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smoking with poplar

charlesk

Fire Starter
35
10
Joined Feb 14, 2012
I have a friend who uses sawdust in his smoker. I have an almost endlesss supply of poplar sawdust. There is very little info about smoking with poplar anywhere. Some say ya should be ok others say don't do it.

Has anybody really smoked with it and can give an honest evaluation.

A lot of responses said never used Poplar but just the same don't use it

I am looking for somebody that has tried smoking with it.

Any help would be appreciated
 

ssorllih

Meat Mopper
195
18
Joined Dec 27, 2012
My only thought is that I don't like the smell of the smoke when I binds on a saw and scorches. Sometimes when ripping a plank it will pinch and smoke. Most of the other hardwoods I like but tulip poplar doesn't suit me. I just read your location and in the north there is a tree that is called poplar and sometime called pople. That is a different species than the liriodendron tulip poplar in the mid atlantic. This northern poplar is related to the aspen and is also known as cottonwood and is considered pleasing for meat smoking.
 

cliffcarter

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
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244
Joined Feb 28, 2010
Tulip poplar is in the same genus as magnolias, poplars or aspens are of the genus populus as is cottonwood. I believe people do use aspens as cooking wood in places where there are not many other options, Colorado for instance.
 

charlesk

Fire Starter
35
10
Joined Feb 14, 2012
some of the poplar has a bit of an odour when milling but most of it dosen't. Not knowing where the lumber comes from could be a problem. I suppose if the sawdust was mixed with a little of the hardwoods that might be OK.

I guess this is going to be a trial and error. I think the best thing to do is just try a few pans  of it and see if it has an odour, can't hurt. Dosen't look like it is to popular
When the test runs are over I'll repost
 

ssorllih

Meat Mopper
195
18
Joined Dec 27, 2012
The least costly way to check this out is to smoke a single chicken leg with one specie of wood.
 

charlesk

Fire Starter
35
10
Joined Feb 14, 2012
I was thinking of just letting the sawdust burn away and see what it smelled like, but just do short runs and several trys. If it was OK then I was going to add some cheap meat and chicken legs would be good cause they are cheap, good idea.
 

ssorllih

Meat Mopper
195
18
Joined Dec 27, 2012
The beauty of chicken is that it is very neutral in its taste. A simple cure with minimum herbs and spice will allow evaluation of the smoke.
 

expeditiondan

Newbie
1
10
Joined Sep 12, 2017
There is no short answer to this question, but I'm going to try.

It's not that Poplar is bad for smoking, it's just that it needs to be dried properly before using it. If you are going to just go out and chop down some dead tree or cut up a fallen one that is half rotting, (like any other wood) it is a waste of your time and will produce a terrible result. If however, you are willing to use a solid healthy tree and take the time to allow it to dry PROPERLY, it can produce a very similar result to some of the more desirable woods like apple or cherry that are out there. I've used it several times for pork and Brisket and have got rave reviews.

The best and most tactical way to use Poplar is to blend it with another hardwood. Again, I've done 1/3 apple and 2/3 white Poplar and had amazing results. I prefer to use White Poplar that has been "chunked" and added with apple for pork or Hickory for brisket. 

Hope that helps.

Dan
 

squiddley

Newbie
1
0
Joined Nov 14, 2007
We have a store around here called the Ukranian coop they make and sell a pile of sausage here.. always smells terrific when you walk in or drive by.. best sausage around just texted them last night asked them what wood they use for smoking... they told me white poplar
 

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