Choosing the best wood for smoking is the thing that has confused most people while learning how to smoke food. However, it is very critical for you to know what woods not to use for smoking. All types of firewood are not suitable for smoking. Some give a bitter taste, while some can make you sick.
There are many options whenever you discuss the woods for smoking food. The taste of the smoked food mainly depends upon the type of wood you have chosen. Every type of wood gives distinguishing and unique burning points, compositions, and flavors. I have discussed some types of wood that should not be used.
What Wood Not to Use for Cooking
Many kinds of wood give good flavor to the meat, such as pecan, apple, mesquite, oak, and hickory. But there are also a variety of woods that are not recommended for smoking. The woods not to use for smoking are the following:
A bad wood for smoking because the food cooked from cedar smoke can cause conjunctivitis, rhinitis, skin irritation or dermatitis, and cedar asthma, which is caused by a toxic chemical inside the wood known as plicatic acid.
Cypress contains resin that creates soot and an unpleasant taste. Besides, it will mess up your smoker and coat it. It also contains sap and terpenes.
This type of wood contains a high percentage of sap and terpenes that gives a bad taste to food and make the food unhealthy. According to research, it will not kill you, but there is a risk of food tasting nasty.
Eucalyptus is not a good choice for smoking because it is a sappy tree. A sap known as Kino is present in the barks of eucalyptus, giving a bad taste to your food. It is a misconception that the smoke of eucalyptus is poisonous. Eucalyptus will harm you only if you chew some leaves of it.
A potential issue is using sassafras, so it does not matter whether you are smoking food, making tea, or brewing beer. The sassafras tree contains a carcinogenic and toxic compound known as safrole. Sassafras causes liver cancer and was thus banned by the FDA recently.
Amber wood is not toxic but burns faster than other woods and gives poor coals. If you want to burn it for a long time, you would have to burn it along with longer wood. The burning time can be increased by burning longer logs.
Similar to all conifers, pine wood is gummy and sticky. The resin contains terpenes that can make you sick and gives a poor taste to the meat. Pine wood is not suitable for cooking and should not be used for smoking or grilling.
In the spring, little green tips grow on the redwood leaves. These tips contain a tart taste. A high percentage of vitamin C is present that helps you in your fight against cold. Redwood is not used for smoking because the megadoses of vitamin C can cause insomnia, headache, and stomach problems.
The wood covered with fungus or mold gives a bad taste. Some molded woods are dangerous for smoking as they contain toxins. A fungus can be used for smoking if you pre-heat them with coals before burning it.
Chemically or Pressure Treated Wood
Any kind of chemically treated wood is dangerous for smoking. When you use these woods for smoking, the chemicals inside them enter the food. Thus, the chemicals enter your body in the form of food. All the chemical woods are dangerous for the human body.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are trying a new wood for grilling or smoking, then check on the internet whether the wood is suitable for smoking. I have given in detail about the woods not to use for smoking in this article. Do not use wood that contains needles or bears a cone. Always dry the wood before burning. Otherwise, search for a local supplier of kiln-dried wood that will give you the fuel for smoking constantly.
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