Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by pinkfloydsteve, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Seems like Lowe's and Home Depot sell wood for smoking, but soaked the wood and chemicals were floating on the service. Bag states cherry wood and apple wood, but thinking it had chemical flavoring added, instead of all natural wood. THIS HAS KEPT ME FROM STARTING TO SMOKE MEAT. Please help me!!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  2. Steve

    I see this is your first post. Would you drop by roll call so everyone can give you a proper SMF welcome. Also If you would add your location to your profile.

    I don't think they are adding anything to the wood that they are selling. Also you don't need to soak your wood. Alls that does is make steam untill the wood dries out. If you are getting a bitter flavor you are using to much wood.

    Happy smoken.

  3. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Are you sure you got chemicals? There are resins and oils naturally in tree wood that will leach out. And that wood soaking thing that mule talks about is right on.
  4. The directions say to soak the wood. I guess I won't though. Think I'd be good at smoking meat. I have a Hugh interest in it!!
  5. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi Steve, and welcome.  I have to agree with the other guys, I can't imagine there is anything added to those chips/chunks.  I have purchased hickory chunks from Lowes a time or two myself, with good results.  Also agree about soaking...its a waste of time.  The water must evaporate before the wood will begin to smoke.

  6. Thanks, guys!,
  7. Wasn't sure what it was, but figured it was chemicals. Will start smoking soon, after I buy a new smoker! The Weber looks good & easy to assemble!
  8. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    There are lots of different volatile oils in wood that can produce a sheen on water. The wood must be fairly freshly cut to do it though. It is a natural thing.

    I disagree with the no soaking crowd for the most part because I smoke a lot of fish and want to keep the temperature way down. soaked wood burns cooler and producers smoke over a much longer window. When smoking meats I usually do not soak. For specialty smoke like cheese and butter I do soak and run the smoke through a filter

    Smoker manufacturers want their units to be thought of as thrifty wood burners and soaking means you use less wood. I also believe most folks use more wood than they should, anyway... Soaking is a good way to reduce that tendency...
  9. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    The amount of water absorbed by wood is very minimal. Thats the reason they used to make boats out of it. If you take a chunk of wood and let it soak for days you can cut it in half and see there is no more than a sixteenth to an eighth inch penetration. And it does have to burn off before the wood smokes. After that you are smoking dry wood which is what you would have gotten if you put it in the fire without soaking.
  10. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I buy a lot of smoking woods online from Baxter's Original.  They have just about any kind of wood you want at a good price.

    Good luck,

  11. smokeusum

    smokeusum Smoking Fanatic

    Look to farm supply type stores in your area (like where livestock feed is sold) or if there is a Gander Mountain store (way over priced) or a Bass Peo shop near by (blessed to live near a HUGE Bass Pro!) good luck!!!
  12. LoL! Would think wood was use for boat making in the past, because they didn't have a choice! What else could they use? I think a Bass Pro Shop is in Langhorne Pa. Thanks everyone! I've been watching BBQ Pit Masters on TV. Makes me want to BBQ so bad and makes me hungry, too!!!!!
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Take a ride out of Philly. Go North a few miles or East a few miles, into Joisey. Stop at a few Orchards, and ask for some Tree Trimmings. Often it's Free.

  14. ps0303

    ps0303 Meat Mopper

    Don't forget Craigslist.  I was looking on there and the other day the golf course across the street from me posted a free firewood ad.  I called them and they told me where it was and they must have about 10+ cords of some nice Oak.  I pulled some and split it today and it looks real good.

    For chunks you can get decent sized limbs and cut your own chunks.
  15. Craig's list is great. I get most of my wood off of it.
  16. smokeusum

    smokeusum Smoking Fanatic

    Hehehe, I took this today (well, The Big Guy, did)

    My bass pro has a whole section of woods (chunk & chips), rubs, sauces, & smokers.

    I took this photo as well today (I drive 3hrs away to just try competition Q. But 90% of these are available at the Bass Pro near me (notice of the display there are two bottles of Pappy's missing, that's cuz they were in my grubby paws!)

    (Edited to add second photo, it dropped when I bounced towers driving home)
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  17. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    Sorry, but that is not correct, nor even close. As I have stated here on a number of other threads I am actually a wood technologist and patented a wood drying process (1979) still used on the West coast.

    To start, water is colorless and when soaked into wood you will not see it until the fiber saturation point is reached (at about 25%). A far better test is weighing the wood before and after. Significant water is absorbed even in outstanding boat woods like white oak. Red oak is a horrible boat wood and it will play sponge in water...

    White oak has far more "stuff" in the pores which slows water absorption (and especially release when drying). Build a boat of red oak and it would never tighten up and seal off. You can blow smoke through a slice of red oak easily... Even if it is a couple inches long. So wood variety makes a huge difference is water absorption and adsorption (what water does after the fiber saturation point is reached). The shape and size of the pieces makes a huge difference, especially in tighter grain species, also. Something like green cottonwood will have a water content of up to 200%. (in standard usage water content of wood is a function of the dry weight of the wood, so a 1# piece of dry cottonwood weighed 3# when green)

    As to burning more slowly... the contact points between the fire and the soaked wood will dry first and start smoking... and it happens quite fast; by no means does the entire piece have to dry out before smoke happens. With a properly dampered fire box the wood will then continue to smoke from the dry points and as the drying advances through the wood it will continue to smoke. Simple physics are very hard to ignore... The cooling done by the evaporating water keeps the fire lower than it would be with dry wood... and it slows the burning of the wood which would add significantly to the total heat put out by the fire. Again, simple physics show it cannot be another way.

    That is not to say you have to soak your wood to make your smoker perform at its best, there are simple too many different ways of getting to the same end. But if you are smoking fish soaking your wood will almost always be a huge advantage.
    gone4nc likes this.
  18. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    Still plenty of folks building all kinds of wood boats... Port Townsend Washington has a school for it, even. They do some amazing work.
    stovebolt likes this.

    Great information and well presented. Thanks.

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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013

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