Can softwood/plywood smokehouses impart a bad flavour?

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Meat Mopper
Original poster
Feb 5, 2009
Hey all,

I've been busy working away on my smokehouse project, and my father in law asked a question.  If you're not supposed to use softwood, pine, spruce, fir, tamarack, etc, as smoking woods because they contain too much resin in them, will they impart unpleasant flavours to your food if you use them to build your smoker?  Obviously, if you heat your smokehouse too high, and the walls on the inside starts to smoke (or catches fire - oops), there must be some threshhold on temperature where the box itself starts to off gas.  Anyone have any ideas? 

I don't expect to let this unit to get above 200F, I have a MES and/or a Weber grill for brisket, ribs, and pulled pork.  This one will be for sausage, bacon, fish and hams.

Probably worried about nothing. 

Thanks for any insights you care to share,

Many people on here have build plywood smokers. I know for sure you don't want to use particle board but I'm not sure which plywood material would be best or unacceptable. Obviously if it gets to hot like you said it will give off some kind of bad stuff because of the stuff in the material but I'm guessing that would have to be pretty hot for that to happen. If you are staying under 300 degrees I wouldn't think you have anything to worry about. What are you using as a fuel source (electric, propane?) Make sure the bottom has some type of barrier so it doesn't catch fire like you said. That could be really bad.

I know a couple of folks eher that have plywood smoke houses and nothing has happen to the smoker or the people using them either. Now I know that yellow pine wood has alot of sap in it but it's not that easy to get your hands on it theses days. Now there was a guy that just lost his smoker to a bad heat source fire not to long ago thou. But it was old and he needed a new one anyway. 
Been using mine for over a year now and have had no problems with any kind of gaseous fumes other than wood smoke.  You can see my build at the bottom of my post.  One thing is I allowed sufficient room in the smokehouse so any fumes would dissipate.  Heat rises and if there were any initially they long ago dissipated; they would have had to have traveled horizontally to have permeated the meat, an impossibility considering the bottom to top vents airflow.  The walls are now coated with a nice smoke layer too.  And, still vertical here, lol!  Smokehouse reaches around 225° to 250°, between adjusting the draft and the three part burner with added needle valve, I have excellent control on temps.  I modeled it from the smokehouses my dad had at his business, including having drip pans to collect the grease.  I lined the floor with flat cinder block and stood up several also as a fire shield.  Simple but effective.  Check it out!
Thanks guys.  Pop, I will check out your links more closely when I get home, the office computer has a firewall and I can't view pictures most of the time.  In the mean time, you can go as high as 250F in a wooden box and not worry about fire?  Nice! I will definitely check out the fineries of design after work today. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts