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Aging wood

Rick GRick G Posts: 166
edited 11:11AM in EggHead Forum
I am curious of how long to age wood before smoking with it. I prunned some apricot trees last fall and am wondering if aging through the winter was long enough...too long...perfect....I dont know. Any ideas out there???


  • Good point.
    Good question.
    And, I’m sure you will get any number of suggestions.
    Here is my take on Smoke-Wood, for whatever it my be worth.
    Aged wood is the best for flavor ;) .
    In my mind, a wet (green) wood just doesn’t come across with a smooth taste and always seems to be much harsher.
    Not knowing where you live, it’s a bit hard to say much about winters. Here in the “cold north” winters are pretty dry and thus, wood dries pretty well in our winter climate.
    Also, three things come into play here: The size of the chunk, is it split into splits already “smoke-wood” sized and how much space it has? Air flow around it, so to speak.
    Sticking it in a sack / bag in the garage certainly isn’t the same as stacked and covered (not tightly by the way, just a roof over head) out side.
    I guess I would say that my rule of thumb is at least six months for the small / split stuff and a year for the big stuff. The smaller the splits, the faster it dries!
  • I'm presently using 10-year-old pecan smoking wood with no discernible difference to when it was 12 months old. If anything it seems a bit better now. But the wood has always been stored in perfectly dry conditions.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,000
    Lots of people claim that green wood is fine for smoking. Don't know since I either buy mine or use deadfall branches. Assuming you've kept it sheltered from the weather and allowed for air circulation, I would say that chunks cut last fall would be fine, even if you're from the "dry wood" camp. Firewood sized pieces cut last fall, maybe not so much. Either way, try some on a cheap meal and see how you like it.

    As for too drying too long? Not possible.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    As above, the drying time depends a lot on where and how the wood was stored. After that, its the size of the wood. As a for instance, I cut down a small tulip tree a few years ago. I cut a number of 1" disks from the trunk. Those were almost completely dry after 6 months in a cold garage. Branches just a few inches thick were not. Those were not dry until another 2 months of warm weather had passed. If you notice any pieces with "checking," radial cracks out from the center, that is usually a good sign that the wood shrank from evaporation.

    I would suppose using drier wood will make temperature control a little easier. As green wood dries, heat is spent evaporating water that would otherwise be cooking the food. And, considering that chips and chunks do not need to be water soaked when used in the Egg, having green wood is equally useless.
  • some guys say to dry it, others swear it's best to put it on green.

    try it green while you are drying it. if anything, you'll be able to decide for yourself and won't have to wait a year before using it.

    the amount we use isn't like running a stick burner or a woodstove. creosote buildup, or off flavors, isn't going to be a problem in most cases. in fact, there are a lot of people (including esteemed roadside bbq places) who swear by green wood.

    i vote: try some next cook.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    your good to go, thats how i get my smoking wood. stike has me smoking hickory bark now right off the tree so i guess the no bark rule doesnt apply much either. found two nice trees off the beaten path to pick from :)
  • Fruit wood should be used as green as possible. The sap is what you are looking for, for best flavor. Especially cherry and peach wood.

    Hickory's can age forever! it seems.
  • FrankCFrankC Posts: 414
    I age hardwood for at least a year, fruitwood at least 6 months.

    I'm still using pecan that I got over 4 years ago, and like someone said above, I think it gets better the longer it ages.

    Just my 2 cents.

    fc :)
  • i went to the folks' house the other day prior to this last storm, and picked up all the shagbark from the first storm a couple weeks ago. i have a literal arm load of shagback hickory (bark) if you need any. three foot long shanks of the stuff. hhaha

    couldn't pass it up. that'll last me forever unless i give some away.
  • and there are those who say it loses flavor with age. hahaha

    which proves, essentially, that it is entirely subjective and folks need to just try stuff and figure it out for themselves.

    i'd never burn green wood in the fire place in any great volume, but for food, in the BGE, it all comes down to makin' up yer own mind.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    ive got a lifetime supply now with the two trees, its in an area where the dog gets walked. now would you pick the poison ivy off it or smoke that as well :laugh:
  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,393
    I do not do near as many lo and slo's in comparison to many forum members, but I have enjoyed my cooks with both dry and green woods (mainly fruitwoods). I really want some fresh alderwood, but living in Ohio, I'll have to wait for a friend from Seattle to bring me some. I want to use it to smoke some salmon.
  • poison ivy gives it a nice amount of heat
  • otisdogotisdog Posts: 187
    Interesting question. I got some green cherry last year and used it with chicken. I really didn't like the taste at all and decided it must just be something I don't like. I tried it again a few weeks ago when I was out of hickory and really liked the flavor. I never thought about green vs aged until I read your post. Apparently I like it better dried for a year.
  • crghc98crghc98 Posts: 1,006
    found a couple of those out near a friends house in CT....Stike gave me the idea....I will be using that on almost everything now, and was thinking about trying to make the shagbark syrup.
  • As you have read...Lots of opinion here B)
    It comes down to what taste YOU like and how the flavors come across for you.
    As I stated earlier, I like a seasoned smoke-wood the best. I just like the flavors better!! Guess I learned and / or acquired that taste from a late uncle that did a lot of smoking!! And always swore on seasoned wood.
    For the record, I have to agree with you about cherry! I use a lot of cherry (mostly pork and chicken / fowl and love the sweet flavor it gives.
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