Green Wood?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by slim, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. slim

    slim Meat Mopper

    My Dad and i were watching a show on the tube the other day and one team of smokers said they were using green peach and pear wood......i always thought green wood was a no of the old timers i work with says he always uses green hickory.....whats your thoughts on this?

  2. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As I understand it the larger size smokers can use green wood with no problems as the fire burns hotter. Your average side firebox backyard smokers need to use seasoned wood.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My thought is they are more than welcome to use it I won't. Take and build a fire with green wood (which will take more heat to get burning) and one with seasoned wood and look at the differences in the smoke and decide for yourself.
  4. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    I know in the Bobby Flay Throwdown that Buzz said he uses 'wet' (green) wood. As Placebo notes, Buzz has a large smoker... if you actually have a fire (rather than a smolder) going at all times, I can see where it could work.
  5. slim

    slim Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the replies....i always use seasoned wood....this just kinda made me wonder
  6. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Many moons ago when I was young and smoking lots and lots of salmon, trout, halibut, cod, octopus, prawns, and any thing else we harvested from the pacific. The only thing we ever used was green alder wood for smoke. It always turned out awesome except for once when I did a sea cucumber which turned out very very very bitter. Didn't know you were supposed to boil them and change the water three times before smoking them.

    Green alder was the most used wood for smoking fish On the west coast of BC.

    Back in those days ( 1960's ) I had never heard of thin blue smoke so I couldn't tell you if it would be better than the white smoke from the green alder.

    PS I have used both large hot fires and just the element of a Little chief smoker with green alder and both turned out excellent smoked fish.
  7. bbqhead

    bbqhead Smoking Fanatic

    I like it, but you have to be careful. you can oversmoke very easy though.
  8. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    When I was with 9th Marines in KC I went to a few BBQ places that used green hickory for good smoke, can't testify to the methods used, only that they use them...
  9. phil brown

    phil brown Fire Starter

    Well, I've never used green wood myself, but I know that they use it to make liquid smoke. They don't even burn it at high temp., either, they smolder it! Perhaps this is a bit of conventional wisdom that needs to be revisited.
  10. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    Lots of such 'wisdom' needs to be revisited.
    Just a few of those nuggets:

    1. "Always keep the stack fully open."
    On windy days, this just ain't so. A stack half-closed, with the closed part turned into the wind, does exactly the same thing a deflector does on a car sunroof: It blocks wind from entering, while permitting air to pass through. If I don't close the CGSP stack halfway on windy days, I get the wind blowing back into the smoke chamber; this knocks temps down and prevents smoke from entering from the SFB.

    2. "Never have white smoke."
    Some good smoking wood generates white smoke, and there's nothing you can do about it. The maple tree in my backyard is such a source of wood. I season the maple the same amount of time I season the cherry my brother gives me. The cherry generates thin blue, while the maple generates thick white smoke for the first few minutes it's on. It then settles down. But it has not generated creosote, I've never had bitter meat come out of my smoker. So I no longer concern myself! I just keep my nose nearby for the first minute of that white smoke; if the smoke smells OK, it is OK.

    3. You must have even heat across the unit; you must use a baffle.
    Nope. My brother LIKES his hot and cold spots on his NBBD! He's learned to use that to his advantage. As for the baffle, I've found it only helps me during warm months. For cold-weather smoking, it blocks too much of the heat from the SFB. So when I smoke my ribs tomorow there will be no baffle.

    Anyway, the thing that evens out the heat the most is the stack extension.
  11. chiefton

