Seasoning wood

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by meatball, May 29, 2009.

  1. meatball

    meatball Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I recently took a trip to South Carolina, near Charleston, and had to try some of the BBQ, of course. Loved it. Anyway, was talking to some folks who own the joint we were eating at about their wood, which was obviously hickory, and as we got to talking told them I had never tried pecan. The owner of the place went out and sawed a bunch of branches off her pecan tree behind the restaurant and gave them to me for free!!

    Anyway, long story, short question: how long to wait before I use this wood? It seems relatively dry, but I really want it to be ready for smoking, so I was thinking 4-6 months??? Is there anything I should do to the wood besides just letting it sit there drying out? I've used "natural" hickory before, but I had known that the wood was ready for smoking. Thanks for any help.
  2. blacklab

    blacklab Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I bet your gonna enjoy the pecan it as a nice subtle flavor. As to seasoning the wood after 3 months give it a shot. Should be good to go or on it's way since were in the summer months.
  3. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    It really depends on the size of the wood, I let splits set for at least 6 months

    However branches will probably season faster, say 3 months like blacklab said.

    Look for cracks in the cut ends, that is usually a good sign it is seasoned.

    Good Luck, and Yes you will enjoy pecan
  4. meatball

    meatball Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks guys... Yeah, txbbqman, I should have mentioned that these are small branches and not splits, but you probably figured that out. Sounds like a good 3 months will be good and I'll be smoking it by the end of the summer - just in time for football season!!
  5. sumosmoke

    sumosmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That was a generous gesture by the owner of the bbq place. If you can get a full smoke out of what they gave you, throw a brisket on there and smoke away. Pecan is delicious on beef, IMO and is much milder than hickory.
  6. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Since I moved south and find apple hard to get I have been using Pecan almost exclusively with a bit of oak. It is similar all be it much milder than hichory.
  7. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Shoot, next time you are heading up to SC thru Georgia, just pick it up off the ground. That's what I do. Pecan trees abound in Georgia. I stop by several Churches and some Pecan groves on the way up to NC and they are more than happy to let you pick up branches off the ground. Pecan trees lose their branches very easily. It's very good with Poultry.
  8. meatball

    meatball Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks for the tip Flash, I never realized how abundant pecan was down here until recently. My sister recently moved from FL to SC and this was our first trip up there. I'll be sure to do that on future trips! Anyway, I've read the raves about this wood, so I can't wait to try it. [​IMG]
  9. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    Nothing magic about seasoning wood. Basically, it's evaporation of moisture. On a limb with green, growing leaves attached, the leaves will continue to suck moisture from the limb, speeding things up a lot.

    Otherwise, look at any piece of wood like a bundle of straws. Moisture moves up and down the bundle. Blocked up in short pieces, it doesn't have as far to go so will dry faster. Since you are burning it, vs using it for lumber, you could also stack in in the sun, toss it up on a hot tin roof (breeze and sun) leave it in a hot car trunk, etc. Kiln dried lumber is just a way to add heat to speed up the evaporation process. Any moving air will help.

    If this is just for smoke flavor, use it green. It won't do much but smoke. Most of the heat applied goes toward boiling off the water trapped in the wood. Not unlike submerging a bunch of chunks in a bucket of water for a week or so.

    Logs and wood cut for lumber is a different story entirely. The goal there is to slow things down, otherwise as the wood dries out, it shrinks and the wood will check (split). If you have ever seen a pile of logs with the ends painted, the purpose of the paint is to clog the ends to slow down evaporation.
  10. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    From what I've heard this is dependent on the size of the fire you're burning - which is, in turn, dependent on the size of your smoker. Apparently if the fire ain't burning hot enough this may generate creosote.
    Can anyone comment on this?

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