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Logs for BBQ smoking?

Does anybody know where I could find (in southern Ontario or northern NY) logs for a BBQ smoker? I bought a new BBQ which includes a big smoker firebox that I want to try out making some good authentic barbecue. All I can find is wood chips, I do not know where to find proper logs (ie. 15" x 3"diameter). Obviously the wood needs to be the proper wood for smoking barbecue- not interested in birch, pine, or other obvious fireplace firewood. If anyone knows of a supplier or even a local farmer or orchard that supplies this, please let me know!

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  1. Give Marcs Firewood in Oakville a call. It is located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar.

    1. Have you tried Ontario Gas BBQ? They have a whole room with wood, chips and charcoal.


      If you love to grill/smoke the store is worth the trip up to visit. They have EVERYTHING you could possibly want to use.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Kooper

        I do agree with Kooper, but don't go there for wood logs - they don't have them.

        3 or 4 things to try

        1) Visit local orchards and talk to them, in many cases they give away their fruit wood for free to anyone who wants it. Be careful though, find out what types of spray they use, it might very well be poisonous to you - peel off the bark if you are unsure.

        2) Anyone who has had a tree cut down in their backyard

        3) Firewood companies always have wood, specifiy what type you want (maple and oak easiest to get).

        4) Go to a wood working shop - like a handrail place - they use untreated timber for their stair cases and handrails. One of our local ones used to give me barrels of it for not only home use but business as well (remove the "Green" painted ends - it won't kill you but YUCKY!)

        5) Think outside of the box - try grape vines - they work excellent for smoking as well or if you can get your hands on an old wooden barrel.

        Hope this helps,

        1. re: BusterRhino

          Buster has good advice! For convenience though, Ontario Gas BBQ is now carrying 40lb bags of apple wood logs if you need them.

          1. re: bbqD

            I called and they said 35 lb boxes for $30 (apple)

      2. Orchards around GTA are always replacing older trees and will sell the logs. Here is one used by a major commercial BBQ. http://www.algomaorchards.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: jayt90

          Once again, just make sure you are careful about the spray on the logs - it's poisonous to humans in any quantity when it comes in contact to your food. It might not make you sick eating it once, but eating it lots will definitely up your chances of a serious medical condition becoming prevalent in future years (think DDT)... Peel that bark

        2. I am a certified Carolina Pitmaster trained in competiton BBQ. OK, I just went to South Carolina for a weekend pitmaster course. No one uses logs as the heat source. Most competition BBQers use propane or charcoal with wood chunks. Not the chips you get at Home Hardware, though those can work just fine, but chunks about 2" or 3" across. A log will be too pungent and overwhelm your food. Use a good maple chunk charcoal--never briquettes--and go online to buy wood chunks. Hickory is the most versatile. Mesquite is very strong. Oak is similar to mesquite. Maple can be good. Some people love fruit trees, especially pear. It's all about balance. Keep the heat source relatively flavour neutral and add wood sparingly as a flavour component.

          4 Replies
          1. re: meanmartin

            I didn't just come from a pitmaster course in the south, although I think I have enough street cred to state the following:

            Actually most competition BBQ'rs don't use propane (will get you 'disqualified' from all KCBS events and MIN events) - any one of these pitmasters (most) down south use logs especially if using offset smokers which many of them use. Only the guys using big green eggs, wsm's really use charcoal. You can order wood online, but really why when it's readily available everywhere up here for free.
            Your pitmaster course was teaching you things about wood that are very regional - hickory isn't the most versatile smoke (that would fall into pecans range) - too much hickory will add a bitter acrid taste to the meat. Oak is nothing even remotely like mesquite, not even in the same zone for flavour components. Oak adds a nice rich buttery taste and mesquite when misused (which means almost always) will make your meat inedible. Oak works wonders with red meat, damn straight the best for brisket. (it's why carolinians never win brisket, cause they are good at cooking pork). Maple isn't just good - it's freaking awesome to smoke with - nice easy to eat smoke. Works awesome with pork, chicken and fish.
            In all honesty until you get even remotely competent at southern bbq use maple or oak - they will give you the best results that you need (cherry too actually). Until you have eaten BBQ hundreds of times you won't even be able to tell the difference in the styles of wood used for smoking.
            Using briquettes is also fine as long as you know what goes into them, buying the maple brand in canada is a perfect example - it uses wheat husks as the binder - totally harmless. They also burn at a very consistant and even temperature throughout the entire cook. I will use both in most of my cooks.

            1. re: BusterRhino

              Thanks for the reply. True, it was very regional. They absolutely hated mesquite, and yes, pecan was the favourite for chicken and pork, but they preferred maple for beef. If they were cooking chicken, beef, and pork at the same time in the same pit, they preferred hickory. Most did use propane. The whole hog is their make-it-or-break-it event, so they need very even heat over a very large area, and propane gives them that. I did seem a little questionable to me. Maybe there's a reason South Carolina is not America's BBQ capital? And yes, their brisket was terrible.

