In loving memory of Kenis D. Keathley 6/4/81 - 3/27/22 Loving father, husband, brother, friend and firewood hoarder Rest in peace, Dexterday

A discussion on smoker woods

Discussion in 'The Smokehouse' started by Sandhillbilly, Nov 23, 2022.

  1. Sandhillbilly

    Sandhillbilly

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    There might already be a in depth discussion about smoker woods but I haven’t seen it, so bear with me if some of this has been gone over at length before.
    Mulberry…. Great for smoking with, correct?this summer I bid a cleanup job that I thought was a rotted off and fell over standing dead elm. After the first cut with yellow chips, I thought mulberry and the membership confirmed it in a different thread. Supposedly excellent firewood and also good for smoking. Is it best for fish, fowl, red meat ( beef, deer, elk ), pork, or all of those? I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a small chipper and chipping and bagging it for sale. ( not sure if there’s much of a market for such things around here, but you never know if you don’t try). so over the weekend I split down a bunch of it to around 3 inches so hopefully it will go through a small chipper. (Could be I just processed a bunch of really high B.T.U. kindling.)

    Apricot…. Probably five years ago I took down two trees in my backyard that were in the way, didn’t know what they were but I thought they were some kind of fruit tree, but had never seen any blossoms or fruit. After I got it on the ground, I found maybe a half a dozen little tiny apricots on it, so I ended up saving the majority of it because I had heard it was good for smoking. Turns out that is correct and it has become my favorite for both flavor and smell, I use it on virtually everything I smoke. again I would like to maybe chip, bag, and sell some of it also. Last summer, a friend of mine was by for a visit and we got to looking at my stacks and talking about firewood. I pointed out the apricot and he said after a couple years when it gets really dry, it will be bitter. ( he is also one of those guys that likes to talk like he knows a lot about everything so I don’t know whether to believe him on that.)
    Chokecherry….. it seems like I have heard that it is a suitable wood for smoking, but I have never tried it. There’s lots of it around here in the wild. Most of it is rather small, it’s rare to see anything 3 inches in diameter so it should go through a chipper easily, but what about the bark? would that impart an off flavor? Does it need to be barkless?

    So I guess my main questions are can it be to dry or seasoned too long and turn bitter?

    I don’t have any hickory, cherry, or mesquite available in my area. And I’m not interested in trying to compete with anything That’s readily available commercially anyway.

    any insight or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long winded post.
     
  2. Chvymn99

    Chvymn99 Moderator

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    Mulberry, A longtime member thistle turned me on to it a longtime ago. He called it the "poor mans apple tree" I believe. Its a "light" smoke, I've used it from cheese, summer sausage, chicken, to steaks... But I usually have access to it. Not so much with other smoking wood. So usually all my mulberry goes into its own little pile for smoking, never was impressed with it in the woodstove.
     
  3. Screwloose

    Screwloose

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    Not sure i buy into the to dry bitter thing. I don't see bags of chips in the store holding much moisture. Also some people prefer chunks over chips which can be harder to find.
     
  4. The Wood Wolverine

    The Wood Wolverine

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    I do not buy in either to the too dry/bitterness thing. Bark can definitely cause it though.
    Mulberry is pretty good smoking wood, I tried it for the first time this past summer. It is excellent firewood. It snap, crackle and pops a lot.
    For beef, I like oak. All others I've used my staple woods, apple and cherry. Haven't used mulberry on enough meats to give an opinion but when I burn it in my basement, I get a very aromatic smell, almost like burning incense. Initial thoughts were no way I'd like that flavor in food but it didn't transition like that into the meat. It was mellow. I'd love to try it on cheese.
     
  5. Eckie

    Eckie

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    Someone on here said something about mulberry smelling/tasting like cotton candy.... At least I'm pretty sure I didn't dream that... :tears:
     
  6. Greenstick

    Greenstick

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    Choke cherry is supposedly a very bitter smoke. A friend of my brother smoked some beef with it and couldn't eat it. Tried giving it to his dogs and they wouldn't touch it. I have started using chunks of ash heartwood in the last year and have gotten good results with it. I have a small apple tree promised to me next spring and am working on an apricot score.
     
  7. Sandhillbilly

    Sandhillbilly

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    Grab every bit of that apricot, definitely my favorite. Very pleasing aroma
     
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  8. FarmerJ

    FarmerJ

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    It’s been my experience when smoking with wood chunks etc…

    I have a Weber grill going to get all my chunks to burn.


