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Smoking with Eucalyptus

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by offler, May 19, 2010.

  1. offler

    offler Newbie

    Hey guys I am a bit new to smoking and trying out differenf woods. A few years ago I lived in Australia and had a few Hangys there (food cooked under ground) and obviously used eucalyptus to heat the stones. This gave the food wonderfully smoky flavour which everyone liked.
    When I bought a smoker I thought I's have a go at it in there and bot hold of a lot of Eucalyptus logs to try and the effect was great- we all loved it and so did the neighbours we gave some to.
    Now I did a quick search on the net and everyone says eucalyptus is unsuitable for smoking although most do not think it is actually poisonous. Does anyone know anything more about it?
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I imagine it would clear up your sinuses pretty well. Just not my idea of that nice smokey flavor I'm used to

  3. flagriller

    flagriller Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I wouldn't. Some woods when burned give off toxic fumes like oleanders here in Fl. Everyone I've ever talked with say it's not a good wood to use neither is Elm, SASSAFRAS, SYCAMORE and LIQUID AMBER. Hardwood is usually the most suitable, but do as you wish, just be careful. Also remember, you always can't do "what the locals do" because they've been doing it for generations and have adapted.
  4. harryho

    harryho Smoke Blower

    Don't do it.

    Eucalyptus is not suitable for smoking or grilling even though it is an excellent wood to use in the fireplace.
  5. offler

    offler Newbie

    Well that's the tricky bit. If you actually google smoking eucalyptus than you get a whole load of threads telling how good eucalyptus cigarettes are for asthma and upper resp infections.
    I do tend to like fairly sharp smoky flavours- e.g. Talisker and Bowmore are my favourite whiskys.
    Does anyone actually have any data as to how poisonous eucalyptus smoke realy is, if at all (I mean comparing toothers). I am not sure that just talking about the eucalyptus oils is of much benefit as most of that would burn.
  6. harryho

    harryho Smoke Blower

    I have tried to look for scientific backing as to why eucalyptus is not recommended for smoking/grilling. Most of what is posted mention that eucalyptus is a sappy wood that will emit smoke that may be toxic.

    Then you find something like this..........


    I'd personally stay away from it as I have other alternatives.....but if you would like, you can be one of the first ones to debunk the "Smoking Meat" gurus that say, don't use it.......
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well from start to finish it is a collective NO for the eucalyptus wood smoke
  8. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    I have bug repellent with oil from them trees if that is any use at all. [​IMG]
  9. offler

    offler Newbie

    Well for what it's worth I have smoked several bits of pork using the Eucalyptus in the last few weeks and everybody loves it. Not to mention that I and my family are still alive and feeling pretty good. As I had said before I had made stuff with that smoke- last ime for 40 people in New Zealnad (a hangy) and they all thought it tasted great too- even the teacher who is a Maori asked for the recipe.
    Bottom line is I am not so sure it is toxic, I have found no one else who tried it (except for the people in Australia who use it all the time and do not seem to have any ill effects, I am not talking Aborigines)- there just seems to be this impression that you should not.
  10. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Personally I'm not knocking you, if you want to use it be my guest.[​IMG] I myself have a large stash of hickory, mesquite, cherry, maple, apple and oak I just aquired. I have never seen them oils in bug repellent.
  11. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Offler, I didn't see if you said the wood was dry or green, I've read on an Aussie site that it is quite the thing right now, but they are using is as charcoal. Back in the early '80s we burned a lot of Eucalyptus in our fireplaces and there weren't any health warning about using it.

    I've used mango wood, it is also used to make our local lump, after it is dry to smoke with and the Aussies tell me it's toxic, so who is to say who is right? I personally think that if the wood is dry there isn't much sap left in it. I often wonder about the wood that has come from orchards, has the trunk been sprayed with pesticides, is it still in the bark?

    I think like you, I look for hard facts, one of the reasons I was given not to use mango is because it has white sap, but then so does fig and it is an approved smoking wood, who is to say, ...go with your conscience.

