• 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.

First time smoker wood help

Japan_Dave_

Newbie
★ Lifetime Premier ★
27
12
Joined Jul 26, 2020
Hey all,
First time smoker here and I an issue what wood to use. I have done many hours of research on wood have an idea of what I need to be using but, I live in Japan and I can't get the same woods that many of you guys can obtain.

I have narrowed down these two types of wood Sawtooth oak and Japanese cherry.
Being that I have never smoked in an offset or any other smoker for that matter I am having trouble with the taste that each wood creates or that something else is creating.

I am using an offset smoker with a combination of Ogatan Sawdust Briquette Charcoal , Binchōtan and wood logs. Using a ratio of half charcoal to wood logs.
I did as much research on fire management and I have been able to keep very clean fire with virtually invisible smoke out the stack through each of my cooks.

The Sawtooth oak seems to give the meat an overpowering taste, I did a shoulder lamb and beef ribs and the taste was just too strong.
I then did a pork butt with Cheery wood and the taste was really nice and definitely not over powering.

I understand that this is obviously a personal taste thing but, I was hoping for someone in the know can tell me if it is a wood choice issue (ie, you should not use Sawtooth Oak) or that Oak of this type should not produce a really over bearing taste and that it may have to do with something I may be doing wrong else where in the cook. I have never tasted real BBQ before and I have no idea what it is supposed to taste like.

Any help would be much appreciated and if I left something out that may be important please let me know.
 

Chasdev

Meat Mopper
176
101
Joined Jan 18, 2020
That's a tough question!
I can't find any reference to Japanese oak that talks about smoking meat.
You might consider ordering some bags of oak chunks from Amazon, just search for post oak smoking wood chunks.
Start a charcoal fire (you may not be able to find local post oak but I know you can find top grade charcoal there) and add pieces of wood every half hour or so.
When using wood only, the heat comes from the coals and the flavor comes from the wood burning (slowly) down to coals.
 

flatbroke

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
2,187
1,954
Joined Sep 16, 2007
Was your smoke burning thin or thick and white? Was the wood that you sourced dry or did moisture come out when it burned ?
 

Japan_Dave_

Newbie
★ Lifetime Premier ★
27
12
Joined Jul 26, 2020
Was your smoke burning thin or thick and white? Was the wood that you sourced dry or did moisture come out when it burned ?
It was very thin, almost clear 95% of the time and the wood was very dry, almost always combusted after a few seconds on the pit. I was very careful in this respect. The wood was bark on BTW.
 

Japan_Dave_

Newbie
★ Lifetime Premier ★
27
12
Joined Jul 26, 2020
That's a tough question!
I can't find any reference to Japanese oak that talks about smoking meat.
You might consider ordering some bags of oak chunks from Amazon, just search for post oak smoking wood chunks.
Start a charcoal fire (you may not be able to find local post oak but I know you can find top grade charcoal there) and add pieces of wood every half hour or so.
When using wood only, the heat comes from the coals and the flavor comes from the wood burning (slowly) down to coals.
Thanks for the advice. I am using half and half ATM. Like you said we get great charcoal here and it burns forever at a constant temp. I will have a look at Amazon and see what I can get here.
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
45,562
6,804
Joined Jun 22, 2009
I think if I were you & cherry was readily available I would just stick with that. It gives a great taste & it puts a wonderful color on the meat.
Al
 

Japan_Dave_

Newbie
★ Lifetime Premier ★
27
12
Joined Jul 26, 2020
I think if I were you & cherry was readily available I would just stick with that. It gives a great taste & it puts a wonderful color on the meat.
Al
I am doing another set of beef ribs this weekend with Cherry. I will post back with my experience. Again, thanks all for the ehelp.
 

Japan_Dave_

Newbie
★ Lifetime Premier ★
27
12
Joined Jul 26, 2020
Hey all,
Did another cook with some beef ribs and this time I used a mix of charcoal and Cherry(Sakura) and it came out sooo much nicer. Had a nice smoke flavor but, was very subtle.

Thanks everyone for the help as it looks like I will be using Cherry from now on. It is a little bit more expensive but, very well worth it.
 

whistlepig

Smoking Fanatic
416
82
Joined Dec 23, 2011
If I only had one wood to choose it would be cherry. Thank goodness I don't have to make that choice.
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.