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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 02-25-2013, 10:09 AM   #1
BigTone
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Default Using my own wood for smoke?

I have quite a bit of hickory, apple, cherry, and red oak on my farm and wanted to save some cash by cutting and splitting my own for smoke. I intend to cut firewood and boards from the trunks, and I figured I would use the branches for smoking. Is there a moisture content I should be looking for or is there a "seasoning" length I should wait? I have a setup to remove bark so I was hoping to cut it soon and use it in the UDS this spring/summer. Thanks for the info, ~Anthony
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Unread 02-25-2013, 10:12 AM   #2
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I have some live oak, red oak and pecan branches drying in the yard, now. I find that it takes at least 6 months for my wood to season in North Texas. My branches, on average, are about as big around as a Coke can.

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Unread 02-25-2013, 10:15 AM   #3
KotaChuk678
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Sure sounds like a good way to save some cash but I believe the seasoning time would be the big issue.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 10:19 AM   #4
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Go ahead and split what you need to and stack them off the ground with good air circulation around them.
I wouldn't have a problem with using them in 2-3 months.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 12:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cholloway View Post
Go ahead and split what you need to and stack them off the ground with good air circulation around them.
I wouldn't have a problem with using them in 2-3 months.
This.
I use pallets to elevate off the ground. Check CL- they are always free in my area.
Dont know if you have to hand split or have access to a splitter- keep in mind-

- split wood will season faster

-seasoned wood is easier to split- but of course, non-split chunks will take longer to season.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 12:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garzanium View Post
This.
I use pallets to elevate off the ground. Check CL- they are always free in my area.
Dont know if you have to hand split or have access to a splitter- keep in mind-

- split wood will season faster

-seasoned wood is easier to split- but of course, non-split chunks will take longer to season.
I have split a lot of wood by hand over the years and I think that wood splits easier when it is freshly cut especially if the original poster is from NY then the wood might be frozen right now and that is when it will split the easiest.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 12:57 PM   #7
BigTone
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The splitting is not a problem, I was thinking of using the branches...take the bark off with a draw knife and cut them into hockey pucks using the miter saw, let them dry for a couple months and I was hopping they would be ready for May...the bulk of the wood is going for firewood and boards so i really only need chunks, hence the limb wood (I do some woodworking on the side, nice to cut a tree, mill the boards and build a table by hand).
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Unread 02-25-2013, 02:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigTone View Post
The splitting is not a problem, I was thinking of using the branches...take the bark off with a draw knife and cut them into hockey pucks using the miter saw, let them dry for a couple months and I was hopping they would be ready for May...the bulk of the wood is going for firewood and boards so i really only need chunks, hence the limb wood (I do some woodworking on the side, nice to cut a tree, mill the boards and build a table by hand).

That would work perfect
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Unread 02-25-2013, 02:51 PM   #9
CarolinaQue
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The branches tend to take longer to dry IMO because the moisture can only escape through the ends because the bark will be a barrier for it to exit. If you can split the limbs, I think that you'll be fine to use it in 4 months or so. Especially considering how little humidity is in the air between now and then in the north.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
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Don't worry about taking the bark off. Small hockey puck chunks will definitely dry faster so you should be good.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 07:14 PM   #11
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I've been cutting off pieces of a dead apricot tree i have to smoke with. If i need more wood, i chop more off and throw it in.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 07:48 PM   #12
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You can do it. I would cut splits into chunks though. The best flavor comes from the wood and heartwood of the main trunk IMO. Plus I would imagine small pucks from branches would burn up too quick.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 09:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1MoreFord View Post
Don't worry about taking the bark off. Small hockey puck chunks will definitely dry faster so you should be good.
^ +1....... I agree
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Unread 02-25-2013, 10:24 PM   #14
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If you want to use the wood sooner than it would be ready by drying in the yard, put it somewhere warm. For me that used to be the floor of an oven with a pilot light. That oven crapped out and the new one is pilot-less. In the summer I spread them out on an asphalt drive in the sun (good for about 150°F.) Or I put a few pieces on the rack in the smoker to get them ready for a future smoke. There's not that much bark on branches and I don't bother removing it.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 10:56 PM   #15
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I do lots of Pecan. (I get free wood after storms...) I cut it into 18" lengths. If it's pieces less than 3" I don't mess with the bark. Pieces over 5" I split.
I dry mine under my covered patio. My wood is stacked on 2x4s for air circulation.
I rotate my wood, so I'm smoking with wood that has dried for 6 months
or longer. I do Oak and Hickory the same way.

Due to the high humidity in Alabama I dry my wood a little longer than some do.

Last edited by Ole Man Dan; 02-25-2013 at 10:57 PM.. Reason: add parenthesis mark
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