i recently cut most of the branches off of my mulberry tree in my back yard. then i cut them to about 1ft. pieces. i planned on using them for my firepit but seeing as they can be good for smoking i guess i will be using some for that. my question is how long until they are ready to use? if i cut them smaller will they cure faster? i cant split them but i can shorten them up with my miter saw. any suggestions? im in northern illinois if that makes a difference.