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Ever used Birch or Poplar?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by peter, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Has anyone experimented with using Birch or poplar for smoke?

    Most of our area is softwood like pine and spruce, but we do have a fair bit of Poplar and some Birch.

    Buying bagged chips is pretty expensive and if I could use local grown wood, then I could keep the cost down.

  2. joed617

    joed617 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Peter .. Although not as soft as pine thay are still soft wood .. not very good for smoking meats ..

  3. ranger72

    ranger72 Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Hi There Peter!

    Welcome to the Boards!

    I have never used Poplar for smoking so I can't speak for that particular wood; However here where I live White Birch is a common hardwood and I have used it many times in conjunction with Hardwood lump charcoal.

    I use birch that has been seasoned for a year which makes the bark easy to remove (i prefer to remove the bark) and then i split it into small sticks and add it to my firebox.In my opinion it produces a pleasant, although mild,
    smoke flavor and augments the use of the hardwood charcoal which can get expensive after a while.

    I also use Oak, Apple, Maple, and Cherry when I can get it!

    To get a more pungent smoke I add Chunks of Hickory which I have soaked in water overnite. Try it yourself and see what you think.

    Just my two cents,

    ranger72 :)

    OTBS # 14
  4. joed617

    joed617 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks Ranger for that info ... Poplar not good .. but birch is good .. so much smoking and so little time.

  5. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Don't forget about the "Woods for Smoking" sticky as a reference. If the wood is not listed, it should be a clue not to use it.
  6. I did not look at the list quite that way. Now that you suggested it, I will look at each wood I can find in my area.

    I am pleased to see that Birch is on the list, I will try it the next smoking experment.

    Thanks for the replies. I am open for more feedback.
  7. harbormaster

    harbormaster Newbie

    My stockpile of birch is not what it once was, so I use it sparingly. I find it to have the most pleasing aroma. I used some last weekend along with some hickory in a 22 hour butt smoke. I just love the smell of it. And to be honest with you, light a fire in your smoker and toss a piece of poplar on it. Let it burn, smell the smoke, and see what you think. I have a couple of polars that will need to come down soon, and I'm going to try it, as polar is similar to birch.
    FYI, birch and poplar will become punky very fast, and need to be stored under cover, or preferably indoors.
  8. has anyone tried using saskaton wood  or rose hips 
  9. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Never heard of Saskatoon wood and rose hips are loaded with citric acid so IDK how good the smoke would be.
  10. Saskatoon wood. Is a member of berry trees also known as Serviceberries. They look a lot like blueberries, with a soft woody pit. Flavor in my opinion, is a cross between a blueberry and prune, with a nice tart finish.

    I have seen the trees 25 feet tall, 4"  to 6" bases. It would in texture and hardness be similar to alder. Never used it for smoking.
  11. I burn a lot of different local woods in my outdoor wood fired boiler to heat my house, so I get exposed to lots of smoke. Poplar (quaking and bigtooth aspen) stinks and balsam poplar stinks even worse. White birch bark burns my eyes. Birch with no bark doesn't burn my eyes and I've heard that it's good for smoking, although I've never tried it. I would definitely try it before poplar. If you cut green birch for seasoning and don't plan to split it green, you might want to score the bark vertically, deep enough to expose light wood. This causes the bark to slough off sooner and helps keep the hardwood from getting punky.