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Wood for the smoker

JayhawkerJayhawker ModeratorPosts: 17,217 Senior Member
Went to pick up some cherry wood for the butt today...They had some chips made from broken up Jack Daniels whisky barrels...I was intrigued but thought I'd check with you all (ya'll - depending on geography) to see if anyone has tried it and what type of meat it would work best with.....
Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"

Replies

  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,160 Senior Member
    Aren't the chips from the Jack Daniels' whiskey barrels white oak? I thought that there was some sort of government mandate that bourbon had to be aged in charred casks made of white ok in order to be considered bourbon.

    As for using cherry, I know that there are those who have preferences for the type of wood to be used for specific meats. I've always used mesquite or pecan, and have no complaints. Never tried cherry.

    Let us know how it goes.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,217 Senior Member
    I like to use fruit wood for pork and fowl...either apple or cherry...and so far the results have been amazing. I've been thinking of trying peach..
    I'm thinking that whiskey impregnated wood might have some distinct possibilities...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,358 Senior Member
    I have tried a few different barrel woods (crown royal, rum and red wine) and they all smelled great while smoking, but did not really change the end product from what I could tell.

    But I will continue to try em!
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Apple, cherry, peach, pecan, and maple are good for most anything you don't want to overpower. Hickory for red meats and pork. I'd stay away from oak, though. Like already said, it can add a bitter taste to meat. Leave the oak for flooring, and making implement handles, although hickory is better for making handles for such tools.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,318 Senior Member
    If store bought, I lean toward sugar maple. But, I've trimmed some fruit trees, and figure I have almost a lifetime supply of peach, apple, cherry, and plum. Had great results with all, and don't even bother to segregate them anymore.

    Hickory and oak are real easy to over do, especially hickory. If I I use oak, it's for pure hot coals, and don't use it for smoking at all.

    I used to like mesquite, but the wife says it smells like dirty socks. Once she put that damned idea in my head, I smell dirty socks, too. I've not quite forgiven her for that.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,358 Senior Member
    Oak can be good if used correctly. You need the thin blue smoke, not the clouds of white.

    Personally, for me... Beef gets mesquite, everything else gets apple.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    I'm partial to Hickory, but that's about all I've used except for the occasional bag of mesquite chips. I soak the wood thoroughly, and toss a few chunks at a time onto a bed of charcoal briquettes when I'm smoking a pork butt. I've also used the Kingsford briquettes with hickory shavings incorporated into them.
    Jerry
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    Aren't the chips from the Jack Daniels' whiskey barrels white oak? I thought that there was some sort of government mandate that bourbon had to be aged in charred casks made of white ok in order to be considered bourbon.

    As for using cherry, I know that there are those who have preferences for the type of wood to be used for specific meats. I've always used mesquite or pecan, and have no complaints. Never tried cherry.

    Let us know how it goes.

    I use Mesquite, Pecan, and Live Oak, because that's what we have here in this area. Up in North East Texas they have hickory and red oak. One time my cousins up there were really into BBQing. They told me they used mainly red oak with a little wet hickory and that if they used too much hickory it made the meat taste strong. I ask them how they were cooking their meat. They were putting wood in the fire box and burning it down while the meat was on the pit. I told them all that oil in the wood was going right into the meat. I told them to burn the hickory down to coals outside the pit and shovel the coals into the pit. This is how we cook with Mesquite and it comes out sweet and good and of course tender.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    snake284 wrote: »
    I use Mesquite, Pecan, and Live Oak, because that's what we have here in this area. Up in North East Texas they have hickory and red oak. One time my cousins up there were really into BBQing. They told me they used mainly red oak with a little wet hickory and that if they used too much hickory it made the meat taste strong. I ask them how they were cooking their meat. They were putting wood in the fire box and burning it down while the meat was on the pit. I told them all that oil in the wood was going right into the meat. I told them to burn the hickory down to coals outside the pit and shovel the coals into the pit. This is how we cook with Mesquite and it comes out sweet and good and of course tender.

    Some kinds of oak are stronger than others, but just like Mesquite and hickory I always burn it down outside the pit and shovel the coals in. I like Live Oak because it is a little bit similar to mesquite and hickory, only it burns cooler. It's good for the long slow cooking necessary for thick cuts of meat like butts and briskets.

    There's 10 ways to skin a cat. Whatever y'all do in Tennessee just keep doing it. Those Ribs Debbie and Steve did this last SE shoot were totally awesome. Never had any that were near as good before or since.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,533 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    Aren't the chips from the Jack Daniels' whiskey barrels white oak? I thought that there was some sort of government mandate that bourbon had to be aged in charred casks made of white ok in order to be considered bourbon.

    As for using cherry, I know that there are those who have preferences for the type of wood to be used for specific meats. I've always used mesquite or pecan, and have no complaints. Never tried cherry.

    Let us know how it goes.
    Jack Daniel's is Tennessee Whiskey. They percolate the raw distillate through maple charcoal prior to putting it in the barrel, a process omitted in bourbon. Sorry, whiskey nerd in action. But yeah, they use charred oak barrels. It's a mandate/requirement required by the distillers to protect their product.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,564 Senior Member
    I've used the JD pellets (Made from the charcoal they filter through mixed with oak)
    http://store.bbqrsdelight.com/pd-jack-daniel-s-smoking-pellets.cfm
    Honestly, I can't tell any difference between them and plain oak pellets
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    The "Jack Daniel's" charcoal that's sold for grilling is actually the used-up maple filtration charcoal, not recycled aging barrels. It supposedly has some of the whiskey aroma left in it. It's mostly a gimmick, I believe. The gift shop at the distillery sells it in small bags for outrageous prices.
    Jerry
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,217 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    The "Jack Daniel's" charcoal that's sold for grilling is actually the used-up maple filtration charcoal, not recycled aging barrels. It supposedly has some of the whiskey aroma left in it. It's mostly a gimmick, I believe. The gift shop at the distillery sells it in small bags for outrageous prices.
    Jerry

    Thanks...I'll stick to what I've been using....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,132 Senior Member
    Jack Daniel's is Tennessee Whiskey. They percolate the raw distillate through maple charcoal prior to putting it in the barrel, a process omitted in bourbon. Sorry, whiskey nerd in action. But yeah, they use charred oak barrels. It's a mandate/requirement required by the distillers to protect their product.
    Technically, Jack Daniels is still a bourbon. Made in USA? Check. Over 50% corn mash? Check. Aged in new charred oak barrels? Check.

