View Full Version : Cooking over wood-which woods best?

03-14-2008, 11:28 AM
When I talk about cooking over wood, I mean placing a grate over a wood fire or wood coals, and cooking hamburger, steak, or some other meat.

In general, cooking over most woods is ok and will not give your food a bad taste. However I think I used green pine once, and it gave the food a bad flavor. Is it true not to use green pine, but if the pine is very dry it is ok?

Any other experience about woods to avoid when using for cooking?

03-14-2008, 11:36 AM
I think the secret to cooking with wood bulrush is to get the fire hot, build up coals and have no flames or smoke. I cook with Hemlock, Pine and Spruce and have had no off tastes.

I build a fire in a open pit and transfer the coals to my Big Green Egg grille.



03-14-2008, 12:03 PM
Looks tasty Brag Survivor. Woods that are popular in the NW coast for cooking directly over the fire and smoking fish and meat - Alder and Cedar. Other woods that work great are the Oaks for grilling. I stay away from the Pines because generally they are loaded with resin and produce a dark smoke which covers your food with a heavy film.
Willow is also a great wood for your "bread on a stick", and for quick low smoke fires.

Many of the white oak family out west were made into charcoal for commercial use.

03-14-2008, 12:45 PM
Looks pretty good bragg, I have used ceder and maple and got a nice flavor but like hickory the best.

03-14-2008, 01:13 PM
Your absolutely spoiled Beo, I use wood from my property but to spoil ourselves I sometimes use that "exotic" wood when they bring it in at the local BBQ shack. :D

03-14-2008, 01:17 PM
i'm really fond of western redcedar for pork.

i found a few sticks of eucalyptus in with my oak added something nice to teriyaki turkey

03-14-2008, 01:21 PM
Hickory is my favorite followed closely by oak. but I like apple (especially with poultry. It turns the skin a nice brown - and pork!) and cherry as well. Mesquite for a nice western taste but I have to buy that.

If you want to try something different, try grapevine. It's great with game and other meats. It has a tart but nice fruity flavor. Another neat one is mulberry. If you cook with mulberry you'll have all the kids standing around because it smells just like cotton candy!

03-14-2008, 01:29 PM
Hey Rick,
We have quite a few wild cherry trees around here, is that what you are referring to? Or are you referring to a domesticated cherry tree wood?

03-14-2008, 01:33 PM
You can use either one. Personally, I think wild cherry is probably the best all around wood for smoking you can use!

03-14-2008, 01:36 PM
all cherry is cherry [pun intended].

03-14-2008, 03:25 PM
The pine will be ok if it's dry and you're burning a hot fire bulrush, I've never had a problem with it, green is another story, lots of resin. I've used pines, spruce, birch, poplar. I only use poplar when it's really dry too.

03-14-2008, 03:31 PM
That Canid is just a linguistic virtuoso. Pun intended, indeed! (nice one!).

03-14-2008, 03:34 PM
Hey canid, he called you a linguistic virtuouso, are you gonna take that crap dude?

03-14-2008, 04:16 PM
No, I called him a virtuoso not a virtuouso. I think the latter is a guy that cuts through a gas station to avoid a traffic light. Oh, wait a minute. That's an EssoAsso. I'm not sure what a virtuouso is.

Eagles Talon
03-14-2008, 04:39 PM
I use apple wood, i got one growing in my garden, but i would use most woods

03-16-2008, 11:21 PM
in my humble expeince: the wood you have at hand is the best.

03-17-2008, 07:21 AM
virtual ouzo? you drink that at sham weddings?

03-17-2008, 11:03 AM
My take on cooking over wood.
Wood Characteristics To My Tastes
Apple: Slightly sweet, fruity smoke that is mild , but capable of flavoring bacon
Cherry: Slightly sweet, fruity smoke that is mild , but capable of flavoring bacon
Hickory: Strong hearty taste
Oak: Strong, earthy smoke for a robust bacon
Maple: Sweet smoke, good for bacon you will eat with pancakes

03-17-2008, 11:08 AM
What exactually is a domestic tree? Was it wild and you tamed it and it nw lives in your house?

03-17-2008, 12:13 PM
and the Twinkie nator caught my spelling error, oh bully for him. I'd say that makes Rick something of a linguist himself, actually I think it makes him a really cunning linguist.

03-17-2008, 12:14 PM

03-17-2008, 12:14 PM
(checks online references and massive library of puns)...... Oh,yea. Cool. Thanks, Bro.

03-17-2008, 12:20 PM
yes, cunning linguism is a proud endeavor but i can't help think of that SNL sketch with the Walken.

03-17-2008, 12:21 PM
Yeah, I know the one you mean canid, it's hilarious.

03-17-2008, 12:38 PM
if correct spelling is important i may be in trouble - i can't spell or type well. good luck with reading my posts.

03-17-2008, 12:59 PM
this is a test. you will be docked points for spelling errors and illegible penmanship...

03-17-2008, 01:50 PM
Colonel Angus.


White out is available should you need it. Erasers are extra.

03-17-2008, 02:39 PM


03-17-2008, 02:48 PM
oak is my fav , then hickory , then pine (if im cooking a gamey meat)

03-17-2008, 02:51 PM
marcraft: you ever try cedar?

i wouldn't cook over exclusively cedar, unless it was burnt down completely to charcoal [the resins are pretty pungent/astringent], but it's great.