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Is It Safe To Use Firewood That Has Been "Miced" For Smoking/Cooking

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  • zx11ninja
    Club Member
    • Mar 2020
    • 24

    Is It Safe To Use Firewood That Has Been "Miced" For Smoking/Cooking

    Greetings all.

    A friend mine has a very touchy situation regarding his woodpile, and I didn't know how to answer it. Therefore, I need to borrow on the expertise of all knowledgeable people.

    Last Fall, my friend split and stacked his firewood so it can be seasoned. Fast forward to this Fall, he wants to use this firewood. Unfortunately, when he uncovered the stack, he found evidence of mice living in the pile (droppings and an old nest). Wearing gloves and an N95 mask (very smart), he took each split from the stack and threw it against his asphalt driveway to knock off the droppings from those splits that had droppings on them. He then re-stacked the splits onto a log rack he built that keeps the splits and un-split logs 2 feet off of the ground.

    Even if all visible droppings have been removed from the splits and logs, there could have been mouse urine on them as well. So, he is unsure of whether or not the splits are safe to use in a smoker.

    In researching on the Internet, one post on a bulletin board suggested to pre-burn the outsides of the splits/logs before placing them into a smoker.

    Another post suggested that it is safe to just put the split into the firebox, as the intense heat would burn up any nastiness.

    Even if the split is placed into the firebox to get burned up, it doesn't burn up immediately. Therefore, my friend is highly concerned about the possibility of any unseen droppings still present on the split turning into dust that would carry the Hantavirus in it. That dust would contaminate the entire inside of the smoker (no food put in smoker yet).

    The Internet says the following will kill Hantavirus:

    -dish soap.
    -bleach/water solution.
    -30 minutes exposure to sunlight.
    -temperatures of at least 140F (a roaring firebox exceeds this many times over).

    If anyone can please give me sound advice and guidance on whether or not it is safe to use "miced" log splits, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Take care.
  • jfmorris
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 3241
    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Jim Morris

      • Camp Chef FTG900 Flat Top Grill (2020)
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      • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
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      • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
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      • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

    Well, having had a woodpile for every house I've had, since I've always owned houses with wood burning fireplaces, I would guess that virtually ANY wood pile, no matter how neatly stacked and off the ground, covered with a tarp, or uncovered, is a haven for roaches, bugs and other varmints.

    I'll be really curious to see what the consensus is on this subject, as I've just burned wood from the woodpile. I don't know that I've ever had mice live in the pile, but I know I've seen chipmunks run behind it when chased by the dogs, and I would be surprised if you didn't find a bug or two, and I've got it off the ground a few inches in a large rack I built, sitting on a paved concrete pad and covered with a tarp.
    Last edited by jfmorris; September 24, 2020, 02:32 PM.


    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      Curious ain’t the word.
  • epope011
    Club Member
    • Mar 2018
    • 37
    • Pittsburgh, PA
    • Pittsburgh, PA (originally Memphis, TN)
      Fire Magic Echelon Diamond E660s - GAS grill
      Pit Barrel Cooker (my current favorite)
      Thermapen & Thermoworks Smoke
      Favorite cook is brisket
      Favorite sports teams: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh Steelers, StL Cardinals, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Memphis Grizzlies

    Obviously the easiest solution is to dispose of the firewood and purchase new. Given that is pricey and painful, my next suggestion would be to burn some for a few hours in the firebox but without any food being cooked. Any germs or viruses would be killed in the heat/fire, but I am not sure about any smells or unsavory tastes. Burn it, and then examine, see what happens. Lastly you could try a small bit of food and make sure its cooked completely. Good luck.


    • Steve R.
      Club Member
      • Jul 2016
      • 2423
      • Elizabethtown, KY
      • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

      I wouldn't burn droppings in the smoker. But your friend already knocked all of that off before restacking, so I wouldn't worry about it unless you're planning to eat the wood. Any outdoor woodpile is going to have this stuff present. It's already a good idea to heat up the next log or two before adding them to the fire, and this should take care of burning off any nastiness that may be on there.
      Last edited by Steve R.; September 24, 2020, 02:47 PM.


      • FireMan
        FireMan commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, “not planning on eatin the wood are ya”, eh, eh. AND all wood has “stuff” in it. 👍
    • Donw
      Club Member
      • Jul 2017
      • 3302

      Generally exposure to 167F or above will kill viruses. Adding the wood to an already burning fire should be sufficient to kill a virus. I would for good measure remove any feces and allowing time in the sun to dry out any liquids. Here is a link to the CDC resources page. https://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/resources/index.html


      • JackJ
        Club Member
        • Jun 2020
        • 30

        It's quite the eco system in my wood piles. I try to keep them tidy, but plenty of insects (especially in the hickory!) and small rodents (both mice and chipments) take up residence. These critters then entice arachnids and snakes, large and small, to move in and start feasting. But a visual inspection is all I use to decide whether a piece of wood is used for cooking, and most pieces remain clean (visually). I'm assuming that that any nastiness is incinerated (though I can't be sure), and that anything trace left behind just enhances my flavor profile. YMMV.
        Last edited by JackJ; September 24, 2020, 09:33 PM.


        • FireMan
          FireMan commented
          Editing a comment
          This is great, eco-systems in wood piles!
      • JGo37
        Club Member
        • Apr 2018
        • 1577
        • the LOU
        • Cookers:

          22" Blackstone Griddle, with stand & hood
          CharGriller Portable Firebox - so modified you'll BLOL
          Kitchenaid #810 Charcoal Grill - highly modified
          Weber BI-code Black Performer w/Igniter
          Weber DE-code Red Limited - 'Lucille'


          Ancient heavy CI Propane Turkey Fryer, for lighting chimneys
          BBQ Dragon kettle shelves - 2
          Fyre Dragon Kettle Drippin' Ring, Burnin' Cone & Drippin' Pan - 2 sets
          Fyre Dragon Kettle Ribbin' Ring
          Fyre Dragon Kettle 2-Zone Smokin' Sheet
          OneGrill Rotisserie for the Kitchenaid
          Smoking Tubes: 2x12" & 1x6"
          Weber Gourmet Grill w/Griddle, Pizza Stone & Wok

          My Helpers:

          Anova 900W Sous Vide Cooker w/Radios
          Instant Pot 6Q Duo
          Nesco Tabletop Roaster
          & the PIT!

        I always get a village of western fence lizards... I appreciate them keeping the insect population low, and am careful not to take any to the smoker, especially in winter while they're hibernating.

        This is an interesting question, and I'm guessing that if the food in question is pasteurized properly that safety concerns are satisfied. Being that there is a long history of fired-wood cooking and this has never come up before, I'm thinking it is not an issue. Fortune favors the brave and stupid?


        • FireMan
          FireMan commented
          Editing a comment
          I think this just put me over the fence! A village of fence lizards in the wood pile. Wow man!

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          I can certainly vouch fer Th Stupid, Brother...

        • JGo37
          JGo37 commented
          Editing a comment
          FireMan My dog is so used them, she sits and watches 'em bobbing their heads up and down trying to attract a mate, her head bobbing up and down in exaggerated unison. It's hilarious.
      • RonB
        Club Member
        • Apr 2016
        • 13126
        • Near Richmond VA
        • Weber Performer Deluxe
          Pizza insert
          Smokenator 1000
          Cookshack Smokette Elite
          2 Thermapens
          lots of probes.

        Your friend could always preburn the wood either in a small burn barrel, or a dedicated spot in his yard. Then add the hot coals or the burning wood to the smoker as necessary. Either should get rid of anything nasty.


        • Old Glory
          Club Member
          • Feb 2018
          • 1110
          • Northshore MA
          • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
            XL BGE
            DCS Gasser
            Humphrey's Cabinet Smoker
            Weber Performer

            Slow & Sear
            Ceramic Grill Store Reducer Ring
            Woo Rig;
            Adjustable Rig
            BGE Pizza Stone
            Pit Bull Fan
            Griddle Store Griddle

          Could try spraying with a 1:3 ratio of vinegar:Water. Smokilicious Woods Blog recommends this for mold.



          • FireMan
            Charter Member
            • Jul 2015
            • 7838
            • Bottom of Winnebago

            Nobody mentioned spiders! OMG, there’s life in them ther wood piles! This just gave me a whole new outlook on life when it comes to lighting up a twig. Hmmmm, wonder what’s on this here thing. Sure wouldn’t want to lick it. Is my Charcoal safe? Mebbee sumthin crawled into the bag when I wasn’t lookin. May I dare say, mebbee we’ll have ta wear masks whilst we’re grillin? What have people done over all the ages? How can we even be still alive or alive still. I will have ta mull over the ramifications of this cookin matter. I’ll get back to ya, or not. 🕶


            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              Big Ten-Roger on dat!

            • JGo37
              JGo37 commented
              Editing a comment
              Spiders... thanks (not!). Damn, spiders....

            • Steve B
              Steve B commented
              Editing a comment
              LMFAO Fire dude. err FireMan
          • Mr. Bones
            Charter Member
            • Sep 2016
            • 9745
            • Kansas Territory
            • Grills / Smokers

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              Weber "C" Code 18.5" WSM '81 ($50 CL) 8-0!!!
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              Ol' Skool Bi-metal probe pocket thermo, that has checked / served ~ 1,000,000 meals in my possession, easily...
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              Daily driver:Washington Forge Mardi Gras, Navy / Cobalt Blue
              Dinner: Guests: Washington Forge, Town and Country
              Fancy / Formal: Family silverware

            Yer friend, he knocked of any residual fecal matter, it sounds like... Good Job, I woulda too, if'n I seen any...

