Cooking over a wood-burning fire is one of time's oldest traditions. It offers a delicious, mouthwatering flavor that's simply not found in the oven, microwave, stove, or even with charcoal fires. From steaks and pork chops to hamburgers, hot dogs, seafood and vegetables, you can cook just about any food over a wood-burning fire.
But are all cooking woods the same? Can you use green wood? Or seasoned wood? Or should you only use kiln dried cooking wood? You'll want to consider this, because the type of wood definitely matters when you cook. In this article, we'll explore whether or not seasoned wood is good for cooking.
What Is Seasoned Cooking Wood?
Seasoned cooking wood is any type of wood used for cooking (can be hardwood or softwood), that's been dried through a process called seasoning. When wood is cut or falls from a tree, it's moisture content is typically around 50%. We call this green wood, and it is not good for burning. As you probably know, moisture tends to kill fires, so using green wood means your fire will struggle to burn. Instead of burning the wood and producing flavorful smoke, you will first burn tons of steam that adds no flavor and lowers the temperature of your coals.
Seasoned firewood has been cut, chopped, and stacked so that it can air-dry. This process typically takes about a year. When done right, it can reduce the moisture content of wood from 50% down to 20-30%.
The problem is, many people do not season their wood properly. They chop it and then throw it into a big pile instead of stacking it to allow airflow. Or they might only season it for a few months. Or they might leave it to season in the rain or in the dirt. When you order seasoned wood, you really don't know what kind of quality you're going to get.
And so, seasoned cooking wood is better than green cooking wood, but it does present some problems.
Problems with using seasoned cooking wood for cooking
Seasoned cooking wood does have a lower moisture content than green wood, but the air drying process presents some challenges. Even when seasoned properly, the following issues can emerge:
Seasoned cooking wood is rotting: Wood decays over time, and wood with higher moisture contents can decay faster. Bugs can get into the wood when stored outside, especially when stored on the ground, and these bugs only contribute to the decaying process. Rotting wood is less dense, which means there is less wood to burn and your cooking wood will not last as long. It also gives a musty smell, which is not ideal for cooking!
Seasoned cooking wood typically has mold and fungus: As the wood decays, it is prone to growing mold or fungus in the wood. We don't know about you, but cooking over mold sounds like a bad idea. Not only can it present health risks, but it tastes horrible.
Seasoned cooking wood still has moisture: Seasoned wood does have less moisture than green wood, and therefore burns hotter. This is, of course, supposing you received quality seasoned firewood. Even still, seasoned wood will have more moisture than kiln dried firewood. This extra moisture will reduce the heat of your flame, delay the creation of flavorful smoke, and waste time.
The best cooking wood has been kiln dried
If you really want the best cooking experience, then you want kiln dried firewood for cooking. It doesn't matter if you're cooking with sticks, splits, or chunks, kiln dried wood can produce amazing results.
And of course, Cutting Edge Firewood offers only the best kiln dried cooking wood available. While many cooking wood providers kiln dry their wood at 175 degrees for 75 minutes, we go far beyond the USDA standards and dry our wood at 250 degrees for 48 hours.
We don't just want to kill the bugs, we want to kill the fungus and the mold. We want to remove as much moisture as possible. In fact, the moisture content of our cooking wood is 5-10%, much lower than green wood and even seasoned firewood. We also only kiln dry wood that has been freshly cut - this means you will always receive dense hardwoods from us that will burn for a longer amount of time and at a hotter temperature.
Other benefits include:
- Our cooking wood is easier to light
- Our cooking wood is hand selected for quality so you only get the best
- We provide consistent quality every time - no more seasoned firewood roulette
- We package it neatly, offering you a better experience
- Better flavor with no musty aroma
- Kiln dried cooking wood is safer - producing less soot-rich smoke and containing no mold or fungus
If you ever felt like getting the wood in your grill or smoker was a chore to light, then you need to try Cutting Edge Firewood. It truly makes a powerful difference and better flavor!
What kind of wood should I choose?
When it comes to smoking or grilling meat and veggies, the species of wood you choose matters. You might also want to know what size wood you need. When it comes to size, we offer three primary options:
1) Cooking Logs (aka Cooking Sticks): These are 16" long pieces of firewood for full sized smokers.
Do you have a wood fired pizza oven? Then make sure you try our pizza cut firewood as well!
When it comes to the species of wood, then it's all about flavor. Each species has unique burn properties and flavors, so they're all worth a try!
Pecan is our most popular wood for cooking. With just the right amount of classic flavor, this wood offers a smoky taste perfectly suited for meats such as ribs and poultry. Our quality pecan wood is popular amongst both restaurants and residential customers alike, and was even featured in Garden and Gun.
Hickory packs a powerful flavor punch, and when you bite into something cooked over it, the food bites back. It's a classic choice and renowned around the world for its excellent flavor. Hickory goes well with venison and any larger cuts of meat.
Cherry: There is a reason George Washington cut down his father’s cherry tree: it makes for some incredible cooking wood! Cherry wood is a favorite for cooking because it provides a sweet flavor and rosy color to food like pork, chicken, or fish.
Oak is a timeless classic, and a popular hardwood firewood from one of America’s most iconic trees. Oak has a more subtle flavor than hickory or cherry. It's a great choice for cooking high heat items like steak or pizza.
Become the Barbecue King of your neighborhood
Become the barbecue king of your neighborhood by using the right cooking wood. Cutting Edge Firewood offers the finest quality smoking chunks, cooking wood splits, and cooking wood logs for cooking. We even offer complimentary shipping nationwide for chunks and splits! View all products by visiting firewood for cooking, or shop our best sellers below: