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Old 08-11-2013, 07:56 AM   #1
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
Join Date: 07-03-13
Location: Franklin, NC
Default Smoking wood "expiration"?

Now that I know I have some recently cut red oak to smoke ( I have a question about how long wood "lasts" for smoking purposes. I have this oak, and I have a black cherry tree in my yard that could stand to be taken down. My concern is that since I use a UDS and just put a few chunks in each firing, will the wood go bad if I don't use it within 2-3 years? I know that if wood rots or is eaten up by insects it's no good. But assuming you store it outside in the dry does it ever really go bad?

I've searched a good bit on this and find conflicting answers, but some of those answers pertain to firewood for the home, some to stick burners, etc. Just wondering how that would work when the wood is used for just smoke, not heat.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:26 AM   #2
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Join Date: 07-30-11
Location: Pemberton, New Jersey

Most smoking forums say that to season wood takes about 5 - 6 months from the day it is cut and stacked.

I have used wood that has been three years old with no bugs or mold.

I found this article but I disagree with the shelf life. But then again I am not a scientist either...
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:37 PM   #3
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Join Date: 09-25-10
Location: Reed City, MI

As long as the wood is stacked and air can circulate then it should(depending on species of wood) still be good I believe. Dryness helps, meaning the dryer it can be kept. While I don't call myself an authority this is my setup: T-post 4' apart 2x4's(2) on top of construction block between the post. T-post are driven in so that there is 4' above the 2x4's. This gives me a 4'x4' area to stack my wood. I too smoke with a UDS so I know I wont be going thru wood real fast. I also keep a charcoal bag of my different woods chopped into chunks on hand all the time. When a bag is empty I simply chop up more till the bag is full. Good smokin'.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:43 PM   #4
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Join Date: 06-25-11
Location: SW Michigan

I haven't noticed any real difference in the age of the wood as long as it's all seasoned. One year old or three years old, as long as it's not rotting (which would likely be due to moisture) or infested with bugs, it cooks just fine and the flavor is there. I'm sure there's an extreme upper limit on how long you store wood before there are some negative effects, but I don't see any issues with a few years.

In fact, I've got four cords being delivered this week ranging from seasoned for 8 months to about two years. Obviously, I'll use the oldest first, but that's not because I fear it going bad, just that the other stuff isn't fully seasoned yet and it obviously makes sense to use the oldest first.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:06 AM   #5
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Join Date: 01-06-12
Location: Nuremburg PA

I have some apple that is 5 years old that I will be using tomorrow. It's a little dry, so it burns a little quick but I still get a great flavor when I use it.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:11 AM   #6
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I scavenge dead limbs from apple trees that are abundant in my neck of the woods so I have no idea how old it is. I think as long as it is stored properly it should last a loooooong time.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:43 PM   #7
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Join Date: 03-14-05
Location: North Little Rock, Arkansas

It expires when you burn it in your pit.

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Old 08-12-2013, 07:53 PM   #8

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It all depends on how it is stored and the local climate. Once the mushrooms start growing on it and you can poke a hole in it with your fingers, it's probably not going to do your food any favors.
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