• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

True moisture content of wood?

debriscolomun

Newbie
1
0
Joined Dec 21, 2019
I just bought a fantastic offset smoker and am trying to learn on it. I have some wood I purchased from the county that was advertised as "seasoned." Well, joke's on me: It wasn't. Some pieces read as much as 60% MC. Holy guacamole.
I've been seasoning the wood for a number of months now and it seems like some of the smaller drier pieces are ready to go---my moisture meter puts them at around 16-22% or so. Yet these pieces, many of which look to be red oak, don't burn all that well. Lots of hissing, lots of nasty smoke, no clean fire. I've tried adjusting the firebox door, including leaving it wide open. The fire is still lethargic at best.
Is there a reliable way to tell a wood's MC apart from a moisture meter? Why would logs registering a fairly seasoned MC still be burning like crap?
I guess I'll get some kiln-dried wood from Lowe's while the rest of this stuff seasons, but that's only because I'm desperate.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mike243

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,362
353
Joined Feb 25, 2018
If you can stack some on the fire box as you are getting up to temp it might help a little, storing wood uncovered really don't help dry it out, airflow and keeping the rain/fog off of it is about the best you can do imo. I'm not a fan of kiln dried as I don't think the flavor is the same, close but not.
 

smokin peachey

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,012
987
Joined Aug 1, 2016
Another thing to remember is the harder the wood the tighter the grain so it will retain moisture a lot longer. It takes longer for oak to season than cherry.
 

flatbroke

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,439
781
Joined Sep 16, 2007
The moisture meter reads about 1/4 inch in to the wood. That part is drying faster then the center. Spit the piece in half and check there. That will tell you what it is. Any way a good way of telling Dry wood before you buy without a meter is grabbing two pieces and bang them together. If they thud. It’s green. If they give the sound that 2 wooden baseball bats make when hit together it is dry. Dry wood rings when banged together. Not bark to bark. Anyway where do you live. The wood can also suck moisture from the air.
 

bill ace 350

Smoking Fanatic
741
161
Joined Dec 28, 2013
look for splits in the ends, and bark separating easily from the wood. Share, cracking sound banging 2 pieces togetger.

the meters are cheap, the Harbor Freight one works good
 

flatbroke

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,439
781
Joined Sep 16, 2007
bill brought another good point. Bark tends to fall off of dry wood.
 

UGAsmokin

Newbie
22
6
Joined Nov 8, 2019
If you can stack some on the fire box as you are getting up to temp it might help a little, storing wood uncovered really don't help dry it out, airflow and keeping the rain/fog off of it is about the best you can do imo. I'm not a fan of kiln dried as I don't think the flavor is the same, close but not.
I'd be careful about how much weight you put on top of the firebox unless it's welded on.
 

jcam222

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,175
1,221
Joined Jun 13, 2017
Great thread. I’ve been meainging to askxthis for awhile. I bought 4 big feedbacks of wood chunks locally all advertised as seasoned. My cherry was obvious with the bark falling of easily and burned great. The peach, oak and apple are heavy with very tight bark. Tried the apple and pulled it since the smoke was not good. Hoping they will be ready to roll in the spring. I have them stored in feedbacks up off the ground in my garage.
 

DanMcG

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
5,040
704
Joined Feb 3, 2009
Load up the cook chamber and start a small fire in the firebox, it be like kiln drying your own wood. ;)
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.