Bark on or off??

Discussion in 'The Smokehouse' started by FatBoy85, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. FatBoy85

    FatBoy85

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    Something has been nagging at me about bark on the wood or off when smoking. I have done both but unbeknownst to me, the wood apparently makes the food bitter tasting. Unless I’m not tasting it or whatnot, it hasn’t made much effect or I have placed wood in the smoker/grill and it burned off before I got the wood in or I placed it bark side up.

    This is about as much thought I put on this in awhile, but most of the time I used small “finger” pieces on top of burning charcoal and smoked my meals lightly. It adds flavors for sure but wondered who gets the bitter flavors and is it more wood specific?
     
  2. BHags

    BHags

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    I have read, and it makes sense, that the bark absorbs all the outside impurities, dust, pollen, acid rain, whatever...The actual wood is protected from these elements. I trim off big pieces of bark.
     
  3. FatBoy85

    FatBoy85

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    For some reason the bark isn’t crazy thick here. Just hard to remove on some fruit trees. Apple and plum for instance. I might have to work on cutting and splitting bark-less pieces. Trimming them as the bark doesn’t seem to fall apart like some others, even when dry. Cherry isn’t too bad, does tend to peel off much easier.
     
  4. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton

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    I agree I like a light smoke whatever I'm smoking. You really don't need much.
     
  5. MikeInMa

    MikeInMa

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    No bark when smoking here.
     
  6. fuelrod

    fuelrod

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    I could see where a bunch of bark might add something you don't really want. Never really thought too much about it as I rely mostly on real wood charcoal, (some call it cowboy charcoal) for the heat and add some small split, like 1 inch sq x 6-8" "real" unburned wood for the smoke part. I've heard some talk about a clean smoke, especially for a long all day smoke. I take that as meaning wood that has mostly gassed off and is in more of a charcoal state. Now we grill with wood, and pretty much what ever's handy. In 10 minutes it's hard to get too much smoke.
    It seems smoking meat is a "continuing education" type of thing with a jazillion variables, all I know for certain is that I've never thrown anything away that came out of the smoker or off a wood fire:thumbs:.
     
  7. bert the turtle

    bert the turtle

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    I gave my girlfriend some hickory bark which she used to smoke some fried rice. Best tasting fried rice I ever had.
     
  8. buzz-saw

    buzz-saw

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    No bark for me. with the exception maybe some on some of the smaller pieces of apple I use , the bark on these pieces is very thin though.
    If you look at ant chunks or chips you can buy in stores i don't recall seeing any bark on that stuff.
     
  9. TurboDiesel

    TurboDiesel

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    Its really easy to get things too smoky. Or bitter. You definitely don't want any green oak smoke! I made chicken taste like creosote over wet white oak one time.

    A little bit of blue smoke out the top is plenty for smoking meat
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2020
  10. JWinIndiana

    JWinIndiana

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    Wood harvested in the winter will hold its bark better. Apple trees, probably cut in the winter (the off time).
     
  11. MikeInMa

    MikeInMa

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    I also use wood chunks on top of charcoal when smoking.

    No bark. Just wood.
     
  12. The Wood Wolverine

    The Wood Wolverine

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    Usually always wood chunks on top of charcoal as well. Hardly ever any bark on the wood I use, but it has happened with little limb wood cookies of apple. I've never noticed a bitter essence from it. Apple bark is pretty thin too.
     
  13. FatBoy85

    FatBoy85

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    This is why I tend to put the wood in at first now if it does have a thicker scale and let it burn more bark side down before I put wood on. Apple trees that are more young are best. This is why I’m hoping whenever I have grill-friendly wood, cut it so I’m cooking the core not the bark. I think I’m either going to try cutting more on my chop saw so I can get a more refined version of getting the bark off and saving pieces just for grilling.
     
  14. The Wood Wolverine

    The Wood Wolverine

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    Absolutely agree. When I split apple, I keep a plastic 55gal drum close and sometimes the heartwood center breaks free. That plus all the prime smoking pieces go in the drum and it gets loosely covered for future use.
     
  15. Matt Fine

    Matt Fine

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    It depends on the smoker. Charcoal smokers with wood on top run fuel rich and smolder, so no bark and careful with the wood ratio. A stick burning offset runs lean with excess airflow and a cleaner burn. It that case it is usually bark on, especially with hickory and apple.
     
  16. FatBoy85

    FatBoy85

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    I’ll work on that, thanks! Definitely have one of those for storage. Do you use a lot of apple in a bbq at one time or just a block or two?
     
  17. The Wood Wolverine

    The Wood Wolverine

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    When I have tons of it, I use it 100% for smoking and cooking. So it depends on supply, right now I'm out.
     
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  18. FatBoy85

    FatBoy85

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    Hope you get the resupply soon!
     
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