should I peel the bark??

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Jul 3, 2005
Cleveland TN
I am smoking a couple racks of ribs and a turkey this weekend and a friend gave me some apple wood 4-5 months ago I wanted to use for flavor. Should I remove the bark before using it? I have heard the bark can make the meat taste bitter - any truth to this?


In general, I choose to remove the bark. I, too, have heard the rumor about bitter taste but I don't know if there's any truth to it or not. My reasoning is that wood harvested from the wild is exposed to many different elements including insects and/or any neighboring animals that tend to "mark" their territory. Ocassionally, the later group may even include some of your more unabashed locals trying to make room for another beer! EEEWWWW!!! So I figure its best to just not take the chance and peel the bark.

That's my two cents!

Patrick, what kind of smoker do you have?

Apple, if well seasoned (dry) will peel nicely, but Apple bark is a very thin bark. Any bitterness is gone once you get full ignition (thats why I ask your smoker. I can give tips if I know the type)

Hickory, on the logs and not the sticks, can have a larger bark, and I peel and split as much as possible.

So do you have an offset firebox?

If so, preheating is the way to go. You get instant ignition of the wood, no white smoke, and no bitterness.
I just got a chargriller super pro with the side fire box. Just cooked on it for the first time last weekend. This is my first smoker with a side firebox. I had a cheapy brinkman square verticle before. I love it - It heats so well and maintains good temp. the only problem I had was there was a great variance in temp for the side closest to the fire and the far side. I'm thinking of flipping the charcoal pan upside down in the main chamber so it can act as a baffle. I saw this idea on a post here but cannot find it now - still looking. Any ideas you have would be great.
One thing you can do is (after what was said about removing bark above) is to preheat your wood.

Throw the chunks or splits you are going to use on top of the firebox.

I actually had some splits catch on fire on top of the box last weekend, and had to remove them. But once I need a new split or chunk, the preheated ones light almost instantly, bark and all.

No smoldering, no white smoke.

If it did smolder a bit, I open the firebox lid until everything is burning nicely again.

So remove the bark if its "removable" and preheat wood when possible.

A tuning plate in the Chargriller might also be an option for distributing heat. I'll look up some of my research when I was looking at one. I can't recall what the "mods" are for the Chargriller off hand is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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