            Whenever I starts me up one my stickburners, I always have all th doors wide open, until I start gittin th fire, an cleaner smoke that I'm hankerin after...

            Whenever I start to git to my chosen point, fire-wise, why then I first close down th cookin chamber door, to heat th cookin chamber...

            When that starts closin in on my desired grate temp, I'll close th firebox lid, next...then watch / tend my firebox...eventually, I use th firebox door, or even its vent, to lock in th range I want...

            I find it rather difficult to imagine a mouse piddlin more than a milliliter or more of urine, unless it was a larger one, an ya lefta beer out fer it...

            I also reckon said mouse / mice didn't urinate on th smoker wood right afore ya grabbed it to use, which means a large part of it has already evaporated, leavin very little residual in said smoker wood...an likely days to dissipate, or for said hantavirus to have survived...

            I jus loads me up some wood, an I do inspect th splits fer integrity...if'n it's all moldy, I'll do jus like yer friend, an chunk it down a few time on some concrete, mebbe knock th bark off, see what's left...if'n it's punk-arsed moldy, it don't go into my cooker.

            Compost pile is where them rare few will end up...

            Th rest, which is 95+%, go into my firebox(es), an I make BBQ.

            Hope this helps.
            Last edited by Mr. Bones; September 25, 2020, 10:50 AM.


            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              FireMan lol did I misspell it? Probly my Bad, as per usual... I must meant th mouse pee pissidates... oops dissipates, totally my bad...
              Sry fer any Conrnfusion, Amigo!
              Don't (presently) work fer NASA , but fairly confident that dissipation is, even of mouse urine, simply a phenomenon of phsyics, given time, ppms, an all that kinda cray cray, jus another day...
              Last edited by Mr. Bones; September 25, 2020, 09:40 PM.

            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              Ran outta room, above, but my Initial Answer still stands Pat:

              Last edited by Mr. Bones; September 25, 2020, 09:35 PM.

            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              Notta Health Care Provider, an not advisin any all to ignore any yall, or yer loved ones might be affected by, simply ya askin my answer...
          • ComfortablyNumb
            Club Member
            • May 2017
            • 3407
            • Northeast Washington
            • KBQ C-60
              Thermoworks Smoke
              Thermoworks Thermopop
              Thermoworks Dot

            In some parts of the world they might welcome some wood adulterating their dung pile....



            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              "Forty shots rang out
              Forty people fell
              Patti and the killer missed each other
              But they shot that town to hell"

            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment

            • CaptainMike
              CaptainMike commented
              Editing a comment
              Yippee-yi-yay, Cow Patty
              She rode into town to kill the man that killed her Daddy
              Yippee-yi-yaaaaaay, Cowww Patty
          • holehogg
            Club Member
            • Nov 2017
            • 2481
            • Port Elizabeth, South Africa

            I need new reading specs I read Minced wood.


            • FireMan
              FireMan commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah sure, we know what’s on yer mind.
          • troymeister
            Charter Member
            • Aug 2014
            • 1486
            • Forest Park Il
            • Weber 26

              Weber Performer 22.5, Weber 18.5, WSM 18.5, Smokey Joe

              2 Slow N Sears, Charcoal Rotisserie, Kettle Pizza for Weber 22.5, Vortex, Grill Grates

              Smoke Thermometer, Igrill, Thermapen, Thermapop,Maverick 2 probe
              I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I put it in my food.

              One cannot have too many grills.

            When I had my country house, mice, gophers, chipmunks, even a wood chuck and who knows what other creatures took up residence in my wood pile. There was no way to stop them...I wasn't cooking with the wood but it went into our pot belly stove.Most often we kept the door open so we could have the ambiance of the fire. I never noticed any bad odor or anything. Especially after the wood was burning cleanly. I say unless it is a really disgusting piece, shake it off....call it a day.


            • CaptainMike
              Club Member
              • Nov 2015
              • 2539
              • The Great State of Jefferson
              • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill w/SnS and DnG (Spartacus)
                Old school big'ol Traeger w/Pro controller (Big Tex)
                2 W22's w/SnS, DnG (1 black, 1 copper) (Minions 1 and 2)
                20+ y/o many times rebuilt Weber Genesis w/GrillGrates (Gas Passer)
                20 x 30 Santa Maria grill (Maria, duh)
                Bradley cabinet smoker (Pepper Gomez)
                36" Blackstone griddle (The Black Beauty)
                Thermoworks Smoke and Thermapen.

              Seems like much ado 'bout nuffin'. Now if it were tainted with the Rona that's a different story altogether. You'd have to stay at least 6' away from your cooker and prolly wear a face coverin' of some sort.


              • FireMan
                FireMan commented
                Editing a comment
                Rona on the wood piles? Don’t give em any ideas.



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