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Thread: Wood for smoking meat

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    Default Wood for smoking meat

    Where is the best place to get wood for smoking meat? All I can find are small wood chunks, they work OK, but I would like toget some bigger chunks of wood that last longer in the smoker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-Raptor View Post
    Where is the best place to get wood for smoking meat? All I can find are small wood chunks, they work OK, but I would like toget some bigger chunks of wood that last longer in the smoker.
    I don't recall the specifics re. quantity, etc., but it used to be that you could harvest 'X' amount of wood (other than for larger quantities of firewood) from some State lands for crafts, (to include non-commercial smoking) without a permit. They may have transitioned to some form of a free permit for this purpose, per a recent dsicussion with DNR.

    I looked into this question a while back, specifically for green alder, as the area on a friend's land I'd been harvesting from was getting thin from some of my past fish smoking efforts, and I wanted to find a new area where my relatively small amount of cutting wouldn't have quite as pronounced or visible of an impact.

    We use green alder, (as opposed to creek or river alder), and fell it immediately before smoking. My family typically sits around in a circle in lawn chairs in the yard with pocket knives, etc., peeling the bark off, while the fish glazes after brining, immediately before smoking.


    It's been fine wood for our smoking purposes.

    Don't know if that's what you had in mind or not.

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    Not really what I had in mind. I'm cooking a 12 pound brisket for tomorrow and was looking for bigger chunks of wood than I can get at Tru-Value, but they go have a good selection there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-Raptor View Post
    Not really what I had in mind. I'm cooking a 12 pound brisket for tomorrow and was looking for bigger chunks of wood than I can get at Tru-Value, but they go have a good selection there.
    I have had the same problems lately. I had to go to three places before I found some at Freddies. Walmart in their outdoor section next to the charcoal sometimes has them. I've bought some at sportsmans also. When both of those places were out I finally found nice sized chunks at Freddies. Good Luck, I think most places have been selling out pretty quick which is why I bought three bags last time I found some.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-Raptor View Post
    Not really what I had in mind. I'm cooking a 12 pound brisket for tomorrow and was looking for bigger chunks of wood than I can get at Tru-Value, but they go have a good selection there.
    I don't understand why this wouldn't be "what you have in mind"...??? Alder grows all over up here and some of it is very large. You could cut up all kinds of big chunks. All it would take is finding it, a saw, and a little elbow grease.

    And to "ruffle" so you always remove the bark? I asked before and some do and some don't it seems. I've always wondered if it makes much of a difference. Does the "green" bark give off and unpleasant tasting smoke in your opinion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I don't understand why this wouldn't be "what you have in mind"...??? Alder grows all over up here and some of it is very large. You could cut up all kinds of big chunks. All it would take is finding it, a saw, and a little elbow grease.

    And to "ruffle" so you always remove the bark? I asked before and some do and some don't it seems. I've always wondered if it makes much of a difference. Does the "green" bark give off and unpleasant tasting smoke in your opinion?
    Ruffle is right, and removing the bark does make a difference because the bark on alder makes meat and fish taste a little bitter. However, I didn't know that there was much difference in alders. Generally I just cut whatever alder grows by the side of the road. And yes, it can be chiiped up on a chopping block for use in a smoker or BBQ.

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    if you find someone running alder through a chipper/shredder to get rid of it....
    it works great.
    got to be carefull and not get too much bark, but the bark seems to burn faster anyway- so I start the chips burning separetly then dampen and add to my smoker.

    It works for me.

    Chris

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    Creek Alder or River Alder has a reddish layer between the bark and the 'flesh' of the tree, and bleeds red when cut or peeled. The learning from others and reading I did over the years specified what was called Green Alder for smoking.

    Years ago the folks who taught me to use fresh-felled alder for smoking told me to peel it for the reasons sayak wrote; it's alleged that there's a subtle bitter taste imparted by the bark.

    And, as 4mreguide wrote, some of it grows quite thick. You can find bases of older Green Alder that are near 6-8" across. They'll burn hot and long as larger pieces (such as I use in my hot smoker), without the ash issues that old river-bank cottonwood has when it's used for making cold-smoked strips.

    I've never tried chipping it to use it as a flavoring in other faster smoking/barbecuing, but I don't know of any reason why it wouldn't work.

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    For large chunks of wood like hickory or mesquite from home depot. I wouldn't use alder for brisket either, alder is mild for brisket.

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    I plan on driving up one day, should I cut a bunch of Hickory and Oak and bring it up?

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    Having said all that re: the bark on alder, I see a place that does BBQ on the Spur Highway (Blackjacks) that is burning whole pieces of unskinned alder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Having said all that re: the bark on alder, I see a place that does BBQ on the Spur Highway (Blackjacks) that is burning whole pieces of unskinned alder.
    Really.... I wonder if it's green or not? When we talked about it on the forum awhile back, I think there were a couple guys that said they left the bark on. I've left it on before as well, but it was dead and really dry. I didn't notice any undesirable taste. Which place is "Blackjacks"....that place in Kenai at the light across from the visitors center?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    You can get mesquite in 50 lb bags from Mikes meats in Eagle River, at least you could a few years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kantill View Post
    For large chunks of wood like hickory or mesquite from home depot. I wouldn't use alder for brisket either, alder is mild for brisket.
    To me, mild or strong depends on how much you smoke. I've had pretty strong alder when I've smoked things a little too long or used too much smoke.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    BTW.....I saw big chunks of mesquite and apple for sale in Home Depot yesterday...
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I can't add much here either but I put in a vote for cutting alder out of a ditch where you can choose the size you prefer. I peel it right away as it peels very easily at that time. I cut fairly long lengths and peel it then I cut it to length with a skill saw or whatever you choose. I use an old refrigerator smoker that I built years ago with a side burner from an old gas grill for a heat source. I put the green wood in a cast iron skillet and sprinkle just a few dry chips in with the green to get things smoldering. Works for me.

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