Wood for smoking- Green or Seasoned

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Original poster
Aug 27, 2006
Falls of Rough, Kentucky
We should finish our brick charcoal smoker this weekend and be ready for our very first smoke.
As I read more and more about the wood to use in a charcoal smoker, I become more confused. So I know there is lots of valuable experience and expertise on this forum. What is the best smoke? Should you use green wood or seasoned? Should it be soaked? Should you leave bark on or take it off? Should you use chips, chunks or what size?
We have lots of hardwood here about 110 acres of hickory, maple, oak, sassafras, persimmon, grapevine, wild plum etc. We have tree tops that have been down about 7 months. So we wanted to harvest our own but did not know what is best and what we should start with. Could you please help us?
Green wood will give you lots of smoke but not the kind that tastes good on food. Green wood still contains the sap and smoke from green wood will cause soot and make your food acrid, bitter. The only wood I would recommend trying while still green is something very mild like apple. I have used unseasoned apple wood and had great results. My very first smoke a couple decades ago, I used unseasoned (green) mesquite :oops: and will never make that mistake again. :lol:

There is no need to soak, dry, seasoned wood if using logs or chunks. Most folks will soak wood chips because they can catch fire and burn up quickly if used dry.

Don't worry about removing the bark unless it is loose or has signs of mold. If I suspect mold or insects, I'll remove as much bark as comes off easily and inspect the wood be looking and smelling. If all is well it gets used.

Chunks will be best in your charcoal smoker. Most folks try to keep them about the size of your fist.

Hope this helps.
Hehe, heard ya the first time!

Agreed with everything above. I prefer to not burn any bark at all, but I don't get crazy about removing it. If I can't pull it off with my hands, I leave it on.
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