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Wood bark

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm pretty new to this smokin thing and have a question about wood.  I have an offset smoker and up until now have pretty much used charcoal exclusively.  I recently ran into a fellow with a saw mill that said I could have all of the oak and hickory slab wood I wanted.  I picked up a pickup load, cut it up and piled it.  Here's my question.  quite a bit of it has some amount of bark on it.  Will that have any negative affect  on the taste of the meat?  Do I need to knock ALL of the bark off the wood before I put it in the smoker?

post #2 of 10

I don't worry about the bark much unless the tree has been dragged through whatever. Clean bark, Ok. I  Have never noticed any adverse taste bark or no bark. CF

post #3 of 10

Bark is good use it



post #4 of 10

I've found that bark adds a bitter flavor. Hack off whatever you easily can. It won't ruin a smoke, but it might lend a sharpness to the flavor.

post #5 of 10

That's one of the things you'll have to decide for yourself, you can see there are different thoughts on bark, I never knocked off any bark if it fell off I didn't worry about it. Been smoking for over 40 years. Tried lots of different types of wood.



post #6 of 10

I had a friend bring me a big box of oak bark one time years ago and I used it to smoke trout. It was fine for that. White smoke but flavorful. Of course I had a jury rigged ECB at the time and was doing my best with what I had to work with. Like gary I don't fuss about it. if it falls off fine if not fine.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.  I appreciate the input. 

post #8 of 10

If you go to a BBQ joint (Real BBQ) where they cook on a fire pit and pay attention to their wood pile it all has bark and they don't remove it



post #9 of 10

The Bark layer on any wood is where most of the flavor of the smoke comes from.  If you every try using clean hardwoods, you won't get that strong of a flavor!


I have both a stick burner and a pellet smoker and love them both.  When I first got my pellet smoker, I noticed that I got great smoke rings, but not as much smoke flavor as my stick burner (I never took the bark off my wood).  After doing some research, I learned that many pellets are made with left over wood scraps which have no bark.  The pellets made with a good percentage of bark give much better and stronger flavors.


As with any wood - it has to be well dried to give good smoke.  I noticed some folks mentioning too much white thick smoke from bark - I have only had that kind of problem with improperly cured bark.


So, by all means use the bark - make sure it is well dried and cured - you will get more flavor that way.

post #10 of 10

My approach to bark on the wood is just a personal opinion with no science to back me up but I tend to look at the bark to wood ratio.  For example, small diameter twigs have a greater bark to wood ratio than bigger limbs.  When I prune my fruit trees, I keep the 1 1/2" and larger stuff for the smoker and throw the smaller stuff in the compost pile. 

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