How long should my wood season before use?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by bman62526, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Hey all,

    I have a lot of apple wood - from 3 trees that my brother dropped last year. He stacked them in his barn in Iowa and has brought me a few loads over the winter to get me going this smoking season! From his trunk, it gets stacked in my detached and non-temperature controlled POS garage. [​IMG]

    He cut down the trees and chopped/split/stacked the wood in August of 2008. Assuming I want to start using this wood around mid-April, do you think the wood has seasoned long enough?

    Furthermore, what is the life span of good BBQ wood? (specifically apple wood, if different woods last longer)

    How long can it be around before it's no good to use in the smoker anymore?

    Thanks again - beginner here...

  2. roksmith

    roksmith Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    It's all a matter of personal taste.
    I know some who prefer green wood because it lets off more flavor and they can use less of it.
    I prefer 6-18 months of seasoning.
    Any more than that and I feel the wood becomes too dry and begins to lose some of it's flavor.

    There are probably about as many opinions on this as there are smokers out there.
  3. smokeguy

    smokeguy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    6 months to a year is usually a good guess as to drying time in different environments and for different woods and thicknesses of wood.
    You can sort of tell by looking at the ends and seeing if they are starting to develop little crack lines in them. Also, you can sort of whack the bark and see if it's still green where it meats the wood part.
    And, you can try splitting them. If the axe goes thud and you have to cuss to get it back out of the crack, it's not ready yet! If it goes through, or at least gives a nice splintering sound, it's ready.
    It should last a long long long time in your garage. As long as it doesn't rot or get loaded up with bugs it's good to use IMO.
  4. vtanker

    vtanker Meat Mopper

    Your wood should season for one year, If it is split. If you cut the split pieces into chunks it might only take six months! If your smoke with the bark on it or with green wood it will give you that bitter tongue numbing taste. When your wood gets dark, soft or gets bugs dont use it! I will put a link in here for you. Look at the bottom of page 3 and page 12.

    I hope this helps you!
  5. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with vtanker on the one year of seasoning.
    Green wood is considered that until it has seasoned for one full year. Have never used "green" myself but have heard it produces a stronger yet more "bitterish" type of taste. Not so much bitter but more...zingy? Also burning it that young causes more build-up and so more of a job cleaning your smoker.
    Though I have never used green wood I have used wood that was 2 years old and known people to use wood just over 3 years and claimed it was perfectly fine.

    So basically, yes you can use the wood that soon with basically no worries or issues, I would only suggest mixing with another seasoned wood or just go light on it, just to make sure that some "bitter" young wood flavor isn't present.
    Though, for all I know, having never used green wood I can't say 100% for sure the taste is really that different.

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