smoking with corn cobs

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I suggest staying away from the corn cobs stored in small sheds in back yards when searching for corn cobs to smoke with.
I noticed they referred to the center of the cob being ground and used for the smoking fuel, that reminded me that way back when I was in the PGI and was making the burst charge for fireworks shells either rice hulls or granulated corn cob was frequently coated with black powder to make the burst charge to propel the stars. The normal source for the granulated corn cob, available in large 50lb bags was from pet stores, it's used for dog bedding. I wonder if that cobb could also be used for smoking? It wasn't treated with anything as I recall
I know this post is wayyyy old... but I was watching an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown. He mentioned using them for smoking too... not mixing them with anything. Just straight on the fire like a chunk of hickory or something. Seems crazy but I'll try it and see what happens.
My granddad used them to smoke hams and bacon. He died before I was born, but my Dad has told me about it. The cobs can be used to make some tasty jelly as well. Thumbs Up
Years ago, before I started smoking myself, I used to order bacon and hams from this place:       They cob smoke, and at that point, I thought it was the best I'd ever tasted.

I have now bought some corn cob pellets from Todd to use with my AMZNPS, and will try them out with a ham soon.
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I grew up in my dad's store and he exclusively used crushed corn cobs to smoke with.  He would get them from the local grist mill in 100 lb. burlap sacks a truckload at a time; us boys would have to use wheelbarrows and unload them and take them down into the 'corn cob room' in the cellar where they would stay dry.   Then, we'd have to carry them up into the meatroom one bag at a time, slitting the burlap bag and dumping the bag into a huge cardboard barrel that curing compound came in, and scoop out from there into a pail, which we'd carry down into the pit where we'd feed the smokehouses with, opening up the bottom door on the smokehouse and pull out the cast iron square pan that rode on two angle iron rails over a long propane burner, throwing two coal scoop scoopfulls on the smoldering embers, lingering a bit before shoving the pan back in and closing the door so we could watch the corn worms jump out and writhe on the hot coals, lol!

But, progress helped destroy that.  Pretty soon, farmers no longer shelled their corn in the field, so there were no longer tons of plain corn cobs.  The only thing grist mills ground into the 70's and 80's was ensilage; corn and cob together.  That was unsuitable for smoking for a few reasons; the corn made the fire burn too hot and instead of smoldering, it would ignite and likewise create grease fires in the smokehouses; The mix of corn and cob, crushed, would cause spontaneous combustion if the bags were the least damp or the corn moisture was too high; the weight of the corn/cob mix tripled the cost of the bag (100 lbs of ground ensilage was a third the size of the 100 lb bags of straight cobs).  By that time, my dad had passed away and mom hit 70 and wanted to sell the store, and the end of corn cob smoked hams and bacons was drawn to a close in 1988.

Todd has supplies of the corn cob pellets.  He sent me some to test.  They are harder to start, but can be done, and they are like a softwood, will burn faster, a tray full for about 5-6 hours vs. 10-11.  But, they give that sweeter corn cob aroma that I so dearly enjoy from my childhood, waking up, my room in the winter filled with that delicious aroma, dad smoking hams and bacons continuously for Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

Some Tractor Supply places carry bags of the corn cob pellets for animal bedding too.  What i do now is lay a base of Pitmaster Blend pellets in my AMNPS, then top it with corn cob pellets so I get the longer-burning hardwood pellets mixed with the sweetness of the corn cob pellets:

Pitmaster Blend:


topped with corn cob pellets:


and lit up!

Yes, if you can find corn cob bedding and it is is unadulterated, you can smoke with it!   Either in an AMNPS, or just toss a handful into your smoking pan every ½ hour or so!
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Thanks for the tip, Pops! I'll be smoking some buckboard bacon and a boneless ham in about a week. I'll try it your way. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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