Author Topic: Oak Wood  (Read 865 times)

Ken

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Oak Wood
« on: March 02, 2020, 12:03:22 PM »
I found a box of oak in my garage.  The pieces are 7-2oz each and they've been in an unheated garage for over 20 years.  The wood was new and dry from a lumber yard and I never used it for it's intended project so now I thought I could smoke with it.  The garage was not a bone dry environment so my question is about moisture.  Should I cut it into pieces and try it as is or soak them a bit first?

LarryD

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2020, 02:39:45 AM »
It sounds like you have enough of it to do both and report back to us.  :)  I've always used box store wood which is commonly low moisture and never had a problem with it.  I suspect it would work fine either way...
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NDKoze

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2020, 01:00:35 PM »
Like Larry said, since you have enough I would maybe do some tests.

Most of the issues with dry big-box wood can be dealt with by taking a few extra steps:
  • Ramp-Up Method - Start your smoke by running at 150 for the first two heat cycles, which is usually around 45 minutes or so give/take. After I see the second temp decline go down about 5-10 degrees or so, turn up my temperature to my final smoking temp. I don't always watch the heat cycles that closely since I have found that 45 minutes pretty much always works.

    To understand why this works, it is important to understand why we sometimes get combustion. This happens by a combination of dry wood and the constant always on element pumping away until the smoker hits its set temperature. So, this is just pounding away full heat on the wood for 15-30 minutes or so depending on what temp you are smoking at.

    The reason the ramp-up works is that just as the wood starts to get to the point that it could combust, the element shuts off and gives the wood a break from that constant on element. Then, when the element turns on again the wood has already had some heat and isn't as affected by the new heat cycle.

    This is my theory anyway.

  • Foil Boat/Wrap - Putting your wood in a foil boat or wrapping the bottom half of the wood works in a similar way in that it prevents the full blast of the element from affecting the wood even though it doesn't give it a break until after it hits the desired temp.

This biggest thing would be to make sure that there were no chemicals of any kind that were applied to the wood during the kiln drying process.
Gregg - Fargo, ND
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Meatball

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2020, 04:54:24 PM »
Do you have a meter to gauge what the current moisture level is ? That would be a good starting point.
Bobby
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Ken

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2020, 05:15:34 PM »
Thanks for the input.  I have no way to test the moisture so I'm just going to start smoking, probably not until next week.  I'll update at that point.

Limey

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2020, 08:37:58 PM »
Ken if you have a chip screen I would recommend putting it in. If not, many of our members line the smoke box with foil and poke a few holes in it. I use big box wood and have never had any issues with it combusting either at my place in the Florida Keys(high humidity) or in upstate New York(low humidity) but I always leave my chip screen in.
Roger from the Florida Keys.
Two SI#3s, both with switched bypass and Aubers(different locations), Viking, Jenn Aire & five TEC infra red grills. Recently acquired UDS.

Ken

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2020, 11:47:57 PM »
Iím smoking with a model 1 as the little guy cooks all the meat we can eat.  From what Iíve red on this site, too much heat is not much of a problem with itís smaller element.

Ken

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2020, 02:54:59 PM »
I finally got around to trying out my oak wood.  I started with a trip to the lumber yard to confirm that I was cooking with white oak instead of red oak.  For this test, I used a 1.5 pound piece of top round seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and 135IT.  The wood burned beautifully in a foil boat. For such a small piece I used a 1.7oz piece of wood.  It tasted great but maybe the mildest smoke flavor of anything I've smoked.  Next time I'll double that and see what happens.  A trip to Costco meat department this morning led me to their top round.  It was US Prime in about a 5 pound piece at $4.99 per pound.  I'm going to try that next time as family members like a leaner cut.

Retriever

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2020, 05:00:54 PM »
Ken if you have a chip screen I would recommend putting it in. If not, many of our members line the smoke box with foil and poke a few holes in it. I use big box wood and have never had any issues with it combusting either at my place in the Florida Keys(high humidity) or in upstate New York(low humidity) but I always leave my chip screen in.

Do you use your chip screen for chunk wood as well?  Thanks.
Kevin - Galveston, TX
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Ken

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2020, 05:17:17 PM »
1.7oz chunk that seemed to burn perfectly.

Limey

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2020, 03:09:55 PM »
Yes, I leave the chip screen in for everything.
Roger from the Florida Keys.
Two SI#3s, both with switched bypass and Aubers(different locations), Viking, Jenn Aire & five TEC infra red grills. Recently acquired UDS.

Ken

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2020, 05:01:13 PM »
I guess what perplexes me the most is the mild smoke flavor of the oak wood that I used.  I wasn't expecting that.  I know that I used a small piece, 1.7oz,but I was cooking a small piece of meat. Is this just the batch of wood that I have?

Norwester

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2020, 05:43:31 AM »
I've never used oak but I've read that it has a fairly strong flavor.
Jeff from central Oregon

Ken

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Re: Oak Wood
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2020, 06:13:26 PM »
I used Limey's chip screen suggestion today for a pork shoulder.  Both woods burned beautifully and I'm a convert.  The screen yields much more uniform results.  Thanks!