Walnut -- is it a good wood for smoking?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by gene pool, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. gene pool

    gene pool Newbie

    I have a walnut tree that has been downed and was wondering if it would make wood suitable for smoking. Does anyone here have experience with smoking with walnut?

    Thank you,
    Gene Pool
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  3. gene pool

    gene pool Newbie

    Thank you Dave. I will save the chart for future reference. Looks like my walnut tree is not so good.

  4. arnie

    arnie Smoking Fanatic

    I know people who love to smoke their ribs with walnut

    Me? I think it's nasty
  5. I have black walnut trees.  A lot of stuff won't grow under/around them because they contain a chemical called "juglone".  I heard the same is true when burning the wood - it emits a nasty element not good to eat.  If you'd ever checked the price of black walnut wood you wouldn't want to burn it. A 2' piece, 1/8" thick X 5" wide goes for $10-$15.
  6. I've been using walnut, no strong bitterness. Great aroma.. Not sure it's black walnut.. It's been a free supply without issue
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Walnut may be similar to mesquite...   When I use mesquite, it is added to other wood at about 5% or less....  Tasting a hint of mesq adds a unique flavor to beef I really like.... too much is horrible....  experiment with the walnut starting with very little... It may provide a flavor profile that is awesome....  Dave 
  8. I've used a lot of walnut, if you use it 100% you'll find it bitter. But it does add a nice flavor if you combine it with something else.
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Texas smoke man, Morning and welcome to the forum....  This is a really great forum with many members..... all of them willing to go the extra mile to help you in any endeavors you may tackle from improving a recipe, curing and sausage making to building the best Bbq.....  

    Please take a moment and check out " Roll Call      " to introduce yourself and get a proper welcome from our members....  We are a diverse group that welcomes everyone....  Enjoy the threads and recipes..... Relax and enjoy the long smokey ride.....  Dave
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  12. Awesome
  13. Great list. Thanks Dave.
  14. Had the same question.  I am having some timber cut and will have some black walnut wood left.  I was thinking since it is a 'nut wood" it should be good but I think I will mix it with my oak or apple.  Thanks for the input.  Cullowheedawg
  15. I see on the list on one of the above posts ,  cedar is listed as a NOT to use wood. Then why do some restaurants do cedar plank salmon?   was wanting to try this but a little nervous now.              Thanks Kevin
  16. smoke happens

    smoke happens Smoking Fanatic


    I cedar plank salmon all the time on the grill, different style of cooking than smoking. When you smoke, you are actually burning the cedar, which is where the nastiness gets released into the smoker environment imparting a bitter and terrible taste on the food. Planking you are not burning the wood (or at least should not be), so all of those chemicals are not getting released.

    Cedar or Alder planked salmon is one of the best ways to prepare salmon in my opinion. Don't be nervous when planking it, just watch your temps and peek in on that plank from time to time to make sure it's not on fire. As long as you stay with medium heat on the grill you should be OK, any higher and you can torch off the plank. When the plank starts to burn, get it out ASAP. You will notice also the plank will warp when it cooks, so be sure your salmon is centered on the plank. I also soak my planks in water for about an hour prior to cooking.
    finsnspurs likes this.
  17. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have used both Black and English walnut when smoking, but it's been so long ago that I can't remember the results other than it must have been good or it would not have been used.

    Not much help, right?  The way I test wood or a blend of woods is to smoke a cracker or piece of bread for a few minutes (might as well smoke some croutons for your dinner salad) , then let it rest for a half hour or so, then taste.  It will give you an idea of the aroma and flavor.

    Hope this helps.

  18. I have a lot of experience smoking with walnut that I got from my boss who also smokes with it.  Walnut is strong, much stronger than mesquite in my opinion and has a distinct flavor.  Every time I have used it only one chunk goes in the wood box, any more smoke I want will be from something lighter like apple.  To be honest I wouldn't use it on pork, chicken, or anything else with a lighter flavor.  On beef it's ok if you like stronger smoke flavors but my wife doesn't so you know what that means.  Now for smoking venison roast a chunk of walnut seems to nicely complement the stronger meat flavor and pepper rub I use.  In a list of smoking woods I found online here is what is said of walnut and I think it is spot on.

    Walnut: Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter wood like pecan or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.

    Considering out of the 25 woods on my list this is the only one identified as having a "very heavy smoke flavor" it should be easy to figure out the strength of this smoke.  There are lots of different tastes out there.

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