Wood bark

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by billet74, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. I'm pretty new to this smokin thing and have a question about wood.  I have an offset smoker and up until now have pretty much used charcoal exclusively.  I recently ran into a fellow with a saw mill that said I could have all of the oak and hickory slab wood I wanted.  I picked up a pickup load, cut it up and piled it.  Here's my question.  quite a bit of it has some amount of bark on it.  Will that have any negative affect  on the taste of the meat?  Do I need to knock ALL of the bark off the wood before I put it in the smoker?
  2. I don't worry about the bark much unless the tree has been dragged through whatever. Clean bark, Ok. I  Have never noticed any adverse taste bark or no bark. CF
  3. Bark is good use it

  4. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've found that bark adds a bitter flavor. Hack off whatever you easily can. It won't ruin a smoke, but it might lend a sharpness to the flavor.
  5. That's one of the things you'll have to decide for yourself, you can see there are different thoughts on bark, I never knocked off any bark if it fell off I didn't worry about it. Been smoking for over 40 years. Tried lots of different types of wood.

  6. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I had a friend bring me a big box of oak bark one time years ago and I used it to smoke trout. It was fine for that. White smoke but flavorful. Of course I had a jury rigged ECB at the time and was doing my best with what I had to work with. Like gary I don't fuss about it. if it falls off fine if not fine.
  7. Thanks guys.  I appreciate the input. 
  8. If you go to a BBQ joint (Real BBQ) where they cook on a fire pit and pay attention to their wood pile it all has bark and they don't remove it

  9. The Bark layer on any wood is where most of the flavor of the smoke comes from.  If you every try using clean hardwoods, you won't get that strong of a flavor!

    I have both a stick burner and a pellet smoker and love them both.  When I first got my pellet smoker, I noticed that I got great smoke rings, but not as much smoke flavor as my stick burner (I never took the bark off my wood).  After doing some research, I learned that many pellets are made with left over wood scraps which have no bark.  The pellets made with a good percentage of bark give much better and stronger flavors.

    As with any wood - it has to be well dried to give good smoke.  I noticed some folks mentioning too much white thick smoke from bark - I have only had that kind of problem with improperly cured bark.

    So, by all means use the bark - make sure it is well dried and cured - you will get more flavor that way.
    billet74 likes this.
  10. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    My approach to bark on the wood is just a personal opinion with no science to back me up but I tend to look at the bark to wood ratio.  For example, small diameter twigs have a greater bark to wood ratio than bigger limbs.  When I prune my fruit trees, I keep the 1 1/2" and larger stuff for the smoker and throw the smaller stuff in the compost pile. 

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