Redbud does not grow well too far south in the state. Considering you can eat the Buds, Flowers, Leaves and Seed Pods and historically the Roots and Bark were used to produce Tonics and Medicine, it is reasonable to assume there will be no safety issues Smoking with the Wood. The wood is Hard and Dense so it should be a good candidate for a smoke wood. You should dry it and try it. If it smells good, enjoy it...JJ
Red bud is of the same family as mesquite and acacia, two cooking woods that have very strong smoke, I would use it sparingly until you can determine whether the smoke flavor is palatable to you. This Wikipedia article mentions using green twigs for cooking smoke, but I can't vouch for its veracity.
BTW this is the first mention of red bud trees I have ever seen on any BBQ forum, so I am willing to say that it is not a very common smoking wood for a reason, that reason being better choices just as readily available.
Did you uae it as chunks or pieces for smoke flavor only or burn it as fuel in a stick burner?
My Experience: Red bud tree is VERY good for smoking meats on a working man's Weber charcoal grill
Right. So I had to chop back a red bud tree cluster (over 12 grouped up tree clumps with trunks about the diameter of a volleyball) in late March 2015 as they were way too overgrown, creeping close to power lines, hanging over my neighbor's privacy fence, etc. So I went chop chop on those bad boys and harvested a stack of saplings and logs up to 6" in diameter, all about 20" long.
This is a very, very hard and dense wood. In my case, the wood was just waking up at that time (live just south of KC, MO) so it was somewhat green for the most part, but not sappy. I set aside some saplings and logs, cutting the former and splitting the latter with a hammer and chisel to get chunks about the size of a big spool of thread, maybe larger, but not much bigger than a tennis ball. Smelling the wood right after I cut it made me wonder if this would be good for smoking meat (it smelled sweet, mildly so) , so I did a little research on the "inter-web." So I tried it.
Wow - what a treat! I decided to go easy at first and not do stuff like ribs, beef brisket or pork shoulders.
FIRST RUN Using RED BUD to SMOKE CHICKEN
I went with four smashed and marinated boneless / skinless chicken breasts instead. That's right. Once rinsed well in clean water, I then pat dried them with paper towels and then put all four breasts into a gallon size Ziplock bag, pushed the air all out, zipped it shut, then tenderized all with the flat side of my meat mallet / tenderizer (use what's handy, such as a rolling pin, a can of vegetables or the bottom of a heavy mug, even a cast iron skillet).
Once smashed (i.e., tenderized), I put them all in a 9" X 12" glass dish, drizzled extra virgin olive oil over them (both sides), then added the following on both sides and let them marinate for at least 1 hour AT ROOM TEMPERATURE (important detail):
- Sprinkle over all - "True Lemon" Lemon Pepper Mix - I love this because it has NO SALT, yet has an incredible refreshing kick. A little goes a long way. (Here is more on it - I am not an agent: https://www.truelemonstore.com/product-p/90-3912.htm)
- Garlic powder (no salt) sprinkled to taste
- 1 TB Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, sprinkled to taste
- Juice of 1 lime
- Ground cayenne pepper to taste, to taste
- 1 TB ground FRESH ginger (helps make up for lack of salt - good stuff) - Optional - Use 1/2 tsp dry if you got it
- Add BEER to pan to make sure all meat is covered; (I marinate with skin side UP, so the inner breast soaks up the marinade from underneath, if that makes sense)
- Cover pan will wrap or foil
INDIRECT TECHNIQUE: I used about a full gallon (big milk jug) of Kingsford charcoal briquettes, got them gray, drained my red bud chunks well, (I actually pat them dry) then added them to the coals. I made sure to make a "half moon" of my coals on one side, then put the chicken breasts (skin side UP) on the other side, AWAY from the coals. Bottom vents were all open, top vent was HALF open OVER the meat side - go a slight bit over, not under if so inclined. Here, we want to make sure the TOP vent is open enough, but not too open - AT LEAST HALFWAY (but not much more) to make sure the meat is getting good smoke and good heat, but it's slow heat. I ladled some of the marinade juice from the pan onto and all over the chicken breasts. I flipped the chicken over after 12 minutes, then did them for another 12 minutes or so. Took it off the grill, let it rest under foil for 15 minutes. Wow. Get outta here.
IMPRESSIONS of SMOKING with RED BUD: Very nice mellow smoky flavor. Not overpowering (like hickory or mesquite can be, when unbridled), not bitter, not biting - very smooth, light and subtle. I don't detect any fruitiness as in cherry, apple or peach. Perhaps more of a nutty flavor (almond perhaps?) with a hint of buttery maple, but lightly so. It's woody, but not overpowering.
CONCLUSION: First, this red bud is one of the best kept secrets out there. It's been my experience that red bud tree chunks are very good for use in smoking meats. If harvested and presented in the correct manner (read - not rotten old stuff), red bud chunks DO smoke meats well. I would bet dollars to donuts that wild game (e.g., venison, turkey, boar & elk) could be smoked with red bud and taste excellent. I plan to see how salmon and fresh caught crappie, bass and 'sunfish' taste like when smoked with red bud.
FOOTNOTE - RED BUD for BURNING: Before I even tried to smoke meats with this wood, I knew folks had burned it in their fireplace. So I felt compelled to try it. Lo and behold! This wood burns really well in the fireplace. Ours was green, so it was loud and crackly at first, but after a time, it dried out and behaves much as hedge does. It lasted for hours and hours with great heat production. I was impressed.
UPDATE: So there I was, smoking some good red bud last night . . Cooking some chuck burgers indirectly with red bud chunks as the smoking agent, that is - wow.
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