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SteveT
07-06-2011, 06:44 PM
Hi Guys.....

My first post on the BBQ Brethren forum, and just a basic question....about bark, and not the bark on a well cooked brisket, but rather the bark on wood. I have had my smoker now for a couple of years, (a present from my son and wife), and am getting some pretty good results (no complaints anyway), but, I have read quite a few different books, and they seem to differ on the opinion of leaving the bark on the wood when used in a smoker. So, do you remove the bark on oak?? There is a pretty decent BBQ place in Castroville, CA, that I frequent, that uses "live" oak, purchased from a place in Santa Cruz, CA. and I know he leaves the bark on, but then he has two pits (one large, one smaller)...
And...what about Mesquite? I have read that you shouldn't leave the bark on Mesquite as it can be very strong due to the tannins in the bark. When I was a teen-ager, my dad and I built a fireplace into our home in Texas, in which we burned Mesquite wood, that we cut ourselves. The ranchers at that time, were VERY happy to let us go onto their ranches and cut the Mesquite trees down, as the large thorns on the trees tore the cattle up. Anyway, when we built the fireplace, my dad also built in a grating, and a hook to use to cook on in the fireplace, and I know at that time, we never removed the bark, but then, this was not slow smoking, but rather more like grilling (other than cooking beef stew or chili, which did simmer for hours....)

Ok...sorry for the long rambling post, but bark on or bark off is my question....

Thanks in advance.... :biggrin1:

SteveT

NorthwestBBQ
07-06-2011, 06:45 PM
Unless it's moldy, I leave it on.

Pyle's BBQ
07-06-2011, 06:48 PM
I don't remove the bark unless it is falling off. Wood that is stored outside may develop mold and that should probably be taken off. You will get different opinions on this, so you will have to decide.

orangeblood
07-06-2011, 06:50 PM
forget about bark, on or off it doesnt matter

just my $0.02

BlueHowler
07-06-2011, 06:52 PM
I'm far from an expert yet but I've not noticed any difference from bark on or bark off.

I recently bought some oak lump charcoal (I do not remember the brand) that had several very large pieces that had the bark still attached.

Silver maple and apple wood from my yard has the bark attached and no one has complained a bit about my cooks.

purplestarrider
07-06-2011, 06:55 PM
i have read that you should remove it, however i am still learning this so i just removed what i could by hand and did that. I did make sure that it didn't smell moldy and that there were no bugs or anything like that

bigabyte
07-06-2011, 06:56 PM
If the bark is funky, I remove it. If the bark is hanging off and can be pulled off easily, I remove it. Otherwise I leave it on.

smokeyokie
07-06-2011, 06:56 PM
bark is really not too big off an issue IMO...now I am a Texas transplant and I started cooking with mesquite...BE CAREFUL a little goes a long way can turn otherwise perfectly cooked meat inedible if too much is used...stick with oak, white or red, and the fruitwoods and you will be much better off!! Well that was my .02 cents.. Smoke on Brother!!:thumb:

h20loo
07-06-2011, 07:45 PM
On an offset stick burner- I wouldn't worry about it. On a UDS or a BGE I would prefer bare chunks of wood but wouldn't worry about limb wood bark.

smokeyw
07-06-2011, 07:47 PM
I leave the bark on. I have tried it with and without and can't tell a difference.

caseydog
07-06-2011, 08:00 PM
I don't remove the bark unless it is falling off. Wood that is stored outside may develop mold and that should probably be taken off. You will get different opinions on this, so you will have to decide.

Same here. If the bark is still solidly adhered to the wood, I leave it. If it falls off, or I can pull it off with my bare fingers, I take it off and toss it.

I also sniff old wood, to see if it still smells like wood, or if it smells like used gym socks. Smelling your wood before you cook with it just seems like common sense, to me. But, I'm a dog, and we sniff things.

My own personal rule is, "If the wood smells funky, don't use it." I don't have trophies to back that up, but it works for me.

CD

El Lobo
07-06-2011, 08:01 PM
I find it smolders more than wood without bark, but YMMV. I suggest taking in off if its loose or bad looking.

I'm a Barkantologist, I earned my Barkantology degree at the University of California at Barkley. But I'm no expert.

caseydog
07-06-2011, 08:02 PM
If the bark is funky, I remove it. If the bark is hanging off and can be pulled off easily, I remove it. Otherwise I leave it on.

Bigabyte agrees with me, so I must be right. :thumb:

BTW, I used the "word "funky" in my previous post before reading Bigabyte's post. I'm not just kissing his arse so I can win a throwdown.

CD

bigabyte
07-06-2011, 08:48 PM
Bigabyte agrees with me, so I must be right. :thumb:

BTW, I used the "word "funky" in my previous post before reading Bigabyte's post. I'm not just kissing his arse so I can win a throwdown.

CD
I stole it from Pitmaster T. At least you were original!:becky:

sking63
07-06-2011, 08:51 PM
I remove all the bark I can now. I have noticed a harshness with bark left on, especially with red oak and pecan. IMHO bark should be removed.

SteveT
07-07-2011, 12:42 AM
Ok Guys.....

So, it seems about 80% say leave the bark on (unless it's "funky", which is understandable...) and about 20% say take it off...
I have been removing the bark on the Hickory I have used, and that is another wood that if used in excess can be a bit too strong in my opinion, But I am experimenting, I did a brisket with Mesquite about a week ago that I thought turned out well... I used lump oak charcoal as the "base" heat, with some Mesquite thrown in for the flavor. Everybody in my family like it. When I bought the Mesquite, I also bought some Pecan, so, I'm going to try that next on some beef and pork ribs, I'm doing tomorrow...
One thing I have to be careful of, though, is that it is a "spare the air day" where I am, and I have to kind of hide the smoker, and not use lighter fluid to start the charcoal. I really don't quite know which is worse for you though...using newspaper that has ink on it, or lighter fluid. I think I might go to my local newspaper and get some of the scrap paper that doesn't have ink on it.... At least "try" to help out that environment...but I'll be darn if I will give up smoking meat!!!

And, I thank you for your replies.... :smile:

SteveT

NorthwestBBQ
07-07-2011, 12:52 AM
Ok Guys.....

So, it seems about 80% say leave the bark on (unless it's "funky", which is understandable...) and about 20% say take it off...
I have been removing the bark on the Hickory I have used, and that is another wood that if used in excess can be a bit too strong in my opinion, But I am experimenting, I did a brisket with Mesquite about a week ago that I thought turned out well... I used lump oak charcoal as the "base" heat, with some Mesquite thrown in for the flavor. Everybody in my family like it. When I bought the Mesquite, I also bought some Pecan, so, I'm going to try that next on some beef and pork ribs, I'm doing tomorrow...
One thing I have to be careful of, though, is that it is a "spare the air day" where I am, and I have to kind of hide the smoker, and not use lighter fluid to start the charcoal. I really don't quite know which is worse for you though...using newspaper that has ink on it, or lighter fluid. I think I might go to my local newspaper and get some of the scrap paper that doesn't have ink on it.... At least "try" to help out that environment...but I'll be darn if I will give up smoking meat!!!

And, I thank you for your replies.... :smile:

SteveT

That "ink" on newspaper is made out of Soy. It is safe to burn.

SteveT
07-07-2011, 01:23 AM
That "ink" on newspaper is made out of Soy. It is safe to burn.

Thank you!!

SteveT