Wood was traditionally used as a source of heat during the cooking process. Not only does wood burn longer on too many BTUs, but some wood removes certain odors that dissolve in your food and improve their taste. However, modern times have introduced new techniques for cooking and smoking your food.
There are many ways to make delicious and tasty smoked food. These techniques are very easy to use. Seasoning wood involves aging the wood slowly under the right conditions over a long period of time. To learn more about “How To Season Wood For Smoking”, keep reading this article.
What Does Seasoned Wood Mean?
The process of aging and drying the wood is called the seasoning of wood. This refers to wood logs or pieces of wood that are left outside to dry naturally. Therefore, it has just the right amount of moisture needed for smoking and cooking and is considered almost dry.This dry and old wood is also known as smoked wood. A seasoning process can be divided into three parts, drying, aging, and preparation. Drying and aging the wood can be accomplished by air or by kiln-drying. Once the moisture is removed, the wood is much easier to light and burns more evenly.
In addition to being dry, it can also be broken down into different sizes for smoking, such as wood chips, sawdust, or wood pellets for smoking.
How To Season Wood For Smoking On Offset Smoker?
The wood seasoning process requires hardwood hickory, oak, mesquite, maple, or some fruity or nutritious wood such as apples, peaches, or pecans. It does not work well on softwoods or conifers such as pine, redwood, or pine because of the presence of sap and other ingredients.
There are two ways of seasoning wood mainly;
1. Air-Drying (Natural Drying Process)
Air drying is an easy way to season wood. Drying the wood and removing all the moisture from the wood is a natural process. In this process, the wood will be dried in the sun in an open place. This process takes a long time to season the wood.The cooking of wood depends mainly on the weather conditions. In sunny weather, the wood will only take a few weeks to dry and season. In gloomy or wet weather, it can take months or a year for your wet wood to dry out. Air-dried wood has more moisture than dry kiln wood.
- Air-Dry Wood Making Process:
How to Air dry wood?
The process of making Air dry wood involves the following steps.
Cold or wet weather affect the seasoning process of wood. Seasoning of wood would be best in spring.
The wood should be cut into small pieces depending on the size of your offset smoker, gas grill, or charcoal grill.
Choose a place with good sunlight where sufficient light and airflow are easily accessible. Keep the wooden rack above the ground so that all sunlight and sufficient air are equal on all sides. Cover the area with a tent to keep the woods dry from rain.
Arrange the piles of wood on the platform, keeping a distance of at least 51 cm between each pile of wood.
Leave them dry for 3-6 months. They do not need to be replaced until dry.
Use a moisture meter to check the moisture level.
Move piles and store in shed storage if moisture level is satisfactory,
2. Kiln Drying (Drying Wood In Oven For Smoking)
As the name suggests, kiln means oven. A kiln is an oven used to dry wood. There are many types of kilns like gas ovens, giant electric ovens, and solar kiln ovens. Due to the high heat, the woods dry up quickly in the oven than in dry air. Dry wood on the kiln loses its flavor while dry wood does not lose its flavor from the air drying process.
How To Dry Wood In A Kiln For Smoking?
The process of making kiln dry wood involves the following steps.
In the first step, you must set the wooden rack’s position correctly. Place a large sheet on the rack and place the thermometer away from the rack.
The temperature in digital kilns should be between 215-218 0F. This temperature range can vary from oven to oven. In analog ovens, the temperature should be 200-225degrees Fahrenheit.You can also raise the temperature to allow the woods to dry faster.
After fifteen minutes, begin the convection fan. Then check the temperature reading. If it is between 210-2250F, adjust the settings accordingly.
Now arrange the woods separately in a rack and let them dry for one hour.
After one hour, check the moisture level inside the woods using a moisture meter. If the results are unsatisfactory, then let them dry in an oven for longer.
Repeat the test every fifteen minutes. When you have achieved the desired moisture content, place the wood in a dry place to cool. Now the wood is ready for use.
How Do You Know Wood Is Seasoned?
If you are going to air-drying your wood, it can be difficult to say for sure when the wood will be seasoned. Below are some signs you can use as a guide to see if your wood has been effectively dried and seasoned for wood offset smokers.
Here are some simple signs that indicate your wood is properly seasoned.
- There should be small black cracks at the ends of your logs. This is the first sign of seasoning wood.
- Another sign of properly seasoned wood is its color. When wood is properly seasoned, it will have a silvery tone.
- A blade of an ax will pass through wood easily, and the wood will be ready for smoking in an offset smoker.
- Another thing to consider is the weight of the wood – the drier it is, the lighter it will be, while green wood is heavy due to moisture content.
- In order to measure the moisture levels of well-seasoned logs, you should purchase a moisture meter.
