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Wood Choices for BBQ: Preparing your Wood

By: Michael Capecci


How to Prepare Your Wood for the Smoker 

Next time you need to chop or prune a tree in your yard, do yourself a favor and burn the wood in your smoker. Using your own wood can give you a unique flavor that you won’t get from popular wood chip brands like Smokehouse. 

Unfortunately, there’s a little bit of doing before you can effectively use your new wood for smoking. Here are three steps for preparing wood for the smoker. 

1.Remove bark and chop your wood into chips or chunks

Whether you choose chunks or chips, make sure to remove as much bark as possible. Bark burns faster and blacker, and can compromise the flavor of your meet. Chips are better than chunks in most cases, but chipping your wood can be time consuming. Access to a wood chipping machine will make this process a lot easier. 

2. Dry your wood

Depending on the age and health of your tree before cutting it down, you may find that your chips are too wet to produce enough smoke. Letting your chips sit in the sun for a week or two will help them dry from the outside in. It’s important to keep an eye on your chips, and bring them inside over night. Early morning dew has the potential to destroy your chips by forming mold. 

3. Lightly soak your wood, and throw it into the smoker

This may seem counter-intuitive after all the time you spent drying your wood, but giving your chips a nice surface level soak right before burning can make a huge difference in your smoke’s flavor. A light soaking allows your wood to burn slower, creating a light smoke that doesn’t end up overpowering your other flavors. 

Your mileage may vary with different types of wood, but chopped down trees and branches from your yard can be awesome fuel for your smoker. Smoking your own wood is a sure way to cultivate a flavor you won’t find anywhere else. 

If you can’t find local wood in your neighborhood, there are many shops online that will ship it to you for free!

Try BigPoppa’ they run sales all the time!

Michael is a Writer and Barbecue Aficionado from New Lenox, Illinois sharing lots of ideas and his experiences with Barbecue.

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