View Full Version : Identify wood for smoking

05-21-2014, 09:25 AM
Hi all, I haven't been on here in a long time.

So I have several acres on my property, and huge piles of firewood from downed trees. I don't want to buy wood chunks for my UDS anymore.

Can anyone point me to a resource for identifying wood types from the bark? Pictures, etc? I must not have paid enough attention in Cub Scouts...


Blythewood BBQ'er
05-21-2014, 09:51 AM
I got alot of referencesfoff Google. Down here alot of the universities have forestry programs and have a ton of good pics and drawings. Those are great resources. I had some links in my smartphone, but unfortunately it had an incident a couple of weeks ago and lost them.

05-21-2014, 10:11 AM
sooo many online sources

here is one I found with a quick search


05-21-2014, 11:06 AM

05-21-2014, 12:44 PM

Not very helpful, but maybe a little humorous.

05-21-2014, 01:25 PM
This may help http://www.oplin.org/tree/

Uncle Drew
05-21-2014, 02:18 PM
You can always take pictures and post them here. Any leaves still attached? That makes it a lot easier.

05-21-2014, 02:37 PM
Can anyone point me to a resource for identifying wood types from the bark? Thanks

This is known as winter dendrology, though the trees are usually still standing. If you know where the trees fell, look at the trees around that area that are still living and compare their barks.

05-21-2014, 02:55 PM
I think you need to start by nowing whats not suitable.
Then you can sort into a not suitable & maybe pile.
Leaves would be the best indication, followed by any flowering or buds. Can be difficult by bark alone.
In general conifers / softwoods are bad.
Also try & find some resources for your area to see what kind of trees can be found.

If you can get a list of the tree varieties, then cross the conifers off the list, you should be left with a few you can concentrate on looking for.

Papa Q
05-21-2014, 03:06 PM
ID your hickory trees and your oak trees and let these two be your main supply. The internet is the best resource for doing the ID and once you get use to seeing them you'll know them. If the wood is already split, it may be harder. I can usually tell the difference between an oak and hickory split but they can sure look alike as well.

05-22-2014, 08:53 AM
Yeah, that's the issue. These logs have all been cut into firewood now. No leaves, no fruit/nuts remaining. So I was hoping to go just by the bark.

I have 10+ cords of firewood logs, I figured there must be something suitable for smoking in there, maybe not.

05-22-2014, 09:24 AM
do a test

cut some up and smoke a nekid fatty with it

you will know shortly if its good or not

05-22-2014, 10:16 AM
If you would try to take some close up pictures of the splits, longitudinal and end, we can make a stab at it. Oak has rays that emminate from the center out, radially. Red oak is normally redder than white oak but both with possess these "rays". If you have hickory in CT some of them are of the shagbark variety, they have long strips of bark that release leaving sometimes 2 to 3 ' pieces hanging. Hickory will have no "rays" will be kind of a lighter color , like sledge hammer handles you've seen. They do not split very easily and once you try to split them with hand tools you'll know what i am talking about.

What types of trees are there likely in your wood pile? Knowing what is likely should help us help you. No pictures, no likely species and we're shooting in the dark.

05-22-2014, 11:31 AM
I have another question, not an answer. I live in the southeast, and my biggest problem is distinguishing oak from sweet gum after it has been split. I have looked at a bunch of pictures of both, but still can't tell them apart. It seems that some of it depends on the age of the tree. Does anyone have any tips on this specifically?

Uncle Drew
05-22-2014, 12:48 PM
Sweet gum twists while it grows, but why would you ever split it? Makes terrible firewood and the chip mills won't even touch it.

05-22-2014, 12:57 PM
On the sweetgum vs oak topic, oak will have rays when you look at the end grain, and sweatgum is much less dense than oak so considerably lighter.

05-22-2014, 06:01 PM
Best tree ID site IMHO-