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New member - Wisconsin - Seasoning, selling and using Apple wood questions.

Holland Dell

Joined Nov 11, 2020
Hello All,
I'm a new member from southern Wisconsin. Joined up for a few reasons. I'm thinking about trying my hand a smoking meats. I have a long history in the food service industry and operate a processing facility that specializes in bottling bbq sauce for start-up entrepreneurs. Some of my customers do their own smoking. In addition to my daily duties, I cut a lot of firewood for home use and most recently started cutting up apple and cherry trees. You can probably guess I have an interest in bringing this all together. Since I am new to smoking, my needs are to understand the process for apple wood in smokers be it a pit or enclosed system (I'm sure I don't have the terminology correct). Recently customers have inquired about my apple wood supply and of course are interested in buying some. I have no idea what I have gotten into here and could use a little help. Do I keep some for myself, sell it all or sell some? I don't know what it is worth nor how it should be processed for selling to others. I don't feel it is ready for the market just yet and it is still seasoning along side my firewood supply. Only because I have no idea what I am doing here. A little bit of help would be appreciated.
Holland Dell


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 25, 2018
If you plan to sell firewood that will leave your county it will need to be heat treated , the government is trying to stop the spread of bugs and they decided this is 1 way to help

JckDanls 07

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Sep 10, 2011
If you have unlimited supply of both woods and plan on keeping this an ongoing operation... I would check with county government for reasons Mike noted above...

If it's just going to be this one time batch of wood... Pending on how much you need to keep for yourself (unless you can get more) Could sell the rest... The more work you do to it (cut,split,deliver,stack) obviously the more you would charge ...

I pay $30 a wheelbarrow full for Hickory (split,cut to about 14" lengths)... Thinking Apple and Cherry would be a lil more since it's not as readily available ...


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Dec 1, 2019
It doesn't sound like you are going into the wood business, so you have the option to keep some for yourself and it should be easy to sell the rest. Barbecue wood dealers get $2 to $3 a pound for quality wood with 15% to 18% moisture and split into chunks. Selling larger splits is more economical and less work for you.

There are smokers that burn wood logs or a wood/charcoal combination, they are a little more expensive, and labor intensive and you have to deal with more ash, but they make a wonderful flavored barbecue. Next is a group of smokers that burn charcoal plus chunks of flavor wood. Third are pellet grill/smokers that are fueled by flavor pellets (not stove pellets) but need electricity. Last would be propane grills or smokers. Every price range is available.

If you are already a good cook, making good barbecue is not that difficult. First you need to master tenderness, then moistness, and lastly flavor. (Too many people try to jump too fast into the flavor department which hinders the quality of their barbecue and sometimes makes it taste like a chain restaurant). Putting grilled items like burgers, steaks and chops aside..... It's best to learn how to barbecue with naturally tender things like chicken, turkey, pork loin, loin back (baby back) ribs, or meatloaf. Later you can move to larger or harder to barbecue meats like Boston butt, pork spare ribs, beef ribs, chuck roasts, or brisket. You will also have the option to venture into cured and smoked meats like bacon, ham, Buckboard bacon, pastrami, salmon and the like.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Sep 16, 2007
What is your current business model? Wouldn’t seen realistic to use the same profit/loss margin you presently employ ? Keep some or sell it all seems to be a really simple answer. Do you plan on cooking and if so what happens if you sell it all? What’s your recourse ? Buy some ? Value is is determined by what one is willing to pay and that’s something you need to figure out for your area. But since you already operate a business and I assume it’s profitable you already know this.

Holland Dell

Joined Nov 11, 2020
Thanks folks. All good information here. Wisconsin allows firewood to be moved from county to county with no issues. My current customers are all within Wisconsin and will be transporting their own firewood from my location. I am finding apple wood prices range from $50-75.00 per 6 cubic feet. (14 inches) The higher is probably the course to travel as it appears apple is becoming more rare. More dollars for more convenient packaging (dried 3x3 chunks) and sold by the pound.
Every distributor I contacted, offered to buy my entire supply. As for a business model, I don't look for apple wood sales to be highly productive, but more so as an add-on for current customers only. Our business is Non-profit/job training/food processing facility. My plan is to donate the apple wood and offer my disabled adult workers another sit-down, training venue.

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 28, 2018
Welcome from Green Bay. :emoji_cat:

Wisconsin used to have county - county restrictions on fire wood transfer because of the emerald ash borer but like with CWD, WI government just punted and now the entire state is a quarantine zone. Meaning, that you can transport wood inside but not outside of the state.


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