Obtaining wood

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don dollars

Original poster
Feb 16, 2006
I am extremely excited about the bbq season now that the weather is tolerable in Wisconsin. I have been reading the forum and a number of books for tips, recipes, etc....

I have a dilemma however:

I have a smoker with a sidebox, but do not understand the best way to obtain wood to use in the smoker. It seems that if you order wood online, that the shipping charges make it way too expensive. I have access to plenty of cherry wood (and should have access to apple), but I was wondering where I get the other woods? I know that maple and oak are plentiful around this area. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I would go about getting wood at a reasonable price to bbq with?

Thank you!
Don Dollars
The best way is to try and get it for free. If you know of anyone who has oak or maple trees let them know you would be interested in taking pruning triming, fallen branches, etc. off their hands. Local orcherds will somtimes have pruned branches that they will give you for free. In our town there is a local drop spot for all tree trimings that we go to once in awhile and pick up what others have thrown away. Of course you have to be good at identifying what your picking up if you do that. We've found that others are always glad to find someone who wants their downed trees, trimings, etc. So just make it known that you want wood and I'm sure you'll have more than you know what to do with soon.
Hello Don!
Good to hear from you. I don't know of your smoking skill level, but if you thin you might benefit from it, don't forget to look in on Tulsa Jeff's e course. It's really good and I highly recommend it. Further, if you haven't already, don't hesitate to go to the sign in block and introduce yourself.

And per your request, for wood, try www.barbcue-store.com. The location I have used and highly recommend is WWW. gassmoker.com/orderform.html#Alabama or call them on 1-800-865-5353. They provide free shipping on orders of 15# or more. I think they have a good arrangement. They are prompt and reasonable. My last purchase, I was able to get pecan, maple, peach, and pear. They have others. Good luck!
Don, since you have acess to cherry (a GREAT flavoring wood) and apple (a very good flavoring wood) all you really need is some good btu producing wood like oak, hickory or pecan.

Call the local tree trimming services in your area. Make friends with someone at one of these companies. You may have to go pick the stuff up or invest in a chainsaw to make it the sizes you want, but wood from these folks will be very cheap to free. Its stuff they're going to have to pay their help to grind up and haul away anyhow.

I know a lot of BBQ fans who get all their wood for the price of a couple racks of ribs each time a load of logs "finds" their driveway.

Count yourself lucky to have a supply of cherry. It's my favorite wood to cook with and is good on everything. If you can find some hickory or pecan to go with it, you'll have a real winner!!
When it says to use "Oak"....is there a certain type of oak that is supposed to be used? I have seen some websites specify it as "white oak". Does this matter? Can you use red oak or another kind?
Most folks I know that use oak just use the variety that is most plentiful in their area. The eaiser it is to get the better!
Welcome Don. To my knowledge all varieties of Oak are good for smoking with (except Poison Oak :lol: ). Around here many folks use Post Oak, Live Oak, and Red Oak because they are native to my area and readily available.
The great variety of oaks fall into one of two major catagories red and white. Both are fine burning woods. I personally don't like either on my food but that's just me, tons of people cook with oak alone with great results.
When standing, red and white oaks are easy to tell apart by their leaves. Red oaks have a deeply cleft, curvy edged leaf that is not unlike a maple leaf in general shape, although usually longer and more slender. White oaks have a leaf shaped like a 3 fingered mitten. The wood of white oak is light colored, white to pale green with light brown specks. Red oak wood is pinkish colored with white sapwood (outer layers) with the same brown specks.
Thank you to all for your wonderful advice. I contacted some local orchards and ended getting some Apple and Cherry wood for cheap. I also started spreading the word around that I wanted some Oak, Maple, and Birch and now I have a ton of connections for obtaining them. Thank you.

At some point I would like to try to find someone that would be interested in trading some Pecan, Alder, or Peach for some Apple or Cherry. There is no Pecan, Alder, or Peach around here....but I have access to the others.
I'm a lucky one.. I get the wood for free.. I am a carpenter and at times install hardwood flooring <unfinished> I keep the cut off ends, I usually get white and red oak and some maple... I save the pieces usually about 6" to 8" long and split them.. I have to purchase apple or other exotic woods for smoking..
This thread is a little old, but I just look for the fire wood for sale signs. Usually you will find someone who has a pretty good selection of wood laying around. I do pay for mine, but $20.00 will give me about 6 cooks with the Lang, and it usually includes apple, pecan/hickory (very closely related species), and oak. There must be a lot of people burning wood in your neck of the woods, so just keep your ears and eyes open.
I see that you can get wood on ebay also. I have found some local types to use here and have ordered the rest of ebay. There are some good bargains on there for wood chips and such...and they were very good.

Thank you for all the advice everyone!
I ususally get my wood chunks from Cabelas...not bad price..and arives within the week you order...all good stuff..never any problem with it...
I'm taking Florida Bill's recommendation and have ordered from WWW. gassmoker.com/orderform.html#Alabama . I'll post back when I get the shipment. I hope it's good stuff. My Home Depot didn't have any Hickory when I went today! :-(

What do you guys do when you can't find lump charcoal at Home Depot? I like the char-broil in the box.
Just a thought, Jaynik.....have you checked out the Yellow Pages for nearby tree services? In your neck of the woods I do believe that landscaping a tree services are big business. You may have to do some of your own processing but I certainly will bet that you can beat the retailers by a big bunch. Just a thought!
Thanks Monty and good idea. Interestingly enough, one called me last week about some utility work they're doing for the power company. I've called them, but haven't heard back yet.
Super! Hope it works out for you! If you need advice on how to handle your wood just give me a holler!
Got my shipment in today. Very quick service. I wil try the hickory tomorrow when I smoke some pork shoulder. I got Pear and Pecan also, and both are nice size chunks. I'll see how they burn in the coming weeks.
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