Cherry wood, I am beginning to think never again...

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by viper, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I love Cherry with Chicken and cheese. I agree that Apple is great with a lot of smokes and my favorite is Pecan.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Wow, this is the first time I ever saw a bunch of people complaining about Cherry.

    Any Cherry I ever used was great !  Not as good as Hickory, but second best in my book.

    Maybe it's only good to us "Smoke-Hounds"???

    Oh Well,


    PS: Cherry is even better to work with in a Cabinet Shop----It makes the whole shop smell wonderful for days!
  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I, for one am not complaining about it, I use it always on pork. My contention is that it is not a "mild" smoking wood. If I were characterizing  the smoking woods I would use "mild", "medium" and "strong" with maple being "mild", cherry and hickory being "medium" and mesquite "strong". JM2C.
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's not too far from how I would rate them.

    I would say:

    Mesquite----Super strong



    Everything else I've used so far------Mild

    However there are quite a few I haven't tried yet, because Hickory seems to cut in front of the line nearly all of the time.

  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Viper - I had the same problem with fruit woods in general when I started using them as well. I found the solution was to use less chunks at a time. With mesquite and hickory I was used to putting 5 or 6 fist sized chunks in my WSM at the start of the cook, but when I did that with cherry or apple I got thick white smoke that did make creasote. After a couple of failed attemtps I was about to give up on fruit woods till I tried putting only one or two small pieces on at a time. That was the trick - I think there are more volitiles to burn off in the fruit woods, so they have a tendancy to produce a thicker smoke that can quickly turn into bad smoke if you have to much wood on at one time. But by backing off and using only a couple of chunks you keep the smoke thin and blue, just add 1 chunk or so every hour for the first 3 or 4 hrs. and that seems about perfect.'

    Also cherry is awesome on salmon!
  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use cherry on my GOSM and as Fuel on my Reverse flow and have never had any problems, however as far as it being mild...I would agree with the others that it can impart a strong flavor and if your'e not careful you can oversmoke.
  7. I love cherry..that and hickory are my 2 go to woods. I'm with Johnny though..too much of a good thing can be bad with any wood you choose.
  8. steve k

    steve k Fire Starter

    Both my Polish grandfather and my father used Cherry to smoke our old family recipe Kielbasa.  Our version of this Polish sausage is heavy on the garlic and is primarily pork, with some veal.  It has a heavy flavor that is just to die for when mixed with the not over powering cherry wood smoke. I have tried the sausage with hickory, and wound up tasting more hickory than sausage.  Three generations of my family vote for cherry wood for this heavily seasoned cured pork sausage.  

    I use apple wood for smoking poultry, especially turkey, and non-cured pork roasts, ribs, brined pork chops soaked in apple juice and any lighter flavored meats.  Hickory smoked beef brisket is a favorite, and I think hickory and beef go well together.  I think if you parallel apple (and other light fruit woods) to white wine, hickory to heavy red wines, and cherry to white zinfandel, you might have a good guide for what woods to use with what meats. I'm not sure that a wine guide will work with this crowd on this site, and may get me banned, but use it if it seems helpful.  

    I picked up a bag of Oak chips made out of old Jack Daniels whiskey barrels the other day, and haven't used them yet.  I was wondering if any one else has tried these and on what meats.  They sure do smell like Jack Black.  Not sure my teenage daughter or wife will like the flavor.  Then again, my wife is Irish.  

    For those of you who have used wood cut from your own apple trees, etc., how long do you let the wood season before you use it with good results?  Is a year long enough?  
  9. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    IMO, a year is plenty good!
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also depends on how you cut your wood. If you stack it in large rounds then a year might not be enough, but if it is split and stacked then you should be fine. I had some apple from my folks trimming their trees that took 1 1/2 yrs. to dry well. I had left it in rounds about the size of a fore-arm. A good indicator of dryness is when you see cracks forming on the ends of the cuts.
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It takes approximately one year per inch of thickness to dry wood to 12% to14% moisture content.

    That would be wood set out in the open, separated by criss-cross stacking (air flow)---not thrown on a pile, or stacked tightly.

    For a reference of how dry 12% to 14% moisture is, kiln dried cabinet grade hardwoods are sold at 8% moisture content, and construction grade lumber (2 X 4s, etc) should be no more than 19%. Mold can grow on wood above 20% MC.

  12. garand555

    garand555 Smoke Blower

    I've not tried cherry, but I really do like peach. The smoke smells wonderful all on its own. It's almost a sweet toasty aroma. Then again, I have peach trees that get pruned every year.
  13. steve k

    steve k Fire Starter

    I have a couple of Peach trees that get pruned every year.  I'm going to try some of the cuttings this year, they're dead already, I don't even need to let it dry out.  I may never buy wood again.
  14. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    I have switched to Apple and took care of my problem.  Either the specific chips that I bought or Cherry in general does not agree with me.  I am already getting itchy to try cheese with apple.  That off flavor of cherry I think threw me a bit..
  15. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have done cheese with several different types of wood and I believe Cherry is the best one I have tried on it to date.  The one thing you have to watch with cheese is not to OVER SMOKE it...

    On Brisket and Pork Butt and Ribs I like Hickory or Mesquite.

    On Poultry I use either Hickory, Cherry or Pecan...

    These are My Tastes,  as they say "Different Strokes For Different Folks..."
  16. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    love cheery mix with apple..
  17. rowdyrawhide

    rowdyrawhide Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I have cherry wood from a local fruit farm, and I love the taste it gives, I use it on every thing.  That said I only use it for the first 3-5 hrs of smoking then I just use lump after that.  I also don't use it as the only heat source, I use lump for the main source of heat and throw some chunks of cherry in with it.  I love it on beef and pork especially.  It is stronger than apple in my experience.
  18. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Reference cherry wood, have got to agree with JL Rod here; use less of it and it is a great smoking wood.

    I've found it to be the best for turkey....something about the turkey meat (as opposed to chicken) just takes to cherry wood and is outstanding. My wife loves it and makes (hah!) me smoke a couple turkeys a year this way (outside the holidays). Chicken is good too, but an 8 to 12 pound turkey with just some salt and pepper outside and some (not a lot) cranberries or other fruit tossed inside makes for the best bird.

    The cherry wood gives it a beautiful mahogany color too.

    Not a big fan of cherry wood with beef, though. Haven't figured out why, just yet. Maybe beef is just too rich and dark to go with a rich and dark flavour of cherry. I dunno, I love some mesquite on beef and that's rich and dark! 
  19. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Cherry and oak mix for me.
  20. jlmacc

    jlmacc Meat Mopper

    I myself love applewood with my poultry and pork.I have a couple trees that keep me supplied.Hickory would be my second favorite,and getting ready to try pecan for the first time here real soon.

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