Best Way to use wood for smoking

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by markuk, May 22, 2013.

  1. markuk

    markuk Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Everyone

    Picked up some free really solid well seasoned Oak from my local sawmill ( result !!! [​IMG])

    Was wondering how small/big I should cut these up for smoking Ribs and or Pork - also should I soak them before use if so for how long

    See Picture with CD case as scale and top piece is around a house brick size

    Many Thanks


  2. Hello Mark.  Did I send you this link?  If not, here ya go.   Read to the bottom and it will tell you where you went wrong.  NO LUMBER.  Sorry to rain on your parade.  I wouldn't use it in my smoker.  Maybe others know better.  Keep Smokin!
  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Lumber is fine if it has not had any stain, shellac, varnish or other finish applied. As long as it is a hardwood like oak, maple, and cherry you are OK, stay away from exotics such as teak and mahogany.

    I would use pieces about 1 1/2 inches wide cut from the wood you have pictured, no soaking needed.
  4. I'm curious to learn.  So cliffcarter what you are saying that hardwood is ok to use even if you have no idea as to what application it was previously used for, or if it has been pressure treated for outdoor use, such as deckboard?  And how can you tell with old wood pieces if it had ever had a finish applied?
  5. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    First I did not say it is OK to use pressure treated wood of any kind.

    I did not say it was OK to use previously used wood of any kind.

    What I did say is that if the wood has had any kind of finish applied it should not be used.

    The wood pictured in the OP is straight from the mill and is raw lumber, as such it can be used to cook with. There are many, many BBQers here in the States that rely on lumber cutoffs for cooking wood.

    I am quite familiar with the list at deejaydebi's site, as are many others here and in the BBQ world, and disagree with her assessment on lumber scraps. Untreated, unfinished hardwood lumber scraps can be and are used for cooking wood.
  6. maple sticks

    maple sticks Smoking Fanatic

    Just because the wood was first cut at a saw mill does not make it bad. Sawmills have lots of scraps that would make excellent smoking wood. Bottom line if your not sure what it is don't use it. They make charcoal out of scrap wood.

    As far as size of wood that depends what size smoker you have. I like mine cut small 1 X 2 X 7. They start easier and make a smaller fire. If your using it just for smoke say as a addition to charcoal I would cut it up a little smaller.
  7. Thanks so much for clearing that up.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mark, morning....  I use slices, "cookies as I call them" in one of my smokers.....  I don't soak in water... About 1" - 1 1/2" thick work for me.... Do not put more than one hunk in the smoker at a time....  It takes 2 pieces of wood to make a fire.... I have had smoker fires using 2 hunks of wood....   1 hunk will smoke for 1-2 hours for me.....     Dave

  9. markuk

    markuk Smoking Fanatic

    Well I've set something off here !

    First question I asked the saw mill manager was ' has this been trested ?"

    He said - "NO" :)

    The mill produces the higest quality oak for furniture makers craftsman etc so think they no their stuff - he seemed to know about using wood for smoking as he also offered me shavings which he said they sell for smoking but thought I'd go for the wood
  10. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  11. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm with Dave when I use my GOSM

    Sliced with a bandsaw, wood chunks are manipulated into different positions for length and amount of burn.

    I think a lot of folks get scared and assume lumber is not good, if you trust the mill guy and as long as he's informed and being honest, there should be no problem using it. However that top piece would worry me.

    This is what the guys are referring to.

    Never use lumber scraps, either new or used. First, you cannot know for sure what kind of wood it is; second, the wood may have been chemically treated; third, you have no idea where the wood may have been or how it was used.
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  12. markuk

    markuk Smoking Fanatic

    I'm pretty certain he was being straight with me as it's a well establised old firm

    If you are on Facebook you should be able to see these photos

    The piece on the top is actually Beech which I think you can use for some applications but it does look a bit "green" I must admit so may leave that till next year.

    The main thing which is holding me back from doing smoking on a regular basis is the cost of Charcoal over here - average cost from Briquetts is around $ 7 for around 5kg which is about 11lb in weight which is a bit pricey compared to the states I think

    I'm a bit lucky - I work at a major supermarket and we had some burst bags which my manager let me have for free ( see I'm SO cheap [​IMG]) but even so when I did pulled pork I used at lease 6 lb of charcoal....

    biut for special occasions it's going to be my prefered method for cookinbg now - loved it !

    Thanks for the advice as ever.....
  13. markuk

    markuk Smoking Fanatic

  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Maple is a good wood for smoking.... I have used it many times.....    Dave
  15. markuk

    markuk Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Dave

    Do you think it's the same/similar as your type of Maple ??
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  17. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Big leaf maple and vine maple are two different trees, both are native to and are used in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

    MarkUK. your maple is a European tree so we don't truly know if it is OK to use until someone in Europe reports that it is good to cook with. I suggest you try it on a few sausages and report back.

    FWIW the maple I use smells like smoky sugar when burning, if yours has a similar smell when burned I think it will be OK.

    I know someone in France that uses local oak and sweet acacia as smoking wood. Acacia is strong like mesquite, a little goes a long way.

    After further study Acer campestre is found in the States, it has been imported as an ornamental, I have not seen it reported on any BBQ forum as a smoking wood, it is known as hedge maple over here.
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
    markuk likes this.
  18. markuk

    markuk Smoking Fanatic

    Will try a test burn - I've used this wood to cook pizza's and bread with and we did not have any ill effects ( I understand some woods can make you sick !)

    Love sausages - how long should I smoke them for ?

    Thanks again for all the info
  19. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Oak is very seldom pressure treated. Pressure treated wood is usually pine..Lumber is just fine to use as long as it is just raw...
  20. markuk

    markuk Smoking Fanatic

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