    chiefton Newbie

    Don't forget why meats are smoked.. To cure them for preservation, basically lightly cooked.  The smoke; well part of the process when by a fire.  As time goes by the smoking became a tradition, really the quality of the curing. So when a fire gets to hot well cool it down add green wood  OR more wood that will make it smoke.  Don't want to dry it out or make it tuff.  Well any way blue smoke is warmer smoke, white is cooler, so make your adjustments or choose your stock as you wish as I see it. 
  12. I have used green wood before. I cooked a bunch of pork shoulders for a party. I used seasoned red oak for the heat and once every hour or two I would throw in a piece of green apple wood. If I would have burn seasoned apple it would have just burnt up without much smoke flavor.  I feel if you are hot smoking a green piece every now and then it helps get a more smoky flavor in your meats.  I learned this from my uncle. When he cold smoked hams or sausage he would build a good fire and when it was reduced to red coals he would throw green hickory  limbs on top of the coals and it would smoke like crazy.  When the sausage was done it was almost black and good mmm!.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  13. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Before I knew better I smoked a turkey with fresh apple wood, no problems. I don't use it anymore though, I would just hate to ruin a good piece of meat.
  14. gantster

    gantster Newbie

    I recently cut up a fallen hickory tree limb, and low on seasoned wood I used some of the limb that had not fully cured.  The only drawback I found was the smoke flavor was pretty intense and it did have a tendency to form creosote on the interior of the cooking chamber.  I didn't find the meat unacceptable, though.  Then again my family prefers a deep smoke flavor. 

    I've used green pecan and green blackjack oak in the past and had similar results, but without the creosote. 

    Still, all in all, I would probably recommend the seasoned wood when available. 

    It's all a learning curve :=)
  15. twlong

    twlong Newbie

    Every summer, I prune the large mulberry tree that grows at the back of my yard in Western Colorado. It has become a tradition to smoke several racks of spare or St. Louis style ribs for my family and friends. The wood is cut from the tree, chopped into small logs, and essentially goes straight into the fire pit. This fresh, green, mulberry wood, used sparingly, imparts the sweetest, mild-tasting smoke flavor to the meat, resulting in some consistently amazing ribs. The proof is in the pudding... everybody is wild about them.
  16. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    back when I was using my UDS, I never had any trouble with green wood, especially pecan.

    but! I'd say if you're going to use green wood, use stuff that doesn't have an intense flavor when it's dry (fruit and nut, mostly), and use only a little of it. what I'd do is stack the green stuff around the perimeter of my coals in the bottom of the drum, and let the heat dry it out and start to toast it kinda brown, /then/ I'd stack it onto the coals proper once it stopped steaming (basically kiln-drying it first before touching it to flames)

    always worked well, and I got a good solid pecan flavor

    that reminds me, I need to make a note to go to the pecan sellers and ask for their hulls. crush them down into fines and use those for smoke.  
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  17. Thanks for all the great replies within this thread.  Granted, I didn't start it, but with a variety of fruit trees in my backyard, I've had a question about using green wood, in my mind, for a while.  The only questions that I'd like to add, to this discussion, is: how long does wood have to sit before it's considered seasoned, or dried out enough to no longer be considered green?  Is there anything else that needs to be done in the seasoning process?  Should it be left covered, or uncovered?  I'm still new to the smoking process, so your answers would be helpful.  Thanks, in advance for your replies.   
  18. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    when it's lighter (about half the weight) and snaps rather than flexes, when it doesn't steam off if you hold it to some heat. covered or uncovered, bark up or down.. these are questions that've taunted firewood cutters for centuries. 

    basically, stack it with airflow under, to keep it off the ground, cover it when it rains, (although supposedly if you stack it bark up, the rain rolls off) and figure at least 3 months if you live in a hot climate (texas can really cook the moisture out), 6-12 or more if it's cold (since you're Michigan, you're gonna be cold) and softwoods are done in about half the time of hardwoods/fruit wood

    contact your local extension office and ask them about curing firewood, and then tell them more specifically what you're wanting to do and they can help you out.

    might also be of some help. 
  19. It's a pretty simple equation for me when it comes to wet vs dry wood. I have a big 250 gallon offset that I built which allows me to burn a really hot fire.

    Wet wood will always produce a lot more smoke. I don't like that. I like to burn clean and hot fires and it's basically impossible to do that with wet wood. Nothing beats dry well seasoned oak for my tastes. The smoke should really only be a supporting actor in the flavor of good barbecue.
  20. Thanks, for both of your replies.  Your explanations gave me the information I was looking for, and are therefore excellent.    
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017

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