HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Downed Maple. Can I profit?

  • 13
  • Share

A nominally substantial chunk of our maple tree took a tumble. As we dispense of it, does it make sense to set aside some for grilling? Would we have to treat it somehow to make that realistic?

And yes, I understand this is a naive question.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
  1. Hi, Kevin:

    Maple is excellent for grilling. Prolly not as premium as fruitwood, but really nice. I buzzed up about a 1/2 cord of maple today for my grill and cookstove, AAMOF.

    Treat? Depends on how you plan to use it. If you put it on top of charcoal or other seasoned wood, you can burn it pretty green, and get a lot of good smoke. If you want hot fires for pizza or steaks, you prolly want to bang it into fist-sized chunks, and let it sit under cover for 6 months. It doesn't go as far that way, but you'll like your results.


    9 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Yes, I second everything Kaleo said.

      In addition, maple makes nice "charcoal" bits. I save the hard charcoal-like burned pieces after cooking is done from my wood fire oven, then use them later on the charcoal grill.

      Also, I don't worry about chain saw oil, any oil deposited on the wood is only a tiny bit on the outside. It burns away within minutes of the fire so it has never effected my food.

      1. re: sedimental

        I guess that depends on the chain saw and the chain oil. I've seen some pieces of firewood with a lot of chain oil on the ends.

        1. re: sedimental

          Hi, sedimental:

          I don't worry about the bar oil, either. Between the heat and cookstoves and helping friends fell and clear, I cut at least every two weeks. I've NEVER seen bar oil in the cuts. There may be a *tiny* amount in the chips that are thrown, but it's basically a self-cleaning system.

          Considering the capacity of the saw for bar oil, how slowly it is emptied, how many cuts you can make between fills, the sawdust clearing the oil, and evaporation over the months of seasoning the cut wood, I'm not losing sleep over oil in my cooking wood. A person might as well worry over paint coming off his wedge, maul or peavey.


          1. re: kaleokahu

            Just wondering. My friends and I used a chain saw to butcher an eight hundred pound elk last fall. We used a chain saw with veg oil to lubricate the chain. IYO we didn't need to bother? Just regular chain saw oil right?

            1. re: Puffin3

              If the elk was made of wood, then I'd say you interpreted Kaleo's opinion correctly. All his comments were clearly in regard to wood, not animals.

              1. re: Puffin3

                Yeah, hi, Puffin:

                Your extra precaution with your elk was probably wise--the meat and bone "fines" probably stay with the cuts, whereas with wood they're mostly thrown clear.

                You have a dedicated meat chainsaw that has only seen vegetable oil? If it works as well as petroleum-based bar oil, why not? I'll put on a disguise and ask my Stihl dealer what he thinks...

                Personally, I think a cordless Sawzall would probably be the best power tool for splitting and quartering out a big game carcass. Then you wouldn't have an oil issue. Or do it by hand.


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  A number of us use the same chain saw. Cutting up an elk is a LOT of work with a bow-saw.
                  Now days hunters that I know (I don't hunt anymore) when a moose or an elk is taken it's field dressed then winched onto a trailer behind a quad then taken to camp and quartered then back home to hang.
                  The dedicated chain saw makes easy work.

                  1. re: Puffin3

                    Hi, Puffin:

                    You mean no Trapper Johnson pack boards anymore? Pshaw.

                    Seriously, if this thread lasts long enough, someone's gonna worry over the BPA in the saw's fuel tank or the 10cc of gas used to factory test the saw.


                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Oops, I meant Trapper *Nelson*

        2. Problem: When/if you use a chain saw to cut the maple up the chain oil can and will be deposited on the wood.
          Depending on the saw/chain sharpness a little or a lot of this oil will end up being turned into oil vapors getting onto the food.
          When I have used a chain saw to cut up wood intended for the smokehouse or the BBQ I have always used a cheap cooking oil like sunflower oil in the chain saw. The only trick is to have first washed out the regular oil and the chain must be VERY sharp so as not to over heat the chain. Actually I used to have a chain saw I only used to cut wild game and to cut wood for the smokehouse and the BBQ.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Puffin3

            I like the dedicated chainsaw for butchering and harvesting cooking wood. Never thought of the small amount of oil on the chain. I use a bow saw or sawzall for butchering. No worries about oil. Rust on the bow saw is another matter. At least I don't have to take iron supplements:-)

            My grandfather in southern Michigan would let the maple and butternut cure for over a year before being used. But that was for fireplaces.

          2. What kind of maple? Silver/norway are fireplace and woodstove fodder. If I were putting some aside for cooking or smoking, I'd look for sugar maple only. No real treatment needed, cut to size and split so it dries a little faster (and it ain't gonna be this summer). Are you looking to cook over a wood fire? Make charcoal?