Preparing The Wood For Smoking On Offset Smoker
If you are making fruit sticks, such as apples, peaches, or cherries, the bark can actually enhance the flavor of the smoke. However, if you are making smoke sticks from charcoal, it is better to remove the bark as it can make the smoke less pure.
Measure your smoke box first, and figure out what size of wood would work best for your unit.
Logs used for a smoke pit or campfire can be cut in half or left as is if you are using them for a campfire or fire pit.
The wood chunks should be approximately the size of your fist or a little longer depending on the size of your smoke box. They are smaller than logs but larger than wood chips. The size of the chunks should not differ by more than 20% to ensure that they burn evenly and control the smoke and temperature.
The size of wood chips should not vary much from that of your finger, and they are used more in barbecues and smokers than as fuel to produce smoke and to flavor food.
How To Use Seasoned Wood?
In order to properly cook and smoke your meat, you need to use the right amount of wood in your smoker. You may need to add more wood if you are going to use wood as your primary source of heat. But if you’re using another heat source with wood, you’ll need less wood, because the purpose of using this wood is only to add flavor and smoke to your food. Wood is the main fuel source for old-school smokers, and they typically do their cooking on a wood-fueled grill, which delivers the best smoke.
Depending on whether you use gas, charcoal, or electricity as your primary fuel, smoking time and wood volume will vary. Once you master the art of smoking, you can experiment with all kinds of wood to create unique flavor profiles. Smoking is all about personal preference and comfort. So, always choose the wood flavor that works best for your device.
Types Of Wood
There are a number of different types of wood readily available for smoking your food today, the biggest difference is how much ‘smoke’ they impart to the smoked meat. Most people would like to add smokier flavor to their food. So, there is a variety of woods available for smoking.
Oak wood has a medium to strong smoky flavor. It does not overpower your meat easily. It adds reliable smokiness to your food. Oak wood gives good smoke even on small cooks. Therefore, it is a popular wood for smoking chicken wings, thighs, ribs or sausages, perfect for smaller cuts of meat.
Apple wood is the most popular fruit wood for imparting a smoking flavor. The main advantage of using apple wood is that it produces a clean smoke. It produces more flavorful and fruity than others.
Hickory is a very versatile and flavorful smoking wood that provides a strong BBQ flavor. It has a distinct bacon flavor. Hickory is the most traditional smoking wood considered for ribs because of its strength in smoking.
It has a strong woody flavor. It burns fast and hot and produces a lot of smoke. This type of wood is used as charcoal for grilling or burning.
It is a unique light-smoking wood. It works well on more delicate tasting meats. This makes it a popular turkey wood for smoking.
We have also written a complete guide to help you choose what kind of wood you need to use in offset smoker.
Wood to Avoid
You need to avoid different types of wood that are not beneficial by following general thumb rule.
- You should always avoid using wood that has been stained, painted, or treated in any way when selecting wood for smoking purposes. This is because wood contains chemicals that can be hazardous to your health if burned and inhaled.
- Unknown wood scraps or pieces should never be used, since they may have been coated at some point and expose you to unknown chemicals.
- You should always avoid wood with mold or fungus, as it can lead dangerous effects on your inhalation.
Importance Of Seasonal Wood For BBQ Smoking On Offset Smoker
Using seasoned wood makes your food more delicious and flavorful. Seasoning wood smoking is an important step in making your BBQ more flavorful and smoky. If you use green wood, more fire is needed to remove the moisture during the burning process. This can create some unwanted flavor compounds in your barbecue. Therefore, seasoned woods are preferred more. In seasoned wood, the color changes from brown to silvery gray in green wood. It is also important to break the wood into small pieces so that the drying material is fairly uniform.
Seasoning is the process of drying wood to remove moisture from the wood’s cell walls. Seasoning can be achieved in a number of ways, but the goal is to draw water through the piece at a uniform rate to prevent damage to the wood during drying. This entire article covers many aspects of seasoning wood such as How To Season Wood For Smoking, drying wood in a smoking oven, how to season wood for smoking on an offset smoker, how to use seasoned wood, the importance of seasoned wood for BBQ smoking and many more things mentioned above.
To properly season wood, place it in a location where the sun can heat it and air can circulate through it. It’s best to set up a row facing the sun and prevailing winds, with the sun heating the wood and evaporating the water. Also, you can use wood as the main fuel source for the barbecue or as a smoke source. Usually, it takes three to six months for this process to complete, but the speed of drier depends on several factors, such as wood type, moisture level at the beginning, etc.
Apart from that if you want to know about Best Charcoal Offset Smokers then please visit our Best offset smoker Reviews Section.