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View Full Version : Apple wood for smokers/barbecue - Questions



JBreeze
08-14-2013, 07:10 PM
I picked up several 12" diameter 20" long CRAB apple logs, with the intention of drying them for at least 6 months, then cutting them into chucks for grilling and smoking.

Searching the internet, there doesn't seem to be a consensus of "bark on" vs "bark off". There doesn't seem to a difference between apple and crab apple for smoking.
I'll split, then cut off 1" on each end in case of oil contamination from the chain saw.

Any other suggestions? Heartwood vs. Sapwood?

90% will be cut up and given away next summer to avid outdoor cooking folks...I'd like to deliver a decent quality product.

Thanks

Mrleft8
08-15-2013, 08:09 AM
No bark. Bark can contribute an "acrid" flavor. Don't bother with trimming off the ends. Heartwood will burn slower, sapwood will impart more "sweetness". All in all, it won't mater much. Apple and Crab Apple are both good smoker woods. Cherry is my favorite though.
You'll want to cut your logs into 2" thick rounds (I like to think of them as "steaks") then split those into 1/2" thick by 1" wide 2" long mini planks.
I wouldn't bother aging them for 6 months either. Once you split them down that small they'll dry in a day or two anyway, and then they'll need to be soaked before being used anyway.

JBreeze
08-15-2013, 08:25 AM
Thanks...I'll find my draw knife and get to work on the bark.

Paul Pless
08-15-2013, 08:28 AM
Thanks...I'll find my draw knife and get to work on the bark.yikes

pkrone
08-15-2013, 08:29 AM
Maybe you should hold out for an opinion from a true Southerner.

LeeG
08-15-2013, 08:37 AM
Maybe you should hold out for an opinion from a true Southerner.

Does it involve a can of beer?

Mrleft8
08-15-2013, 08:47 AM
Thanks...I'll find my draw knife and get to work on the bark.

Ah.............. Artisinal smoker chunks.....
I'd just chop it off as you do your splitting.... It's not that fine an art.
The most effective way to produce smoker chips is to toss the skinned logs into a wood chipper, and put a net "onion bag" over the chute.

pkrone
08-15-2013, 08:53 AM
Chips, schmips... What you really need is a smoker that burns the entire log. That's a real smoker. I'm partial to pecan and oak. I find the mesquite gives to strong a flavor and gives me heartburn. I sure wish I could get my hands on a cord of apple, though.

leikec
08-15-2013, 10:33 AM
The early iPads have to be soaked in water much longer before use...

Jeff C

Gib Etheridge
08-15-2013, 12:01 PM
Some smokers work better with chips, some work better with nuggets. If yours works well with chips you can just split them down to 2" planks then run them across the jointer with a coarse setting as you need them. The last bits that are too small to joint safely get made into nuggets and mixed with the chips. I don't like the acrid taste imparted by the bark either. I have found that smoking with green wood produces that same taste, and like Lefty said, you'll want to soak them first to keep them from burning up too fast. I do like to let a few pieces get cooked by using a dry mix though, just for eating right out of the smoker while still hot. A bit of Cajin or Montreal steak spice mix rubbed into slits on the surface in combination with brown sugar is a real treat that way. I'm talking about smoked salmon.

JBreeze
08-15-2013, 03:33 PM
Thank you to those who wrote some useful comments - much appreciated!

I dodged one bullet, as one of the probable beneficiaries replied in an email that he will take the log as is...no cutting.

Apple wood chunks are only about $1/lb retail, so I'm not going to go through too much trouble.

As for myself, I'll keep 5 lbs of chunks to try, but I don't have epicurean tastes... I'm happy with a hot dog impaled on the end of a branch, cooked over an open fire. My preference for smoke is some Virginia golden mixed with Kentucky burley and some oriental.

The nicest of the logs measures 10+ inches in diameter at the narrowest point, and 16" long....if there is a wood turner in the house who plans to visit the Newport, RI area and wants this, please let me know in the next week or so...I'll be willing to hang on to it for several months if necessary. Probably weighs ~ 40 lbs.

Be the 1st on your block to have an Apple iLog!

http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x92/jbreeze_albums/IMG_8952_zpsbfdbb00c.jpg

pkrone
08-16-2013, 08:46 AM
Why does your apple log have a Bosc pear in the center? Heh. Nice looking wood, though.

JBreeze
08-16-2013, 07:44 PM
Why does your apple log have a Bosc pear in the center? ...

Dunno...a transgendered fruit with an identity crisis? :d

Mrleft8
08-16-2013, 07:55 PM
Avacado....

jclays
08-18-2013, 11:47 AM
Have not used apple. Have used Plum and Avocado when I prune my trees. I don't remove the bark. Once lit by the time I put the meat or fish that I want to smoke in the smoker the bark has already burnt off. Haven't had any off tastes from the remaining bark during the smoking.

Mrleft8
08-18-2013, 12:55 PM
I think the bark thing has more relevance with Oak..... Tannins and acid etc.
The Malus varieties tend towards sweet in any case.

cooperg
08-21-2013, 07:02 PM
Thanks Mrleft8, been smoking sugar maple branches with young bark for years because that's where the xylem & phloem are located , hence that's where the Sugar is located... It browns the chicken skin & makes it taste sweet.

Spin_Drift
08-29-2013, 12:54 AM
Such a great little thread. I don't know how I missed it earlier.

It would be really interesting if any of you would like to contribute your favorite smoking recipes. (If JBreeze don't mind the thread drift.)

I've never smoked meat yet, but I do smoke salmon, make Squaw Candy, and cold smoke my lox. :)

David W Pratt
08-29-2013, 10:48 AM
I've got two beer can chic nicely so far

Sgali
08-29-2013, 11:12 AM
I would like to add another technique to this discussion. I don't soak my chips . What ! Blasphemy !
Here is why. When you place the soaked chips or chunks on a live fire, the water in it turns to steam and mixes with the charcoal dust on your fuel. This in turn rises up and coats your food with ash. Is that really what you want to eat?
Instead , I wrap the dry chips in tin foil , then poke a few holes in it. That way the chips produce smoke in the oxygen deprived environment , the result being more charcoal. I use chips from chainsaw cutting. Apple , Pear and of course Hickory are all good , but my favorite is Pecan. If you don't like the foil part, there are small cast iron boxes made for this purpose.
I may not be a true Southerner but after 27 years in NC , at the very least , I feel that am on the path to citisenship (misspelled, I know. The last letter of the alphabet does not work on this keyboard).

BETTY-B
08-29-2013, 02:19 PM
I've really been enjoying the sweet smoke of plum these last couple years. So much so that a lifetime supply of it has somehow come into my life. Time to thaw some pork ribs!

Paul Pless
08-30-2013, 08:09 PM
When you place the soaked chips or chunks on a live fire, the water in it turns to steam and mixes with the charcoal dust on your fuel. This in turn rises up and coats your food with ash. Is that really what you want to eat?

you are over-thinking things a bit. . .

the very best barbecue that anyone on this green earth will ever have is cooked in open pits where the hardwood fire is maintained separately, and the coals from this fire is shoveled into the open pits; there is as you imagine some ash. . .

here's an historic image for your edification

http://media.salon.com/2008/08/the_dark_history_of_burned_flesh.jpg