Inconsistent Hickory? Newbie seeking knowledge...

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by caliperson, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. caliperson

    caliperson Newbie

    I bought a bag of hickory chips from the store, and liked it quite a bit when I was experimenting with different woods. 

    I went out and bought a bag of chunks (a different brand), so they would last longer, and the first chunk I used had a weird smoke scent that reminded me of bug-spray and sawdust.  I thought maybe the meat would taste o.k., but it tasted just like it smelled unfortunately.

    Wondering if it was a fluke, I tested other chunks from the new bag.  One two-toned chunk smelled like cherry to me on the darker wood part of the chunk, then the lighter half smelled like generic unpleasant burnt wood.  A third chunk actually smelled like I expect hickory to smell. 

    What is going on here, is this kind of inconsistency normal in bagged wood chunks/chips?  The wood is definitely not green, it has probably been sitting on the shelf in the store for a long time.

    (Using an electric smoker by the way, thats why only 1 chunk at a time)
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That is not normal.

    Where did you buy the wood?

    Home Depot & Lowe's both have extensive supplies of chunks & chips.

    I would try there.

    Walmart also has a large supply.

  3. caliperson

    caliperson Newbie

    It's a pretty common brand from a big chain type of store.

    I tested more of the chunks from the same bag last night, and I'd say, for me, maybe 1/3 smelled like hickory, 1/3 ( lighter colored chunks) had a nasty burnt sawdust and chemically scent, and the rest (darker chunks) smelled and looked VERY similar to cherry.  I also have a bag of apple from the same brand that is better, but still seemed lower quality than other stuff I've used, not much character in the flavor or scent.  I'm not gonna name names, but I'm going to use it all for firewood and avoid the brand for awhile.  It makes me wonder about quality control and what goes on at the factory.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  4. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I get my chunks of hickory the old fashioned way. lol I think I should have enough for many years.
  5. caliperson

    caliperson Newbie

     I made ribs that sucked a couple weeks ago and thought it was my technique, now I'm thinking it was just bad wood.  I'm using the bad wood for firewood, and got a bag of hickory from a different brand:  much better.

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