Bark or not

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by burnt fingers, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. I have heard both ways regarding whether to burn wood with the bark on or off. Does it matter?
  2. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    I do not remove the bark unless it is loose or if it has any type of fungus, rot, etc. I will remove the bark or just not use that piece at all.

    I have performed tests using mesquite, pecan, oak and hickory with bark and without bark and I could not tell a difference in taste, tenderness or aesthetics.

    I decided that it is one thing that I would not worry about in my own cooking.
  3. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think the only logical reason I have heard for removing bark before smoking regards any possible pestisides used on the trees. The theory is, removing the bark would remove contamination. I question the logic, but if you have concerns it's easily removed; especially if it is well seasoned.
  4. I'd listen to TulsaJeff, he knows what he's talkin' about.
  5. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    I know that there are claims of less ash with bark removed. Both in smoking and burning firewood as a fuel. If thats something you are concerned about you may think about it...but other than that i dont see how it could have much effect either way.

    Im not even sure i buy the less ash argument either...just throwing that out there.
  6. countryboy19

    countryboy19 Smoke Blower

    I only remove bark if it has a lot of mold on it, and then its only the bark that does have a lot on it. Normally the north side of a tree trunk will have more mold, and I'll only remove the bark that's really covered with it. A little here and there won't hurt because realistically you'll never get it all, so you have to draw the line at some point.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm also with Jeff on this one. He should klnow what he's doing.
  8. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I've had some bad smells from wood with bark on it, and I'll sometimes pre-burn the bark a bit before setting them in the smoker.
    Given a choice, I'll take only bark-free heartwood.

    Whether you believe bark can be bad or not, the effect will be pretty short-lived depending on your smoker. With a stick-burner it will go real fast and with charcoal too, but in an electric and at lower temps, the effects will linger.

    The best answer is to test your wood - if you don't notice anything bad, then use it.
  9. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I only remove bark if there is nasties on it.
  10. Thanks for the info, the bark gets to be TBS.
  11. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    If the bark's in good shape, I leave it on. And when it is in good shape, it does not come off easily....

    If not in good shape, bark can easily be peeled off. And should be.
  12. I live in Canada and burn wood for my main heat source.  Bark definately generates more ash than solid wood.  But it is such a small amount that i wouldnt think it would matter.
  13. vince m

    vince m Newbie

    had a friend take down a Apple tree and cut some up for me now I hear the wood can make you sick any truth to that?
  14. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Never heard of that.
    Don't eat the wood.

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