  12. offler

    offler Newbie

    Thanksfor all your comments.
    The reason I used Eucalyptus was mainly the fact that I liked the flavour and secondly that I can get hold of it for free from a nearby forrest. It is all dry twigs lying on the ground- no sap in them at all. I just shred them in a shredder and it seems to work damn well. I have some oak and manooka as well- manooka is great for fish but fairly mild stuff but they all cost quite a bit so unless you are doing alarge volume at a time it's a bit expensive.
  13. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    It appears that this list may be in need of an update-


    This list is found on a multitude of BBQ sites but does anyone know who created it?

    I remember seeing an episode of "Bizarre Foods" where Andrew Zimmern at meat cooked with eucalyptus( he was in Australia and the cooking was done by Aborigines) and he thought everything quite tasty.

    I really do think that this list does need revision/revamping perhaps to reflect which woods can be used for cooking as well as how they should be used to cook meat-ie. grilling or smoking, can you use too much, green wood cautions and so on. As it stands now I don't think that this list on it's own is as informative or helpful as it could and, I believe, should be.

  14. mrstinky123

    mrstinky123 Newbie

    I have used Eucalyptus twigs (this is all I had at that time) on a BBQ. As the twigs were about a half inch round, the flames had to be put out with water to stop them from burning my fish (Perch)  this created a lot of steam and kept the flames down. The end result was a total surprise with the fish being moist and having a nice light smoky flavour. One of the best BBQ fish I have ever had. I did not prepare the fish before hand and just wacked it on the grill. I am not sure about trying the Eucalptus wood in a smoker but I would give it a go. The wood it self burns at a very high heat and is practically smokeless so it may not be the best for a smoker. I dont think there is any euclaptus residue in the wood because it is in the leaves of tree.
  15. mrstinky123

    mrstinky123 Newbie

    Eucalpytus is a hardwood infact it makes the best wood for cooking outdoor BBQs. The wood makes the best coals and lasts for hours and is practically smokeless.

    There are two species of Eucalyptus that are so hard (i.e Iron Bark and Turpentine) you need  an auxilliary fuel like coal to keep it burning.

    Eucalytus has been used for cooking in Australia since its beginning and there are no reports of anyone ever becoming sick from using it.

    Eucalyptus oils are in the leaves only and there is no toxic fumes associated with the wood when burned other than a little smoke.

    If you are kucky enough to have a Eucalyptus tree in your neighbourhood and you can get some dry branches then try burning them in an open BBQ, you wont be dissapointed.

    Eucalyptus has to be dry before you burn it, there is no sap produced when burned however there may water expelled at either end if the wood has been soaked with water and will burn a little slower. 
    realoldnick likes this.
  16. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Eucalyptus is about as nice a wood as you can find for a fireplace.

    It might be OK for grilling, but I have never tried it?

    Having said that, I have not seen places that recommend it for smoking?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  17. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I can`t even stand to smell of it must less smoke my meat with it...I would not.
  18. sjthomas

    sjthomas Newbie

    Hi I have a Lithuanian friend who likes to smoke food and swears by using the leaves of Eucalyptus bloodwood. It is great with trout and is definitely not toxic. The leaves can be dry and you won't need too many.
  19. mongo9421

    mongo9421 Newbie

    It seems as if you have never tried it. Eucalyptus is only toxic as an oil, and then only if the oil is ingested or applied directly to the skin. I have been living in Ecuador for a long time, and tall eucalyptus is used almost exclusively for charcoal and fireplaces. There is aromatic eucalyptus (short trees ) or grandes  (tall trees ). I smoke quite a few pigs here and the flavor obtained using tall eucalyptus is close to that of mesquite, it is a little more of a smokey flavor, not as picante ( spicy ), and when you put the smoked pork in a bean dish, the flavor is excellent. Never heard of anyone here in Ecuador dying from Eucalyptus smoke EVER
  20. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    In my cupboard sits a bag of eucalyptus leaves which i use in a true vaporizer machine when i get a chest cold.   The leaves heat up to to just below the point of combustion releasing the oils into a vapor.   

    No one could convince me that you couldn't smoke  food with the wood. 
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013