    Once they’ve stop producing the greatest amount of smoke, and more a haze, almost to a coal, the. They went into the smoker…

    as it’s been explained to me,…

    tannin is released in the initial burn. That tannin is why your smoke will impart a bitter flavor to your cooking.
    2E44792C-4254-4C55-A6DC-02E2874C80F5.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2022
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  9. Brad from York

    Brad from York

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    Oak and cherry are my staple woods, because that’s what is most plentiful in my area. I’ve used a lot of others but I feel oak is the best all around smoking wood. I also use a stick burner. I am making ribs today and this thread has me tempted to smoke them with only mulberry.
     
  10. Scotty Overkill

    Scotty Overkill Administrator

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    I've had great luck with any fruitewood (Apple, plum, pear, peach, etc), I use black cherry heartwood (don't use the white sapwood and/or bark, that's full of nasty resins), sassafras (again heartwood only, no bark or sapwood), hickory and even started using some pecan (thanks to T. Jeff Veal!), oaks and maples are great too.

    Some woods are certainly easier to smoke with than others (pecan and hickory can overpower the food), fruitwoods are gentle and forgiving, as is mulberry.....

    All depends on what you're making.

    I like a strong smoke with jerky, sausage, ham and bacon, personally. I like hickory (and sometimes lots of it) for that stuff.

    Ribs, steaks, wings, deviled eggs and cheese...I like fruitwoods for those....
     
  11. Scotty Overkill

    Scotty Overkill Administrator

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    That may have been me years ago when I was making friction fire dowels for my sons winter Klondike campout, I had the "wise idea" to put a mulberry dowel i had just turned in the lathe in the microwave, just for 30 seconds or so, to try and dry it out enough to use for a pump drill friction fire starter. It filled the house with smoke, smelled alot like cotton candy to me, wife wasn't so impressed though....lmao.....
     
  12. The Wood Wolverine

    The Wood Wolverine

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    Thinking more on your bitter question.

    Found some internet pics.. if you're doing it like this:
    [​IMG]

    Probably going to have unpleasant bitterness. You just want a moderate amount coming out of your smoker. More like this:
    [​IMG]

    As long as you are not over-smoking, I don't see how the extra dry wood would cause any unpleasant flavors. I've never removed sap wood and I don't get any bitterness. Just my experience though.
     
  13. JD Guy

    JD Guy

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    I’ve found that most any “fruit” wood we have in this area makes for good smoking wood. Apple,pear,etc. Also nut woods. Never tried cherry but have a couple to take down and might give it a try. Our standbys are Oak and Hickory though. X2 on the too much smoke. I use a stick burner as well and my experience is that after the first couple of hours the meat has absorbed enough smoke so after that it’s just keeping the appropriate and steady heat until ready to crutch.
     
  14. buzz-saw

    buzz-saw

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    And that first picture is a pellet smoker ; I thought this was a set it and let it go kind of cooker.
    Unlike the picture of the offset with a little smoke ( a little more than I like to see but anyway ).
    Go figure??
     
  15. FatBoy85

    FatBoy85

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    I don't find the credibility in the bitterness being too old. Maybe if it has lots of thick bark on it but I've had worse issues than wood making things bitter based on an over time thing. Maybe if your wood were to get rotten but likelihoods..
    Looooowww. I wanna get apricot to prune and eventually just harvest enough to add for smoking a touch.
     
  16. ReelFaster

    ReelFaster

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    Same, I mostly use Oak and Cherry in my stick burner. I have a bunch of Oak that use for the wood stove insert so it's great and it's very plentiful around these parts. I love cherry too, but find that I get better consistent heat with the oak which is not surprising as it's a hotter more consistent wood, plus it gives some really good coal beds for adding sticks to the Oki Joe vs. the cherry.

    I made the best pulled pork this weekend I ever made. My wife and I are still talking about it and my buddy and his wife keep texting me. Of course none it happened since I don't have any pics.....
     
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  17. FTG-05

    FTG-05

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  18. SKEETER McCLUSKEY

    SKEETER McCLUSKEY

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    That chart is simply some ones opinion, not fact.
     
  19. Chvymn99

    Chvymn99 Moderator

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    Specifically Mulberry… I haven’t had anything that it doesn’t go with… there’s several others in there… but it there $.02 worth…
     
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  20. The Wood Wolverine

    The Wood Wolverine

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    I personally would never smoke/cook with walnut.

    edit:
    Just did some searching and everyone says walnut is very bitter if used alone. It's a one small piece during the whole smoke kinda wood.

    "Black walnut trees produce a toxic chemical called juglone, a chemical so strong it can damage and even kill off vegetative growth around these trees and is blamed for issues in horses who are exposed to black walnut shavings. And juglone can have an unexpected and unpleasant consequence for humans who come into contact with it when hulling the walnuts or even when gardening nearby."
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2023
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