How Can I Tell the Difference Between Hickory and Oak?

favicon

hickory trees 300x225If you just bought a load of mixed hardwood and want to tell the difference between oak and hickory, you are not alone. A lot of people want to tell them apart but don’t know what strategy to use to reach their goal.

You have likely tried looking at the bark to decide the type of wood with which you are dealing, but a visual inspection is not the best option because hickory and oak are similar in appearance. In this guide, you will learn a trick that works with 100 percent accuracy when you want to tell these two types of wood apart, but you will also discover what kind of wood to use for your desired flavor. Continue reading

Can I Use Sawdust to Smoke Meat?

favicon

sawdust 300x225If you have ever cut wood for barbecue and noticed the pile of sawdust on the ground, you are likely wondering if you can use sawdust when smoking meat. The simple answer is that sawdust of the right type can add plenty of rich flavor to the meat you cook on the grill. This guide explores some of the top ways you can use sawdust to cook meat of which anyone would be proud. Whether you are having a private cookout with your family or hosting a neighborhood barbecue, these tips will serve you well. Continue reading

When I smoke with a wood fire, should I leave the bark on or remove it?

favicon

meat and vegetables on a large grill 300x225This is one of those questions that’s under continuous debate by smoke- and grill-masters. When you plan to use wood for smoking, does it matter whether or not the bark is still attached?

Some claim that it doesn’t matter, that the bark won’t impart any off-flavors at all. Others report a slightly bitter taste when the food has been smoked with bark-on wood. There’s also an in-between group that will peel the bark off if it’s easy to remove or peeling off already, but will otherwise leave it alone. Finally, there are some who say that they never thought about it either way. Continue reading

Three Sure-fire Fire-Starting Methods

favicon

fire starting teepee 200x300Whether burning wood for a campfire, barbecue or in a wood stove, starting a wood fire is not as hard as some people make it. Man has been starting wood fires to cook and provide warmth since the beginning of time. Here are three standard ways that work:

* The Tepee method: best for campfires or large grills
* Parallel Logs method: best for grills, fireplace or wood stoves
* Top Down method: best for wood stoves or tight spaces with little access Continue reading

What You Should Know about Barbecuing with Pecan Wood

favicon

pecans hanging on a tree 300x201While some pit-masters and hobbyist cooks are perfectly fine with using pecan wood for smoking, the idea that an excessive use of pecan wood while smoking and barbecuing leads to a pervasive odor within the meat its used to smoke is nonsense. Some of those aforementioned pit-masters will exclusively stick to pecan wood and all without it overpowering all the other seasonings and flavors that are being smoked into whatever cut of meat was placed within that individual’s smoker. Continue reading

Tips on Buying and Storing Firewood

favicon

firewood burner 300x208Burning firewood to heat our homes has been around since our ancestors first discovered fire. But in case you’re new to this heating alternative, here’s some general information and tips on using and storing firewood you might like to know from somebody who’s cut, sold, and burned firewood all of his life.

Types of Firewood/Cost

Firewood prices can vary, depending on where you live and your winter climate. Not all wood burns the same, and because of this they put out different amounts of BTUs (British Thermal Units). The more BTUs, the higher the price will be. Hardwoods, such as oak, hickory, and hard maple burn slowly and generally produce a lot of heat. They’re also more dense, and thus heavier than softwoods. Oak is one of the more popular types, and it can be found almost everywhere in the U.S. One of the drawbacks to hardwoods is they can be hard to start. Continue reading

Where To Find The Perfect Wood For Your Barbecue

favicon

stacked mesquite wood 300x225When barbecuing, the most common woods people look for are Oak, Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, Pecan, Apple, Alder, and Cherry, but what if you already know what kind of wood you want and just need to know where to find it?

Finding good wood for barbecue isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Most of the time, when people look for wood to barbecue with, the wood is purchased from a firewood dealer or a dealer who specializes in the sale of wood for burning. Dealers are not the only option. If you don’t have a good local firewood supplier, they can be hard to find, or just not carry good firewood. Try some of these other options if you don’t have a reliable source of quality wood for your barbecue: Continue reading

How Do I Start My Wood or Charcoal Fire?

favicon

fire starting teepee 200x300Fire is the cornerstone of any smoking experience. The burning wood pro­vides the heat that cooks the meat and the smoke that flavors it. Building your fire correctly is an important step in making excellent barbecue, and there are several methods you can use to start a fire.

1. Tee-pee Method with Kindling

The traditional method of fire building is known as the tee-pee method. This simple combination of kindling and wood is useful for pit smokers and campfires alike. The idea is simple; a vertical cone of wood surrounds a pile of kindling. The vertical shape of the tee-pee allows the fire to naturally grow upward. This method is effective because it allows for a high level of airflow to feed the flames. Continue reading

Can I Use Old Dead Limbs for Smoking?

favicon

barbecue fire 300x225Cherry, ash, hickory, mesquite, apple, oak, peach and pecan—the list of woods you can use for smoking goes on and on. The fact that there is such a wide range of woods suitable for smoking means that, if you’re lucky, you might just have a tree on your property that will work perfectly the next time you plan on making a deliciously smoky brisket or pork butt. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to use any old wood branches you get out of your yard as it’s important to make sure the wood is in proper condition before putting it in your smoker. While there are better wood sources available, if you want to take the risk go ahead.

In this sense, you might be wondering whether those limbs you trimmed out of your apple, oak or other tree a few years ago are still suitable. To answer this question, it’s necessary to look in greater detail at the characteristics that make a piece of wood good for smoking. Continue reading

Understanding BTU Content in Smoking Woods

favicon

stacked wood burning 300x201The key to understanding the BTU content in wood is all about understanding density.

Remember the old trick question, “Which weighs more: one ton of bricks or one ton of feathers”? The answer, of course, is that they weigh the same, one ton is one ton. But it would take a lot more feathers to create one ton of weight than it would bricks because of the difference in density between the two objects. Continue reading