Should You Use Freshly Cut Wood To Smoke Meat?
When smoking meat, there are a few different ways to go about it. You can use charcoal, gas, or electric smokers, or you can use a smoker box in your oven. But another way to smoke meat is to use fresh wood. Some people don’t recommend using green wood, while others say that absolutely any type of wood can be used for smoking meat. So, what’s the verdict? Should you use fresh wood to smoke meat? Let’s take a closer look at this cooking method and find out.
- Should You Use Freshly Cut Wood To Smoke Meat?
- Should You Use Freshly Cut Wood In Your Smoker?
- Difference Between Fresh And Cured Wood
- Is Air-dried or Kiln-dried Firewood Better For Smoking Meat?
- How To Select The Right Type Of Wood For Smoking Meat
- Should I Buy Logs Or Chips?
- Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
Should You Use Freshly Cut Wood In Your Smoker?
Let’s not beat about the bush, using fresh cut or green wood in a smoker is a big mistake! You should only use wood that has been properly seasoned.
Using unseasoned wood can lead to a bitter taste and excessive, dirty smoke, so it is best to use properly seasoned wood for the best results. Additionally, different types of wood will impart their own unique flavors onto the meat, so choose your wood based on personal preference and desired taste.
Difference Between Fresh And Cured Wood
When it comes to smoking meat, there are two different types of wood that you can use – fresh and seasoned (or cured).
Definitely, the preferred choice to use for cooking. There are two types of seasoned wood that you could use to add flavor to your grilled meats. To make sure your wood is properly seasoned use a moisture meter to test whether the moisture content is below 20%. This will allow you to get that wonderful smoke flavor on your food without producing a bitter taste.
The natural way of seasoning wood is to leave it to dry for several months or even years. The time it will take will vary on the species of tree and the climate in which you are trying to dry the wood. Oak may take several years before being ready for your smoker while ash or maple might be usable in only a few months.
If you don’t have a few months to spare to dry out your own wood then you can purchase some that has been dried in a kiln. Effectively it is baked to remove the bulk of the moisture content. Timber that has been kiln-dried will generally have a moisture content below 20%.
Fresh wood on the other hand, is newly cut, hasn’t been dried and therefore still contains a lot of moisture.
The downside to using fresh wood is that it can be more difficult to get it started burning. Once it’s going it will give off a lot less heat than seasoned wood so if you are using it as your primary fuel source you may run into problems straight away. In addition, fresh wood will give off dirty smoke with more pollutants including creosote!
I don’t think you’ll find any experts suggesting that you use fresh wood in your smoker. Stick to timber that has been air-dried or kiln-dried.
Is Air-dried or Kiln-dried Firewood Better For Smoking Meat?
Looking at the PitMasters forum would suggest that most experienced grillers prefer to use naturally seasoned wood rather than wood dried in a kiln when cooking meat.
How To Select The Right Type Of Wood For Smoking Meat
When it comes to smoking meat, there are a variety of woods you can use. Each species of tree will impart a different flavor to the meat, so it’s important to select the right one based on your personal preferences and the type of meat you are cooking. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing wood for smoking meat:
- The type of tree the wood comes from: different types of trees will impart different flavors to the meat. For example, hickory is a popular choice for smoking because it imparts a strong, distinct flavor.
- The age of the wood: younger wood is generally moister, and will therefore impart more flavor to the meat. Older, dryer wood will not impart as much flavor.
- The part of the tree the wood comes from: different parts of the tree contain different levels of sap, which will also impact the flavor of the meat. For example, the heartwood is often used for smoking because it contains less sap than other parts of the tree.
Keep these factors in mind when choosing wood for smoking meat, and you’ll be sure to select the right variety of wood for your needs.
A general rule of thumb is to use mesquite, oak and hickory for cooking meats like beef and pork. Stick to lighter fruit trees such as cherry, apple and peach if you are serving up fish or poultry on your barbecue.
In other parts of the world they use other local species that produce tasty results, eucalyptus in Australia for example.
Should I Buy Logs Or Chips?
If you’re not able to source and season your own firewood that means you’ll have to rely on dealers that tend to sell dry wood in a number of different forms. Depending on the type of grill or barbecue you have may need to pick a different kind of wood product.
- Logs – large pieces of wood around 18 inches in length used in large offset smokers to produce both heat and smoke.
- Chunks – around 4 inches or the size of a fist. Used in smaller offset smokers, gas grills and smokers.
- Wood chips – roughly 1/4 of an inch thick and about an inch long are primarily used in gas and electric grills.
- Disks – compressed sawdust used primarily on electric grills.
- Pellets – compressed sawdust in pellet form used in pellet smokers, smoke boxes and generators.
Should You Use Freshly Cut Wood To Smoke Meat: Summary
So, should you use freshly cut wood to smoke meat? The answer is a resounding no!
Green wood will ruin your smoked meats. If you want to enjoy your meal then make sure you only use the best wood for barbecue and grilling.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]
How long should wood dry before smoking?
Ideally, wood should be dried for at least six months before using it for smoking. This will help to remove any moisture from the wood, which allows it to burn more efficiently and avoids producing bitter-tasting smoke.
Can I use green wood for smoking?
Greenwood, or wood that has not been properly seasoned, should not be used for smoking. Green wood contains a lot of moisture, which can cause the fire to produce nasty smoke full of pollutants.
What is the best type of wood for smoking?
There are a variety of woods that can be used for smoking, each of which will impart a different flavor to the meat. The most popular woods for smoking are hickory, mesquite, and oak. For a more subtle flavor, you can also use fruit woods like apple, pecan or cherry. always stick to varieties of hardwood when using in a barbecue or smoker.
Don’t use softwoods like pine.
How do you prepare wood for smoking meat?
The best way to prepare fresh-cut wood for smoking is to season it. Seasoning the wood helps to remove most of the moisture from the wood which will make it burn more efficiently and produce a clean white smoke ideal for flavoring the meat.