How much wood do I use?

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Master of the Pit
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Apr 13, 2010
Takes as much wood as it takes, and not a stick more. Too many variables to narrow it down to an exact amount.
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May 25, 2023
Takes as much wood as it takes, and not a stick more. Too many variables to narrow it down to an exact amount.
I think what made it difficult this first run was that the wood chunks were all different sizes so it was a guessing game how much to use and how long it’d last. Hoping to find some more evenly sized wood for my next run so I can gauge that better.

Smokin Okie

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Jun 27, 2018
Oklahoma City
Well I appreciate those zombies because I just finished my first smoke, a trisket (brisket style tri tip) on my OJ Reverse Flow Highland and I had questions about wood that this thread helped me with! 😁

All I could find locally were wood chunks and though the tri tip came out nice the fire management was a pain in the ass. I need to find proper splits for my next practice run as I work my way up to an actual brisket!

I've been at this five years now and I still have trouble sourcing wood. Its a crap shoot until you can find a dependable steady supplier who will shoot straight with you on how long the wood has been seasoned.

One guy I bought wood from would not answer the question of when it was cut. He would say he did not know. So there ya are , huh ...

But then, my learning curve has been set back when we had a late fall ice storm in Oct 2020 that took down limbs all over the area. I was able to collect enough wood to last till now and I've still got a little dab left. Just my view, but I think that's the best way to get wood because I know all about it.

Buy a chainsaw and keep your eyes open for people cutting down trees or trimming limbs.

I just bought a rick of wood recently from Facebook Marketplace. Fella said the tree was cut down 8 months ago. I took my moisture meter with me and measured one split, on the inside, that was 25%. But the wood was heavy and smelled like it had been recently cut, like the week before. I bought it anyway, it was green but I'm not gonna use it for the next few months so I can season it. When I got it home, most of it was 45% and some was 35%.

Another issue is wood identification. I wanted 1/2 rick of hickory and 1/2 rick of pecan. I got 1/4 rick of hickory. The rest is a mix of pecan and oak. I think I sorted out most of the oak, but there's still some that I'm not sure which.

I also got some really nice splits that he said were pecan. But the bark does not look like pecan to me. But also, I know its not oak. Under the bark , oak has a very unique grain.

There's a thousand different varieties of pecan and each cultivar can have a different bark pattern. The leaves are the sure way to identify the tree. The bark and the grain of the wood takes an experienced eye.

And I'm told there's 10,000 different varieties of oak.

Fire management does become easier if your burning uniform splits, both in size and seasoning. The problem I had with the ice storm wood is it was irregular in shape and I had a lot of branches. I'd rather have splits from the trunk. The aroma from burning small limbs can be different from trunk splits.

That's just some of the things I've learned in 5 years.
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