    There is no requirement/mandate to protect their product. But legally, they need that new charred oak barrel in order to call it certain names.

    The liquor industry is mostly about 3 things.... the goobrmint gets their money, the customer gets what is described on the label (and there are ways to phrase things that are perfectly legal, but very misleading) and product hype. Lots and lots of hype.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,171 Senior Member
    Best wood I have used for smoking fish is Port barrel staves.................They were about 70 yrs old and had been filled with port for about 60 yrs. Fish came out with a beautiful 'port smokey taste'.

    The secret is to cold smoke them over a period of 12-16hrs so that the temp stays down. It stops any bitter taste from the oak.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    orchidman wrote: »
    Best wood I have used for smoking fish is Port barrel staves.................They were about 70 yrs old and had been filled with port for about 60 yrs. Fish came out with a beautiful 'port smokey taste'.

    The secret is to cold smoke them over a period of 12-16hrs so that the temp stays down. It stops any bitter taste from the oak.

    I bet that was good fish. The best thing I've smoked fish with has been very dry mesquite twigs. Throw some on the coals inside the pit and close it up quick to hold the smoke that will be emitting very soon. If the twigs are real dry they'll start burning pretty quick and they'll be dying out quick. As soon as the fire dies down the smoke comes rolling out. It doesn't last long but if you do it about every 10 minutes or as soon as the smoke dies down, in 30 minutes the fish are thoroughly penetrated with good sweet smoke. I've done this to flounder a lot. They melt in your mouth. I also have the flounder lying on foil that has the edges turned up where it's floating in butter. It seems the butter soaks up the smoke and conveys it into the fish.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior Member Posts: 2,145 Senior Member
    We typically use mesquite as it's what 99% or the trees are on the ranch making it readily available. I love smoking with fruit trees as well as pecan wood. Careful with hickory and oak. We smoked a brisket with hickory 20 some years ago. Woa, we must have used too much in the little Brinkman smoker we had at the time. It was so bad my sons friend "Q" who eats anything wouldn't eat it. It was so strong and sour we thought we could blow smoke rings. I have a much bigger and better smoker now and have used hickory with success on a few occasions. I also mix fruit woods like cherry, peach and apple on ribs.
    Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

    John 3: 1-21
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    I used a home made smoker for about 20 years that took firewood sized sticks in the firebox, and I have used local cut pecan, walnut, hickory, mesquite (from 50 mils west of me), apple, cherry, peach, and plum. Some of my greatest successes were with the same red oak and water oak firewood I use in my wood stove. When I had an orchard I would save some of the the green 'suckers' from the fruit trees and add them onto the hot coals for extra smoke, and that worked fine, although not really any better than straight oak wood. The only real difference I have noticed among all of those woods is with the mesquite, which is my preferred smoking wood.

    Now that I use a store bought electric smoker, I buy mesquite chips and the Jack Daniel's oak, and it satisfies me and mine just fine. The best aromatic improvement I have discovered is to lay fresh rosemary on the grill, for poultry and pork.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    I've found that for a 10 pound Boston butt, about 4-6 hours of time on an offset-firebox smoker with waterlogged hickory chips added to a bed of charcoal briquettes every hour or so gives plenty of smoke flavor without getting bitter or over-smoked, then I finish it off for 5-6 hours in an electric turkey roaster until the internal temperature is close to 200 degrees. It beats staying up all night babysitting the smoker!
    Jerry
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,217 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    I've found that for a 10 pound Boston butt, about 4-6 hours of time on an offset-firebox smoker with waterlogged hickory chips added to a bed of charcoal briquettes every hour or so gives plenty of smoke flavor without getting bitter or over-smoked, then I finish it off for 5-6 hours in an electric turkey roaster until the internal temperature is close to 200 degrees. It beats staying up all night babysitting the smoker!
    Jerry

    This is basically the same way I do mine...works like a charm....The turkey roaster is a great labor saver....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    I also use the electric roaster sometimes, once I have smoked for an hour or so and have a good char on the meat. It is the easiest way to control the roasting of meat. Combine it with one of those wired temp probes that has an alarm, and it is just too easy to cook meats. I also use mine for large quantities fo stew or chili. I finally convinced Mrs. Bisley to make her Thanksgiving dressing in it, like both of our mothers used to do, and I doubt she will ever do it any other way, in the future
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    bisley wrote: »
    I also use the electric roaster sometimes, once I have smoked for an hour or so and have a good char on the meat. It is the easiest way to control the roasting of meat. Combine it with one of those wired temp probes that has an alarm, and it is just too easy to cook meats. I also use mine for large quantities fo stew or chili. I finally convinced Mrs. Bisley to make her Thanksgiving dressing in it, like both of our mothers used to do, and I doubt she will ever do it any other way, in the future

    My mother would make dressing in one of those. Her Corn bread dressing was out of this world and sometimes she would make a kick ass oyster dressing. That was a long time ago.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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