View Full Version : Newbie here - Questions about wood

09-09-2011, 10:56 PM
I'm in northeast Alabama. There are LOTS of trees down due to recent tornadoes and tropical storms. I have people offering me oak and hickory. I've already accumulated 2 chevy truck loads of hickory.

Should I get some oak also?
Should I always mix oak (70%) with hickory (30%) or would the hickory be overbearing if I use it 100%?

I'm definitely going to get pecan and fruit wood if it's offered.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.

09-09-2011, 11:09 PM
I'd say get whatever you can if it's free and create yourself a nice stockpile of dried woods to use.

09-09-2011, 11:09 PM
Depends on what you like to cook. I like oak and pecan for brisket. I use hickory for pork and sometimes for chicken. Hickory is definitely a strong wood, a little goes a long way for me. Never hurts to get some while you can though. If you end up not liking the taste of a certain wood you can always give it away free on craigslist.

09-09-2011, 11:13 PM
I like to mix oak and hickory at about 80% oak and 20% hickory. Works really well. Don't pass up oak. It's also good by itself. So, yes, go for it!

Use oak for heat and hickory for smoke. But, oak for heat and smoke works good too.

09-10-2011, 01:53 AM
Oak is especially good for beef.

09-10-2011, 02:03 AM
I wish I had a situation like that! Oak is great. Hickory is my go-to, but I love 'em all. As mentioned already, I tend to go for the oak when doing beef. If I'm worrying about hitting the grub too hard with smoke, I'll start using apple or just even some lump. I've been loving pecan with chicken lately.

09-10-2011, 02:24 AM
Oak is one of the best woods for bbq. It burns hot and long, has a nice mild smoke to it mixed with the hickory would be excellent

09-10-2011, 06:54 AM
Yes.......yes........and yes! :heh:


09-10-2011, 07:04 AM
I would get as many varieties as you can and stockpile them- or participate in the brethren exchange.
I have a 10' long row of split wood beside my smoker and I chunk it as I need. I have cherry, oak,apple, hickory, maple and pear. My hickory is local(rare) and not near as strong a smoke flavor as your southern hickory. I really enjoy the taste and smell of southern hickory and the power of your mesquite wood. and pecan.... ummm!

My point is that its good to have a nice variety on hand so you can cook to your groceries or to your guests. When its just us guys, they all love the heavy smoke. For the girls I will use the lighter smoking fruit woods.

09-10-2011, 08:14 AM
Sounds like you hit the jackpot. You can use either 100% oak or 100% hickory, and it won't be overpowering. Mix them if you like, it's purely a matter of taste. For most people hickory works well on everything. Oak is usually associated with beef, I think mainly because of a texas connection, and it's pretty pungent. No rules though. Have fun.


09-10-2011, 08:23 AM
I'm originally from North central Alabama and hickory is my favorite smoking wood, just by itself for pork. I hadn't used oak until a few years ago but MAN what it does to beef! Grab both while you can!

09-10-2011, 10:19 AM
I use pecan all the time & love it.

09-10-2011, 10:33 AM
Grab some hickory, cut it up, and send me some chunks of Alabaman hickory :-D

Dave Russell
09-10-2011, 10:59 AM
Both are just fine if your smoke is burning sweet, but I'd prefer the straight hickory for only pork butts. We smoked a bunch of leg quarters last weekend with nothing but oak and the flavor was incredible, so it does great by itself with yardbird, just like beef. Also I'll second or third the hickory/oak combo that works on anything.

Be sure to use bricks to keep the wood off the ground and it'll be good for quite a while.

09-10-2011, 01:38 PM
Pecan is unusable, and dangerous to handle. Send it to me and I'll get rid of it for you. PM me and I'll give you my address.

09-10-2011, 03:38 PM
Grab as much as possible. Horde it and believe you will live forever. Only thing is it must be seasoned and dry. You might have to wait until next year.

09-10-2011, 03:52 PM
There is a restaurant in Nipomo California called Jockos. It's my favorite steak house in California. All they use to cook with there is oak in an open fire pit. Wish I had some. You gotta love oak!

09-10-2011, 04:20 PM
I'll dry it for you if you send me some !!!

09-10-2011, 04:26 PM
Let me say "thank you" to all of you who posted here. Twinsfan, I'd be happy to send you some hickory, but you can buy it in stores and online for $2/lb. I can't ship it for that price.
MORE QUESTIONS: Can you really taste the difference if you cook with 100% oak vs. 100% hickory? Can you explain the taste? Thanks.

Lake Dogs
09-10-2011, 04:29 PM
Yes, there's a difference. I mix oak and hickory, but it's 90% hickory 10% oak. Oak has a type of *bite* in the flavor, IMHO. However, it's not a bad bite. I know of plenty of people using 100% of either with very good success. They're both good. Sure wish I had your troubles with wood though. Cords of hickory down here usually run around $200, and that's IF you can find someone who knows hickory from sweetgum....

09-10-2011, 05:05 PM
I personally don't like to get to much wood at one time for smoking because I like it a bit greener than most but if you have a fireplace by all means get as much as you can, Hickory in the fireplace on a crisp winter night is a fantastic smell. I just came up from the basement awhile ago got my chainsaw ready to go out tomorrow and cut up some wood, some for smoking and some for the fireplace, looking forward to it. I use lump with 100% Hickory but am thinking of trying some oak lately maybe mixing it up. I think most lump is primarily oak of some kind.

09-11-2011, 07:17 AM
It looks like it been covered already, but I'll post my .02 worth.

I almost always use 100% Oak in my stickburner only because it can be hard to find hickory around me. I have also thrown in apple, cherry, mesquite etc on the rare occasion that I have it.

I just found a local source for Hickory so will be getting some of that soon and running oak for heat and the hickory for a different flavor. I've smoked everything from brisket to pork to moinks on oak and never had a complaint.

Some people say they don't like the smell, but after eating the meat they LOVE the taste.

09-11-2011, 04:20 PM
All I can tell you is what I use, which is a lot of hickory and I mix in what else I have at the time....oak, cherry, pecan...whatever I can get my hands on.
I cant really tell you the difference in taste, because taste is a subjective thing. What you like someone else wont.
All you can do is experiment. Use what you normally would but throw in some oak and see what you think.

09-11-2011, 06:49 PM
You shouldn't have to allow it to season very long at all, if any, if it was blown down with the tornados that happened on April 27 of this year. Make sure you don't get the rotten or insect infested stuff. Just cut it up and keep it off the ground and away from the house.

God bless,

09-11-2011, 07:06 PM
It's kinda like beer. Over time you will figure out which smoking wood you like best. Personally, I like Pecan and oak but I wouldn't turn down free hickory.