              1. re: meanmartin

                that's funny, I was taught in SC by my family (a cousin) over 20 yrs basically how to cook southern bbq - they taught me to cook brisket. A texan pulled me aside one day at memphis and may and said "your brisket sucks" I was sort of taken aback and asked how does he know, he said basically you were trained in the carolinas - then he told me (without asking me how I cooked it) what I was doing wrong (he had me dead to rights) then he explained how to fix it.. I came home, tried his way and have NEVER varied on the method since.

                1. re: BusterRhino

                  That's hilarious! I still learned a hell of a lot from those guys...though I do not finish my brisket in Cherry Coke like they do.

          2. Look on craigslist under "free" around once a week someone has a tree in there yard that they cut down that they are willing to give the wood away free...

            3 Replies
            1. re: ParkerQ

              The city just cut down a 200 year old hickory (hickory!) tree in Trinity Bellwoods park. I want to know...where is it now and how can I get my hands on some?

              1. re: meanmartin

                Many city trees end up on Unwin Street. I think they are free, but the pieces may be quite large. You will have to know the bark pattern to identify your tree!

                1. re: meanmartin

                  Urban Tree Salvage also gets a lot of the City Trees they Reclaimed some from regent park and made it ino an awsome table for a new Regent Park cafe.. http://www.facebook.com/urbantreesalv...

              2. ok thanks for all the great advice folks. I did call Marc's in Oakville and got a couple bags of hickory. Not cheap though, but a good option. I will consider the other suggestions in the future (I am having a BBQ today so I needed it right away). Reading Buster Rhino's response, I am wondering if I should be using a blend of oak and hickory to avoid overpowering the meat, rather than just using only hickory.

                1. I've been a smoky guy for over 45 years and here's a tip...use green hardwood to top off your base coals once hot. You will get a sweeter smoke. After a storm, walk through our greenbelt and you will find many green branches. If a tree removal service is cutting down a live hardwood or trimming same, they will be glad to let you carry off some branches... a bucket of their chips from their chipper also works. Lastly, if grilling chicken or burgers, finish them off with green twigs and leaves from a maple tree for about three to five minutes. Smell that sweet smoke? It translates to the meat.

                  1. I don't mean to be a party pooper, but be very careful what kind of wood you are moving and where you are moving it to. There are firewood moving bans in several parts of Ontario and it's definitely illegal to move wood across the border. It all has to do with the Asian long horned beetle and the emerald ash borer.


                    1 Reply
                    1. I got to the local apple farms when I need wood. I think apple is the best, "all around" wood.

                      Keep in mind that if you buy logs, you need to break them down into fist sized chunks.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Davwud

                        Chunks are available in bags at hardware and BBQ stores as well. But local "wood" is around.

                      2. While driving to cottage country or any of the Great Lakes, I often see 'Firewood for sale' for $3-$6 a bag, and I bought one on Hwy. 79 below Lake Huron this week. I asked about the contents, and spraying, and was happy to learn that it contained maple and walnut logs (confirmed by bark pattern.)
                        This made a fine afternoon fire and coals , with a scent I rarely get with chips, at minimal cost.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jayt90

                          that's the way to do it, walnut would be an excellent wood to smoke with, hard hard wood usually which would allow for a very long deep smoke cycle.

                        2. Try Glenn at FirewoodSolutions.com, they sell bundles of Hickory or Cherry wood for smoking, and they're located in downtown Toronto.

                          1. I have an offset smoker 1/4 inch and I have tried many things..first i tried the logs, two across and two across again Xs and Os style, light with log lighter burn down and try to produce some decent food...did not work...hard to manage temperature wise and over smoked with that white puffy smoke that makes food taste bad..tried briquettes stacked Minion Method and logs..still over smoked but temperature was well maintained, till the briquettes burned down and started choking the fire...then I got a square charcoal basket and used fist sized wood chunks and lump charcoal..presto...above average product, rave reviews from friends, an easy to manage fire for 4 hours till you pour more charcoal in, lift your firebox lid to let white smoke out and continue. Wood I use is primary cherry or apple with hickory chunks that I buy from WalMart across the border and some hardwood I got from a woodworking shop which is kiln dried untreated and great to bump up the heat if the fire is burning down as it burns super hot...hope this helps..took about 5 years to produce some decent Q and lots of surfing and reading and bad tasting food along the way.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ebay3392

                              What is a "charcoal basket"? Got a picture link or something?

                              1. re: SocksManly

                                Here is a shot from my smoker, lump charcoal is loaded in there, lit charcoal at the top and burns down and is very manageable. I bought from above. Google charcoalbasket and you will see...I get 4-5 hours out of a full basket and then replenish it.