Is all maple good for Smoking and seasoning chips in smoker

by Merl
(Marlton, NJ,USA)

I have two questions. Is all maple wood good for smoking or only sugar maple? I have an electric smoker and was wondering if I can season wood in the water tray of my smoker. If I can how long and at what temp. I have access to maple apple hickory pecan and fig trees.


To answer your question about wood for smoking, I'm a big fan of anyone who wants to experiment with different woods.

The general rule of thumb is to stick with hard woods and avoid the soft woods such as cedar, cypress, eucalyptus, pine, fir, and spruce. There are some exceptions to this rule and these include elm, redwood and sycamore - I would also add birch to this list unless it has been barked.

So whether you choose to use maple or sugar maple, it's fine. Try either with poultry or ham and I think you'll be in for a treat.

When it comes to seasoning wood I prefer to take a more natural approach, admittedly it's a longer process but it's also safer.

We season wood to get the moisture out of it. When wood is freshly cut it is referred to as "green" and it can contain up to 50% water.

You might argue that smoking using green wood is the same as smoking soaked wood chips but it's not. The green wood contains some "nasties" in the sap that will tar up your smoker and for that reason I always prefer to season my wood and then soak it prior to putting it on the coals.

Seasoning wood in your water tray may sound like a great way to accelerate the natural process but it will still tar up your smoker and possibly char the wood. If your wood does char then it's only one stage away from ignition and to me that spells danger.

Use nature's way. Chop up your wood into hunks, store it outside (you don't want termites inside your house) for a year under shelter and then prepare your wood chips. You need to create two silos - one for seasoned wood that you are using and the other for wood that is seasoning. Each year you switch silos.

It might seem like more hassle but once you've got your store prepared and stocked up, it's really easy to maintain.

And finally.....those other woods that have access to (apple hickory pecan and fig) all make great woods for smoking!

See Also:-

Barbecue Wood Chips

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