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Prepping wood for smoking


Joined Oct 31, 2013
Good morning, I'm new to this forum and new to smoking, so I'll probably be using these forums a lot in the next few months.

My first question is regarding wood for smoking. I just bought a weber smokey mountain (18.5") and I'm excited to get started. As far as wood is concerned, for the first few batches i bought a bag of smoker chips to get started with, but in the future, I'd prefer to just use my own wood. I live next to an old apple orchard that's no longer used for anything, but there are still a few apple trees out there. It's been out of commission for 30+ years so most of them are gone and the orchard is forest now, but I digress.

I've read that apple wood is one of the best for smoking pork, so I'd like to take advantage of some of these old trees out back. If I were to cut up a few branches, what do I need to do to ready them for smoking? Can I just chop it up into chunks and use it whenever, or do I need to let it dry out over a few months first? Thanks in advance!

dan - firecraft

Smoke Blower
Joined Sep 18, 2013
First welcome to the forum and you are right....apple is great on pork.  I would let the wood sit for a couple of  months. That is going to give you the best results and will assure that the wood will burn clean.


Meat Mopper
Joined Oct 26, 2013
@ tips I can give ya that I learned the hard way.  First ya gotta completely dry the wood ya cut for smoking.  If it green the sap will boil and have a burnt oil taste.  Also ya gotta strip the bark off of the wood before using.  Bark can be unplesent smoke too.  I learned these lessons cutting and using pecan wood for smoking and bbq.  No apple trees here in the deep south but I am sure its true for them too.  Citrus is very bad green cause of all the oil in the wood.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Feb 28, 2010
I agree that apple wood is excellent to smoke with, but disagree that it has to be well seasoned or even seasoned at all before using it in your WSM.

I have used fresh cut apple in my Weber kettle and I prefer the smoke it gives off better than well seasoned apple. The moisture in the wood prevents it from burning too quickly and gives a very nice and fragrant TBS.

If I were in your situation I would cut only a branch or two at a time, or perhaps only what I needed for one cook at a time. YMMV.


Thread starter
Joined Oct 31, 2013
Interesting. Well I'm fortunate in that I have the luxury to experiment! i'll try it both ways.


Smoke Blower
Joined Jan 10, 2014
This thread is exactly what I was looking for :)

I'm from the UK, just getting into food smoking, and also have access to an apple wood orchard.

My questions have also been answered mostly.....

My plan is to take some of the apple wood, strip the bark, and create a small bag of small pieces(chips/big shavings etc), together with some sawdust.

I am assuming this will dry the wood quicker, allowing me to use it sooner?

Also, I have a friend who is a tree surgeon, and has access to oak in his work.

As long as the oak is kept separate from any other timber, is there any reason why the oak cannot be machine shredded, or should this also be prepared by removing bark so that only the actual wood is used?

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