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Why is my kiln dried wood more flavorful than naturally dried?

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    Why is my kiln dried wood more flavorful than naturally dried?


    I have been struggling with this question lately. I know everyone says “slow seasoned” wood is considerably better than kiln dried. And I do not get a great coal bed with the kiln dried. But I find myself buying bags of kiln dried just to get any real smoke flavor.

    I get a little bit of flavor on my offset with the white oak I have been using. It measures around 24-25% moisture content. The B&B post oak I have measures within a percent or two of that, but has the most amazing smoke flavor. It is a much better smoke flavor than the hint I get from my non-kiln wood.

    I am guessing my wood source just isn’t drying the wood long enough before splitting it? I honestly don't have enough room to season my own here. How does one go about finding wood that’s properly seasoned for flavor? I cannot afford to run my offset on B&B exclusively.

    Does anyone else have this problem?

    I think you just have a preference for post oak. Also, are you measuring the moisture level on the inside of the logs, immediately after splitting them?
    Last edited by Steve R.; July 12, 2021, 07:19 PM.


    • Briley337
      Briley337 commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes. I split both to measure them. The bagged is 24.5% and the white oak is 25.7%. I just don’t have much taste at all from the regular white oak. Is it really that huge of a difference, or could it be the technique for drying is that important?

    The white oak is supposed to be a mild choice to start with. Have you considered another type of wood from a local supplier, one with a more pronounced flavor signature. Maybe your preference, as '@steve r' has pointed out, is strong smoke flavoring.
    Last edited by JGo37; July 12, 2021, 09:36 PM.


    • Steve R.
      Steve R. commented
      Editing a comment
      And it won't always give you choices as you type the username. I haven't found that it's case sensitive, Stuey1515 . I intentionally typed your name in all lower case just to make sure, and then it showed up correctly.

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Steve R. is how it is - it ends in a period. And leave a space after that.

    • JGo37
      JGo37 commented
      Editing a comment
      ah - the period . I missed that. Thanks jfmorris Steve R. works now.

    Have you tried to mix and Match? Use one for the coals and the other for the smoke flavor they produce?

    Happy BBQ to you


      IMPO, kiln dried vs. all natural is akin to fat side up or down. At the end of the day, it's about moisture content and wood species. I much prefer pecan to pignut hickory, even though they are in the same family (Carya). I think Steve R. hit on something, you might prefer post oak.


      • Potkettleblack
        Potkettleblack commented
        Editing a comment
        I’d add that the land that the tree was grown on, the soil, the region, and maybe even how much light, water, and nutrients it got. Agricultural products all vary.

      Its not the way it is dried, especially with moisture levels that are so close. It's the variety of oak. White oak is the mildest wood to smoke with.


        What jfmorris said. Try Red Oak or Cherry or even Hickory.

        I primarily use Red Oak and Cherry and get a great smoke flavor from them on my offset.


          Mesquite for the win


          • Panhead John
            Panhead John commented
            Editing a comment
            Hickory is my favorite, followed by mesquite.

          Thanks y'all. I’m gonna try some hickory, although I hate the wispy ashes I get from it.


            So…if pretty much everything that grows has some kind of terroir to it, is it possible that white oak (or whatever smoking wood) could taste/smell differently depending on where/how it is grown?


            • Potkettleblack
              Potkettleblack commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, it does. Check out hickory wood from different regions of the country. More strongly flavored than oak, it’s easier to note the terroir differences.


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