wet wood = creosote not smoldering smoke

Discussion in 'Q&A With Steven Raichlen' started by phatch, May 28, 2011.

  1. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
    This is a personal theory of mine, but not one I'm equipped to prove. But I thought I'd run it by you.

    Creosote forms in the smoke more readily at lower combustion temperatures, under 250. Creosote is usually a by-product of a poorly burning fire.

    A clean burning fire produces a better tasting smoke.  Which is a less visible smoke as well.

    With the hassles of managing a low  even  temp in the cooking chamber adding a wet piece of wood that will burn poorly just seems like a bad idea for best flavor.

    I burn more wood chunks this way, true, but I like the flavor better. But this is not a blind unbiased tasting.


  2. steven raichlen

    steven raichlen

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    Food Writer
    Phil, your observations make sense, though like you, I am not in a position to speak scientifically to them. In truth, chunks of wood that are soaked really don't absorb much water, even if submerged overnight. So eventually, the fire eats its way to dry wood, which provides the "clean" smoke you reference above. Sometimes, I use dry wood on purpose--and state that in the specific recipe. (This includes wood chips, too.) Experimentation is all part of the fun, would you agree?