Can hickory be too fresh?

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double barrel

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Original poster
Apr 22, 2024
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I just bought a half Rick of hickory and this wood is seriously fresh. I used it for meal prep this Sunday. The flavor was very different than I'm used to.

If it's the fact that the hickory is too fresh, it's there a wood with little to no flavor I can use to bring the heat and a log or two of hickory for the flavor?
 
Hit Amazon for a moisture meter, they are cheap and very useful.
You need internal wood moisture to be around 20%, less is better but around 14% is ideal.
Too wet and it burns funny and creates denser coals that get too hot, which prevents adding more wood in an effort to create smoke.
You want the wood to burn at a normal rate, turn to coals (which provide a large precentage of cook chamber heat) and go to ash fairly quickly so you can add more wood to get smoke without the coal bed getting too large in the mean time.
 
100% yes. All wood needs to be fairly well seasoned before you smoke with it. Green wood gives off nasty acrid smoke. I dunno what the moisture content should be, I know that 6 months seasoning is good to go.
 

Can hickory be too fresh?

Any wood you smoke with needs to be seasoned. Smoking with green wood will give you some nasty flavors.
 
I let all my green wood, or fresh as you call it, season for up to a year before I use it. That takes planning ahead so I'm always on the hunt for green wood varieties. As mentioned, maybe a moisture meter to check your wood. I've seen "seasoned" wood where the moisture content was in the 30's.

there a wood with little to no flavor I can use to bring the heat and a log or two of hickory for the flavor?
For this, I would suggest a lump charcoal. Most of it burns very hot and could make a nice coal bed to which you could add a split or two of hickory. The green hickory will give off thick white smoke for awhile and will give your food a bitter taste, so let it burn down until there's thin blue smoke. Then you can cook away.

Another option is to burn your hickory separately until it becomes coals. Shovel these coals into your smoker. This could be done in a grill or firepit and is how I grew up smoking poultry and pork...
 
If's its just slightly too green try splitting it into smaller pieces and it might burn more easily. Definitely get a moisture meter and test a split on a freshly split surface.
 
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