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Old 05-13-2007, 10:24 PM   #1
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I have a question for you other pitmasters out there.....

I have an opportunity to harvest literally, a ton of wood, from a tree that came down recently. It's either a Hickory, or a Black Walnut. I'm not sure which. I tried looking around on the ground for nuts, but due to the high grass, couldn't see anything.

If this is a Black Walnut, has anyone ever smoked with it? Does it give good smoke? I know that a Black Walnut will change the chemical composition of the soil around it, from the shells and pith covering the shells.

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Old 05-14-2007, 08:13 AM   #2
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Allen,

I checked into using black walnut for smoking, since out neighbors have a HUGE black walnut tree in their yard.

What I have found is that walnut wood is useable, but considered a very strong, "heavy" smoke that can overpower things if you use to much.

I've stayed away from it, especially since I have an ample supply of cherry wood. If you're looking for something along the lines of mesquite on steriods, it might work out.

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Old 05-14-2007, 08:30 AM   #3
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AllenOK

I have never used black walnut so I can't give a definative answer to your question. Obviously the easy solution is to correctly identify the species of the tree. If there are leaves still present that would help. Also the make up of the bark.

Now hickory's and pecan's are a part of the larger Walnut family so I would say if it is either hickory or a black walnut. Go for it!! If the wood is still green I would let it season for a while. 12 to 18 months is optimal! You might try some of the smaller branches sooner using something inexpensive like leg quarters etc, and not to much of it as hickory is a powerful flavoring wood!
I hope this helps out somewhat. let me know what you find out!

Enjoy!
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:38 PM   #4
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i have tried black walnut ... dont know if it wasnt
cured enough .. but it was bad .. foul smoke ..
but i only tried it once ..
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:48 PM   #5
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Is the heartwood dark or light?

Black walnut will be quite dark, hickory will be light.

Here in Kentucky hickory is the wood of choice for our famous "low and slow" barbecue.

Black walnut makes wonderful furniture.
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by love2"Q"
i have tried black walnut ... dont know if it wasnt
cured enough .. but it was bad .. foul smoke ..
but i only tried it once ..
I've never used walnut, but it could be that you just don't like it. I know I can't stand mesquite smoke. In the summer if the wind is out of the west I have to run inside to avoid the smell! I'm with Buck. Hickory is my go to wood of choice 99% of the time. Ya can't go wrong with it.
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:47 PM   #7
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uncle bob .. it may have to do with taste .. i cant stand mesquite
myself .. for the most part all i use is hickory ..
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:14 PM   #8
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wow Bob! the lack of mesquite smoke is most definitely one of the things i miss about moving out of the deep south!

Allen, maybe if you snap a couple of pics of the heartwood (i.e., cut the tree straight through) and the leaves, our resident smokemasters will be able to help you definitively identify your tree?
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireweaver
wow Bob! the lack of mesquite smoke is most definitely one of the things i miss about moving out of the deep south!

Allen, maybe if you snap a couple of pics of the heartwood (i.e., cut the tree straight through) and the leaves, our resident smokemasters will be able to help you definitively identify your tree?
..And what part of the Deep South would that have been??
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireweaver
Allen, maybe if you snap a couple of pics of the heartwood (i.e., cut the tree straight through) the leaves, our resident smokemasters will be able to help you definitively identify your tree?
I'm pretty sure it's a Hickory. I'll have to go back with my camera, hopefully tomorrow. My work schedule, and home schedule just haven't been jiving very well, and I haven't been able to do much of anything productive at home.

From what I remember, there isn't any heartwood in the main trunk. It's rotted out.
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Old 05-18-2007, 03:59 PM   #11
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Here is a helpful site for wood use.
What Wood to Use
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Old 05-18-2007, 06:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK
I have an opportunity to harvest literally, a ton of wood, from a tree that came down recently. It's either a Hickory, or a Black Walnut. I'm not sure which. I tried looking around on the ground for nuts, but due to the high grass, couldn't see anything.

If this is a Black Walnut, has anyone ever smoked with it? Does it give good smoke? I know that a Black Walnut will change the chemical composition of the soil around it, from the shells and pith covering the shells.
AllenOK - Here's a good URL to hear what some BBQ experts have to say on the topic:

alt.food.barbecue | Google Groups

Regards,

Casper
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Old 05-18-2007, 07:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
..And what part of the Deep South would that have been??
i'm born & raised in TX, Bob, and i think a good 1/3 of that state is forested in mesquite!
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireweaver
i'm born & raised in TX, Bob, and i think a good 1/3 of that state is forested in mesquite!
I could have guessed you were a Texan being a lover of mesquite. Here in Mississippi Hickory Rules! Anone caught with mesquite is fined $100.00. The second offense it really gets serious. If ya even mention the word you get some strange looks Also ya have to understand that anything on the other side of the Sabine River is "out west", and anything north of Memphis is "up north"
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireweaver
i'm born & raised in TX, Bob, and i think a good 1/3 of that state is forested in mesquite!
Hello Fireweaver - I Think that because I use mesquite in most of the "smoking" I've done, AND my company headquarters is located in Plano, I would say that you are in general correct with my basic knowledge. Many love the mesquite flavor from a smoking point of view.

Cherry, apple, oak, pecan, etc., all have their place until it's been disproved (and I have not tried the pecan yet). I will say that I won't be using walnut or elm anytime soon since I haven't used them yet, and won't use them on other then chicken to start with. I know my BBQ skills are not yet up to the Zen of mixed woods, and I don't want to spend money on things I'll throw out.

Thanks BTW to Paymaster on the wood usage site.

Regards,

Casper
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:39 PM   #16
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Ok, I stopped by where that tree is to get some pics. Apparently, someone has started cutting up the wood, as it's not like I saw it last week.

Here's the full shot.



And a close-up of the part of the trunk where it snapped.



And a close-up of the bark.



Here's a close-up of some of the leaves, from underneath. Sorry, it's kind of faded out.

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Old 05-18-2007, 09:11 PM   #17
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Just guessing....An Ash?
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Old 05-19-2007, 07:41 AM   #18
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I didn't think about Ash. That would explain the lack of nut shells on the ground. Thanks for the possible ID.

Editted to add: If it is an Ash tree, I'll have to be careful about how much of the wood goes in. If I remember right, Ash is the hottest-burning hardwood.
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Old 05-19-2007, 04:55 PM   #19
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Without a doubt that is a walnut tree. I don't like to smoke with it but it's ok for a hotter barbeque if you are going to cook quick.
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Old 05-19-2007, 05:28 PM   #20
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More likely black walnut than hickory.
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