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Cottonwood

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    Cottonwood

    I have been pondering this query in my mind for a number of years and have not really been able to come up with an answer in this part of the world, so I will toss it out to the masses of AR. Can you use cottonwood for smoking? They are indigenous to Nebraska (state tree no less) and unfortunately in my 'hood you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one. Since most of the BBQ regions use wood that is most abundant in their neck of the woods, can I use cottonwood with any success? Obviously my wild guess is going to be a definite maybe, but it would explain why BBQ isn't as popular in this beef producing state. In any event, I look forward to all your comments.
    Thank you and have a great day!
    Craig

    #2
    Craigar ...

    I've never heard of anyone using cottonwood in a smoker. I've never heard of cottonwood trees either.😎

    If it is that abundant I'd try a test cook with it. Get 1 rack of ribs and smoke it using chunks of your cottonwood. Not much to lose when you do that.

    Meathead... There's no rules in the kitchen or bedroom. Fire your smoker up and see what happens.😁

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    • Craigar
      Craigar commented
      Editing a comment
      You don't want to hear about them. They are one of the most dirtiest trees I have ever been around. One of these days I will have to do some experimenting and hopefully I don't poison the family.

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmmm... Best to get your mother in law to sample it first.😎

    #3
    They are good to hang deer stands in.

    Their leaves are like a Chinese Tallow Tree leaf on steroids...

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      #4
      Have used cottonwood for making campfires here in California. It's pretty potent. The tent still has a faint smell of it several years later!

      Comment


        #5
        They are pretty soft wood... and yes they are a messy tree that grows real fast. If you take it to coals you might be ok, but the creosote is nasty when it is smoking... I would not use it.

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          #6
          Half the Homesteads were planted with Cottonwood in the late 1880’s to the 1920's in ND as Tree Claims. They are a short lived fast growing tree, they can reach 2'-3' in diameter and 60'-75' tall. They are cosidered a soft wood if I am not mistaken. I believe it would make pretty rancid smoking wood? Dan

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            #7
            I bet you are right, Dan... usually woods like that do not make good smoking woods... but if you were to build a fire and toss a dutch oven in it, would probably work ok.

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            • Danjohnston949
              Danjohnston949 commented
              Editing a comment
              Right you are Friend! I may be wrong but I think Cottonwood is related to Popular. Dan

            #8
            Danjohnston949 please tell me you didn't help plant any of those early trees.....

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            • Danjohnston949
              Danjohnston949 commented
              Editing a comment
              110 Years ago when I was 16 I did!

            #9
            We have a lot of cottonwoods down in our river bottom land, along the Minnesota river. They are huge!!! They are actually kinda cool in the spring, the cotton seeds all come out at once and it resembles snow falling in the forest. But I can see how a fella would not want them in his "hood" thought. I wouldn't think they would make a good smoking wood either, being that they are a soft wood. I don't bother cutting them up for fire wood when they go down. We just take the end loader and push them outta the way.

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              #10
              I would suggest using a couple chunks on your grill and do something cheap like a chicken or chicken pieces. That way if it's no good you're not out much. I did this with ash when I had no idea if it was any good for smoking.

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                #11
                Cottonwoods grow wild in Arizona. Because they are deciduous, they are classified as a hardwood. They are a very soft hardwood. Hopi Indians have traditionally used their roots to carve Kachina dolls. They were also used for wooden caskets.

                It doesn't even get used as firewood except for outdoor campfires. Why not?

                The most frequent description of what it smells like is cat urine.

                Burn some and you'll never let a perfectly good piece of meat get ruined (or urined😡)

                Stick to hardwoods that bear fruit or nuts.

                Best regards,
                Jim
                Last edited by jgg85234; September 24, 2015, 12:05 AM. Reason: Typo

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                • Danjohnston949
                  Danjohnston949 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I think your description is more correct than mine. Dan

                #12
                Thank you for all of the input. I pretty much got the answer I was looking for. I will just keep using pieces from the maple in our backyard and toss the neighbors cottonwood back over the fence.

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                  #13
                  As a fellow Nebraskan, I can speak to using cottonwood for campfires. We use it all the time. We've grilled over it and it works fine, you just want it pretty much burned down to coals. Not sure I'd use it for smoking though. I personally like the smell of a cottonwood campfire. We've never had any that smelled like cat urine????????? Maybe that person was burning green cottonwood?????

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                    #14
                    I didn't understand the cat urine description either. Cottonwood is definitely a major staple for bonfires/campfires in this area, especially along the Platte. I guess it is a better option than the buffalo chips the pioneers used.

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