Quality of Woods

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by mickey jay, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. mickey jay

    mickey jay Meat Mopper

    I'd never really given much thought to the quality of the woods I've been using since I typically just went to the Home Depot and picked up the occasional bag of chips.  After picking up a Masterbuilt GS40 (XL?), it's clear that bigger chunks are better for this smoker, so I went to the HD and picked up their 12lb bag of CharBroil hickory chunks assuming the best.  Unfortunately, more than half of the chunks seem either rotten or look like they have water damage of some sort, and the good pieces kind of left me smelling like campfire rather than the hickory smell that I knew from previous smokes.  I was worried at first thinking they might have packaged up some pine and I was cooking multiple butts for a 25 person event the next day!  After calming down and assuming that CharBroil wouldn't risk their reputation doing such a thing, I started thinking about the quality of the woods I've been smoking with. 

    I don't know what this is, but it doesn't look like healthy wood I want to bathe my butts in for hours at a time.


    This looks like mold or some other kind of contamination.  These pieces were noticeably less dense.


    'Good' chunks on the left.  Rotten, moldy, bark, or otherwise undesirable to burn on the right.  So much for $12.95 for 12 lbs of hickory chunks.


    This realization brought me to the Naked Whiz review site where the bag was on the 'not so great' list.  I checked out some of the other recommended sources and I'm pretty much left with Chigger Creek from bbqfans.com.  The price seems fair at $2.32/lb for quality wood (I haven't ordered it yet, I'm just going off the Naked Whiz review).  Some of the sellers on Ebay seem promising, although there are so many.  Does anyone have any Ebay sellers they deal with that are trustworthy and affordable?  Is there one online source that is the forum-agreed upon 'best' for ordering smoking wood?

    I've searched through multiple pages of posts and I'm not sure if there's a consensus or not.

    thanks for any input :)
  2. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use the 10 lb bags of chunk hickory or mesquite at Walmart most of the time; did get a good deal on some at Albertson's also.  I've always been pretty satisfied with them.  I do have two dead (2 yrs dead) plum trees to cut down and look forward to seeing what that looks like!  Won't be a whole lot, not many chunk-worthy pieces, mostly finer twigs, but it'll be free, lol!  I'll con..er, get one of my sons to cut them down for me... I could just see me trying to handle the chain saw one-handed, lol!
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  3. Yes, that wood is rotten.

    When you get it locally, smell it to see if it smells moldy, musty or rotten.
    Some pack it in plastic before it's as dry as it should be.
  4. mr500

    mr500 Meat Mopper


    This is who I use. Ive gotten good stuff so far. Just remember to order it with out  bark or you will get chunks with the bark on.....

  5. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All

     Newbee here, just 3 smokes to my credit..I also used fruitawoodchunks.com/..Ordered 3/4 Hickory-1/4 Apple,15 lbs box, so far I'm very happy with the wood I got.

    Mr. 500 I didn't know one could order with out the bark.Is it more expensive to order wood that way and does it make much of difference?

    Thanks Dan

    PS I Smoking with a Master Forge Electric Smoker/ with a water pan.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  6. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I guess I'm too Anal about my "Q" , but  I locate and get wood from local sources then cut and split it to the size I want from the logs. I then cram a cord or so in my garage for a year or so and move it to my usable site for cooking . No shot of the aging wood , but will soon be remedied .


    I have another shot of the wood somewhere , can't seem to find it , so here's my Grand-daughter and the using wood to her right.............

    If I see wood like you had , I toss it as it will only billow smoke out . I don't mind Bark but the moss and mold are cut off , they and the rotten wood only make clouds of white [​IMG]  .

    To me if a piece of wood feels a little heavier than it looks , it's ready to use .

    Have fun and ...

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