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Wood for BBQ

I have a WSM that I use for preparing BBQ and smoking meats. I'm able to find wood chips pretty consistently, but the smoker really requires chunks. I can usually find hickory and mesquite chunks at places like QFC or Fred Meyer. However, hickory is kind of boring (and can overpower some meat). I don't like mesquite for anything as I think it makes meat taste bitter.

I've seen alder, cherry, and apple chips and pellets; but I've never seen the chunks. I've also never seen oak. Does anyone know where to look for them in seattle?

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  1. hi. i'm in msp and can't give specific recs for seattle, but we've approached local farms & orchards around here & had really good luck. if you have your own chain saw & trailer, the farmer will sometimes let you come out to the apple orchard and cut up a tree he was felling/trimming anyway and haul it away. saves him from doing it so it is a win-win and a lot of times you get all the wood you can use for free.

    uh, and i realize i may or may not be sounding like grizzly adams-- maybe you could also purchase hardwood branches/chunks from local arborist/trimming companies?

    2 Replies
    1. re: soupkitten

      I would post on Craigs list or Freecycle and see if you can get some from someone's tree. We still have a bit of cherry wood from a tree we took down years ago. And a friend just gave us the prunings from their apple tree. This will take a year or so to age but it's great to have!

      1. re: Lauren

        I'm more of an instant gratification guy. I don't have the patience to wait that long.

    2. all of those chips and pellets were once parts of larger pieces; you may want to check with those whence you found them to locate the chunks. also, there are any number of firewood dealers who may allow you to visit their yards to pick up smaller quantities and qualities than they can profitably deliver. remember, cordwood plus a bandsaw (or radial arm saw) equals chunks.

      1 Reply
      1. re: howard 1st

        I've never seen a firewood dealer that has hardwood. It's usually pine and other softwoods that you can't use for smoking.

      2. Joes (formerly GIJoes) sports shops carry smoking and BBQ supplies, though I can't say whether they have the chunks you want.
        paulj

        5 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          They will sometimes have chunks of mesquite and/or hickory. But I've never seen anything but pellets and chips of the other wood.

          1. re: vanillagorilla

            After the recent storms, the wilder parks and woods should have a few downed red alders. With a small pruning saw you could cut yourself some branches.
            paulj

            1. re: paulj

              The problem there is that I'm a city boy and wouldn't be able to tell a red alder from a pine tree.

              1. re: vanillagorilla

                What's boring about hickory? It is, after all, the quinessential bbq wood, either alone or mixed with oak.

                1. re: bbqboy

                  It's boring because it's all I every use. And I think with Pork and especially fish, it's just too strong.

        2. I have found the answer to by own question. Sutter Home and Hearth in Ballard has chunks!

          1. I just saw sacks of chunk cherry and apple wood at B & E Meats in Burien. Don't remember the weight, but they were good-sized sacks, about 3 feet tall, for $12.00.