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Trying a new wood: American hophornbeam (aka ironwood)

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by cedar eater, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. One of the many species known by the common name of ironwood is Ostrya virginiana, also known as American hophornbeam. I just cut one down that seemed to be dying but not dead yet. Sap came up out of the stump immediately and also dripped out of the cut. It appears the tree was seriously pecked by small woodpeckers or sapsuckers. I've heard this wood burns very hot and has plenty of btus. I smelled a piece and it smelled sweet to me and I know they are one of the birch species that can be tapped for syrup, so I thought it would be interesting to smoke some meats with it. Has anyone smoked with it and what kinds of meats would you recommend?
  2. Did the sparks fly? Dulled many saw chains, but never saved any for smoking.
    i would not be afraid to use any native hardwoods outside of the cottonwood family.
  3. It seemed about as hard as oak or elm, but it was pretty wet when I cut it. When it dries, judging by the weight, it will be harder on the chain. It smells much better than elm, birch, and aspen, but I like a good strong smoke (oak or hickory) for pork and a milder smoke (maple, apple, peach) for chicken. I'm guessing it will be on the mild side, but I haven't burned any yet.
  4. motolife313

    motolife313 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Cut some thin 2” thick cookies and they will dry fast since wood drys out the ends and u can test in couple months if no water gets on them and they in the wind and sun
    Fueling Around likes this.
  5. I agree with the cookie cuts to expedite the usage.

    Also a bit of a zealot and don't use the chainsaws directly on my smoking wood. Buck saw or sawzall plus I save the sawdust.

    Love your using old ranges as smokers.
    I'm in process of making a smoker out of a very old Westinghouse refrigerator. It will be stick, pellet and electric combined. City spring cleanup at the end of the month should net me a few ranges
  6. motolife313

    motolife313 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There ain’t nothing wrong with a chainsaw saw going into cooking wood and your wasting your energy if u think the gas saw is bad for the wood over a hand saw. Or are u part of a Amish group??

    My customers are always very happy with the wood cut with a chainsaw. And they pay a pretty penny. 25$ per wheel barrow, oak and walnut are 30$. This guy got cherry, walnut, apple and oak, pretty good deal then lol and delivery ain’t free and I only deliver 6A108595-7C68-47ED-9AE8-EEFD14B084C8.jpeg CE8B29EE-C29E-4981-B14C-C7DFDED996F6.jpeg
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    JWFokker and Jonok like this.
  7. I will make some chips and bake them at 200F for a while in my smoker to dry them for testing. That will let me know how much to set aside for smoking and cure the slow way.
  8. You can use veggie oil for bar oil in a chainsaw. I normally don't bother because the amount of bar oil is so tiny. But since I use chips, I can criss-cross the end of a stick with a circular saw and then crosscut the end off with a sawzall. It works pretty good to make whatever size chips I want. 1/4" X 1" X 2" works well.

    I also made a smoker out of an old Gibson refrigerator. I can smoke 10-12 racks of ribs or 15-18 chicken halves at a time. I put two electric stove burners in the bottom, one for heating and the other for the chip pan. I posted it here in the homebuilt smokers forum. The ranges are all that I need for a dinner plus leftovers for my wife and I, but the Gibson smokes enough meat for a 20-36 person family reunion.
  9. Cedar, I love your idea of using veggie oil. Environmentally green and it can't add a petroleum trace onto your wood. :emoji_laughing: By buying bulk, it's about the same price as the brand name bar oils or cheaper. Several years ago, I had access to 50 gallon barrels of used cooking oil at a restaurant. It never occurred to me to collect some.
  10. Thanks for the reply. I think I saw it in my search of the sub forum.

    Scored a range tonight. Former owner is also a controller programmer.
    I will be helping him with the pellet grill his wife rescued from the curb last fall.
  11. Some loggers have been using veggie oil for more than a few years. Some logging jobs even require it for environmental purity reasons. One thing I've learned about it though is that you have to clean it out of the saw if the saw is going to sit for more than a couple of weeks. It degrades and gums up if you don't. You also may have to fill the oil tank every half a fuel tank, so it's something that you have to keep on top of. The good news is it smells like you're cooking popcorn with your 2-cycle saw. I wouldn't put used fryer oil in a saw. It might have a high salt content.
  12. Congrats on the range. I've been thinking about putting a PID controller on my Gibson. It's just one of those projects that always seems to get backburnered.
  13. I'm going to work with my friend and see how adaptive he can be with programming true PID temperature control.
    The first project may be the pellet grill his wife scored off the curb last fall. I assume the controller is shot.

    Our town has an open "place on the curb for free" pickup twice a year. Some consider it the 2 best yard sales of the year
  14. After drying a large supply of chips, I smoked brats with the ironwood (hophornbeam) today. I deliberately used more chips than normal to attempt to overwhelm the meat with smoke and it really didn't. I found the taste to be quite pleasant, but bordering on too mild for pork. I think it will be more appropriate for chicken, turkey, and maybe duck. The flavor of the smoke is similar to maple with maybe a hint of alder, so maybe it would also be good for fish or shrimp. I plan to use it for chicken next.
  15. motolife313

    motolife313 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow you got some strong taste buds!
  16. It's just practice. Maple has been my goto for chicken because I like to cook with wood that I harvest from my land. It's the best of my local woods for mild flavored meats. Alder is the best for fish and shrimp. But tonight I did ironwood hot-and-fast smoked chicken thighs. I caught the ironwood on fire twice, but the chicken was great. It got a good half hour of smoke time. Lesson learned, I'll have to use a tighter smoke pan with ironwood when cooking with high heat.
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  17. Angalfaria

    Angalfaria Newbie

    I agree with you.