American Elm wood

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Jul 3, 2005
Northeast Ohio
I have some very well seasoned wood from an american elm tree that I had removed last fall. The split logs are great for camp fires and such, but I was wondering if it could be used in the smoker. I'd be interested in any opinions.

I looked for a while and didn't see anyone talking about using Elm for smoking meats. You might try looking through the Google Search for more information.
That's a good question Brian. If I can remember correctly (going WAY back to my Boy Scout days) I believe that the American Elm bears fruit that is foraged for by wildlife. I know we have discussed on an other thread about using wood from fruit and nut trees for smoking. How does this wood smell while burning in a fireplace or campfire?

I think this question needs to be answered by someone more knowledgeable than me.
Hey Brian,
Great question. I'm still looking but I have not yet found anything about elm. Fact is that I have a load of it my self from a tree that I had to take down. I've used it in the fireplace (last year) and of course, all was well. I just don't know why it did not occur to me to use it with smoking meat. If I find something I'll definitely let you know.

Well, guys, here's my two cents worth. And not necessarily from the point of a smoker. Elm is an exceptionally dense wood and has a very high moisture content. Even though the wood may appear to be fairly dry the very close capillary system of the wood holds moisture in. The surface may appear to be dry but the interior is not.
I have been looking into every source I can find and have come to the conclusion that there are no references to using elm in smoking because it just isn't.
Some possible reasons would be its much higher ignition point which might not encourage smoke, the fact that it is an ornery wood to deal with, hell on a chainsaw and miserable to split.
I heat my place with wood and pass on free elm for those very reasons. I have tried elm in the past for heat and it is just not worth the effort.
In my job I remove fallen trees from the roads. When we get a batch of elm we just dump it. Even the state prison, which heats with wood, does not want it.
While I really have not totally addressed the subject of smoking I hope I have provided a bit of insight into the use of elm.
yo, 8)
if the i wanna try it bug is still with you.
try the elm with cheapo chichen leg quarters.

about one week a month they are
29 cents a lb.
in frozen ten lb bags.
at a local super markets.

the bad point here is its in stock only.
if you want a bag of them you better go mon-wed.
Thanks for the input guys,

I, too have been searching the net for references to cooking with elm wood to no avail. It seems, as Srmonty suggests, that the reason there is no info is because it simply isn't done. I also have some black walnut that I cut earlier this year from a fallen tree, but I've been told that it will impart a very bitter taste to the food and may possibly have some kind of toxic effect. I'm not sure about that part but with plenty of cherry, apple, hickory, and maple so close to home, there's no need to risk it. The elm and walnut will be reserved for the campfire and makin' s'mores!

Just an added note to the elm thingy. In some areas, due to the Dutch Elm Disease, it is actually illegal to store or to transport the downed trees to any location other than a chipping facility for incineration. That would really put a damper on commercial profitability. So I guess the best way to get rid of elm is to burn it hot.
As for walnut I cannot add any info. Have not dealt with it except to appreciate its beauty on a few of my finer firearms.
Best of luck, all!
Brian,I have seen in several different publications that Elm is not sutiable for use as a smoking wood.I have not seen a reason it should not be used,only that it should not be used.
Thanks for the file, Dave! What a lot of info in such a small piece. Been sort of piddling around a good part of the day trying to come up with more info and found none. Hats off to ya!
Brian,I just found another link about not using Elm.It claims that Elm,when burned puts off a toxin that is harmfull.For some reason I could not post the link here but that is the reason it gave.
Great job!! I went to the site that you mentioned and thought it to be so good that I printed the sheet on woods and will post it in my Q book. Thanks for the research and hopefully nobody will be using elm for smoking.

Thanks guys,

Both references contain much useful information. I appreciate all those who took the time to help with the reasearch. By the way SrMonty, you sure were on the money when you said that elm is hard on a chainsaw and hell to split. I tried to split a few logs the old fashioned way, with a wedge and sledge hammer. Needless to say, that didn't last too long! Today, I called up the local tool rental place and reserved a log splitter to finish the job tomorrow!

At least I'll have plenty of wood for the campfires next year!

Well, Brian, I learned that lesson many years ago when my father accepted a great deal of "free" wood. We heated our home with wood then. Of course you know who was reasponsible for firewood.
Darned near got whupped for slacking because I was not getting through the pile. Told Dad if he could do better I would accept punishment. If not I needed ten bucks for the weekend.
I got the ten bucks which was a small fortune then. Good luck with your elm and keep the saw sharp!
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