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capnamerca 04-05-2006 10:09 PM

Bark on fuel
I *know* that this topic has been discussed here. I promise that I searched the forums before I ask this - I found some peripheral discussions, but nothing directly on point. So here I ask again.

I'm attempting to move from charcoal to real wood for the fuel in my smoker. Academy is selling 10-lb bags of wood for a pretty decent price. However, most of the pieces have most of the bark left on them. I've heard that bark produces a "bitter' taste in 'Q, but other threads on here have minimized the input on bark on the overall flavor. The goal is to burn a mild wood, like oak, for heat, and use another wood for flavor - the current fav is Pecan, but I also really want to try apple.

So, can someone educate me on the effects of bark on heat, fire, and flavor?

Side question - I used aluminum bands to strengthen my firegrate. Any worries with aluminum?


qman 04-05-2006 10:13 PM

capnamerca, you have to be sure that you strip the bark off of the tin foil before you use it.:mrgreen:

ciret 04-05-2006 10:25 PM

I use mainly charcoal and chunks. I buy bags of wood chunks and they have some bark on. I don't remove bark. When I use logs I don't remove bark. I haven't noticed any off flavors, but I've never cooked with no bark. FWIW

Dakaty 04-05-2006 10:25 PM

I buy some of my smoking wood at a place that has been around for many years. They claim they have alot of customers that ask for extra loose bark to be included in their cord purchase as they prefer it for smoking.

:confused: :?:

bbqjoe 04-05-2006 10:26 PM

I use mesquite. I Always make sure bark is removed or burned off before adding meat. Heavy soot and resins emit from the bark. JMO

kcquer 04-05-2006 10:32 PM

If bark comes off easy, I take it off. If it hasn't slipped yet, I leave it on. I don't think you'd want to cook with pure bark, but some bark on good sticks of wood isn't going to hurt the flavor of anything.

Using apple with oak, you're probably not going to taste the apple much, as it's much mellower than the oak.

midnight 04-05-2006 10:55 PM

I agree with everything that kcquer said.

capnamerca 04-05-2006 11:16 PM

Nice to hear what I'm hearing. I really like those bags o' wood, since that's my easiest method to get at it. I'll pull off the bark if I can, and won't if I can't.

As for the oak and apple thoughts - is oak a good wood for heat? If my primary flavor wood is pecan (just smells fantastic to me), is oak a good choice? What would a good heat choice be to flavor with apple? Lump charcoal, maybe?

kcquer 04-05-2006 11:24 PM

The apple won't leave you short on BTU's, it'll provide enough heat on it's own. Where you may run into trouble, is eventually it (or any other wood) may leave you with inadequate coalbed to cleanly ignite the next stick of wood. At that time you need to just add some pre-lit briq or lump charcoal (either is fine).

FatDaddy 04-06-2006 03:58 AM

i use mesquite and oak and have never pulled the bark of any of it, and ive yet to have any complaints on my cooking.. lol. u usually just buy a rick of mesquite for the summer and use what i have left over the oak from the winter time. I love pecan to though. cant find any apple or cherry here, would like to know how ribs would taste with it.

bbqinNC 04-06-2006 04:51 AM

I have been using hickory and white oak. If the bark falls off I leave it off, other wise I burn it. Haven't noticed any side effects at all.

Neil 04-06-2006 04:53 AM

Apple has very thin bark. You would have to whittle it off! Apple and Cherry are my main cooking woods because they are abundant in this area being the heart of the Michigan fruit belt. If it was readily available, I would use pecan.

RichardF 04-06-2006 11:55 AM

WOW - This is a rare event; almost universal consensus. I think celebration is in order.

backyardchef 04-06-2006 12:18 PM

I can swear I read of a place in North Carolina that cooked over only hickory bark, but can't find the name of it now....

Smoker 04-06-2006 12:28 PM

Of course you want to take a look at the bark and make sure it looks ok. You don't want to be throwing wood in the fire that has remnants of ivy or any other growth on it.

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