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Aspen wood for smoke??

BirdmanBirdman Posts: 66
edited 9:33AM in EggHead Forum
I cut down some aspen trees in my yard and was wondering if the logs would have any value for smoking on the Egg. Is aspen like alder, or would it just be bitter like I've heard pine is supposed to be? Thanks.


  • birdman,
    Just use it in the fireplace. That is some of the BEST smelling wood (for campfires) I have ever smelled.[p]Only hardwoods/fruitwoods should be used for bbq.[p]Aspen, I think, has the active ingredient in it's bark for making aspirin. I don't think you'd want that in your food.

  • Jolly Roger,[p]Developed by German chemist Felix Hoffmann in 1897 as a treatment for his father's arthritis, the basic ingredients of aspirin had long been known. Indeed, as long ago as the fifth century B.C., Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is said to have used ground willow bark to ease aches and pains. Willow bark contains salicin, the basis of a class of drugs called salicylates.[p]No mention of Aspen wood.
  • Mit,
    Well there you have it. I was just regurgitating what I heard the tourist guide say on the train while we ascended pikes peak and saw a lot of Aspens.[p]Still good smellin' firewood!

  • birdman,
    I can find nothing that in the BBQ Faq or on Google that states anyone uses Aspen to BBQ.
    Aspen is in the Willow family and there are some that have used willow but that is as close as I can find.

  • GretlGretl Posts: 670
    With Aspen related to Willow, I wonder if you could drink while you cook, then get rid of a hangover as you eat? Hmmm. I think we're on to something here.... ;-)

  • Wise OneWise One Posts: 2,645
    birdman, here is a pretty good summary of woods for smoking. Aspen is never mentioned. :-(
    The traditional woods for smoking are HICKORY and OAK. Here is a list of woods suitable for smoking:
    ACACIA - these trees are in the same family as mesquite. When burned in a smoker, acacia has a flavor similar to mesquite but not quite as heavy. A very hot burning wood.
    ALDER - Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.
    ALMOND - A sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.
    APPLE - Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.
    ASH - Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor. Good with fish and red meats.
    BIRCH - Medium-hard wood with a flavor similar to maple. Good with pork and poultry.
    CHERRY - Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Some List members say the cherry wood is the best wood for smoking. Wood from chokecherry trees may produce a bitter flavor.
    COTTONWOOD - It is a softer wood than alder and very subtle in flavor. Use it for fuel but use some chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor. Don't use green cottonwood for smoking.
    CRABAPPLE - Similar to apple wood.
    GRAPEVINES - Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.
    HICKORY - Most commonly used wood for smoking--the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.
    LILAC - Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.
    MAPLE - Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.
    MESQUITE - Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning.
    MULBERRY - The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.
    OAK - Heavy smoke flavor--the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.
    ORANGE, LEMON and GRAPEFRUIT - Produces a nice mild smoky flavor. Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.
    PEAR - A nice subtle smoke flavor. Much like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.
    PECAN - Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is an all-around superior smoking wood.
    SWEET FRUIT WOODS - APRICOT, PLUM, PEACH, NECTARINE - Great on most white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.
    WALNUT - ENGLISH and BLACK - Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.
    BBQ List members report that wood from the following trees is suitable for smoking: BAY, CARROTWOOD, KIAWE, MADRONE, MANZANITA, GUAVA and OLIVE. The ornamental varieties of fruit trees (i. e. pear and cherry) are also suitable for smoking.
    Other Internet sources list the wood from the following trees as suitable for smoking: BEECH, BUTTERNUT, FIG, GUM, CHESTNUT, HACKBERRY, PIMIENTO, PERSIMMON, and WILLOW.

  • Wise One,[p]It always makes me laugh when I read a wood has a "fruity" or "sweet" discription. I agree they all have something different, but I have a hard time using those words to discribe the smoke. Maybe it's me. Mesquite has a differnt smell than cherry, but cherry doesn't make me think "fruity". It is a nice list of woods, and like wine, it's all pretty subjective I think. Thanks for the list.

  • BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
    You can use aspen. A couple of words of caution: it is softer than oak, hickory, and the other "routine" smoking woods, so it burns faster (not hotter). Second it is fairly wet, so you'll want to set it aside a couple of months to dry down. I recommend peeling the bark off - that does have a nasty smell when burned. Lastly, it is so mild I think it contributes nothing to pork or beef, only a little to fish and chicken. (I make these comments on the basis of having burned it in my iron-bottom.) I'm especially taken with Gretl's idea: maybe we could get a federal grant to do a thorough study...[p]Ken

  • Wise OneWise One Posts: 2,645
    Mit, it's VERY subjective but a fairly good guide as to what works. The best way is as you insinuated, try some and see what it is like. Other woods with similar descriptions will probably be similar to you as well. And to tell you the truth, I've never been able to get that "oaky taste" in wine either.

  • Wise One wrote:I've never been able to get that "oaky taste" in wine either.[p]Actually I can get that from a good Cabernet. The good french oak barrels yeild a heavy oak flavor (to me). I can't get that "a hint of cherry" or "hint of this or that" though. If it's a hint of anything, I won't detect it. I like things with some Umph, not hints of this and that I guess. [p]Yes, It all comes down to tring this and that and seeing what "you" like or don't like.
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