We all remember the lesson we learned while in grade school concerning the growth of trees - tree growth is dependent on roots in the ground and leaves in the air. This is the core to understanding the relationship between water and wood. The roots of the tree collect moisture and nutrients from the soil and relay them through vessels or fibers up the trunk and branches to the leaves. These vessels run vertically in a standing forest tree. Cut the tree down, however, and these vessels or fibers become horizontal.
Wood is hygroscopic which means, when exposed to air, wood will lose or gain moisture until it is in balance with the humidity and temperature of the air. Change the relative humidity by 50 percent and you'll have a 10 percent change in moisture content of the wood. This is the reason why storage of woods used for wood-fired cooking is so vital. At SmokinLicious®, we recommend that all our culinary woods be stored in a dry, cool, light-free location. We also recommend that the wood be placed in a well ventilated container (i.e. a cardboard box with air-holes punched in it, an open wood crate, or any container that will allow air to circulate; just avoid plastic which can react with some woods).
By now, you know that the key to an exceptional wood cooking event is to have hardwoods that retain some level of moisture, preferably ~20%. The higher the moisture level, the more smoke that will be generated. SmokinLicious® harvests our woods from the forests of Western New York and Pennsylvania, where the trees are known to have high moisture levels. Despite this, SmokinLicious® wants to ensure that the consumer receives the freshest, highest quality hardwood. Therefore, we are the only manufacturer of cooking wood products for wood-fired cooking methods that takes moisture readings of each and every product just prior to shipping.
Of course, if the end use is not for traditional hot smoking but for charring, searing or even cold smoking, then the moisture level will need to be adjusted in order to facilitate the optimal outcome for these cooking techniques.
WE can do that! That's the difference when you deal with the actual manufacturer of a product.
On average, our wood products have the following moisture levels:
Culinary Wood Chunks = 22.4%,
Culinary Wood Chips = 20%,
Culinary Barrel Logs = 25.8%;
Culinary Smokin' Dust = 12%.
Please note that these figures are an average of the eight wood species we currently supply. Thus, certain species will have higher moisture levels due to the density of the wood (i.e. red oak chunks have a much higher moisture level than Wild Cherry - nearly 2:1).
It is our intention to empower the consumer with information on the qualities to look for in a cooking wood, to avoid finding themselves as owner of a package of firewood, or wood products that are designed to be a heat source only and not necessarily for cooking!
When you purchase one of our culinary quality wood products, you will find an insert in the package that will tell you the moisture level of the wood at the time of packaging. We are the only company manufacturing to do this step.
Superior Product… Superior Outcome! All wood-fired products for smoking, grilling, coal cooking, ember fired, cold smoking, and stove top smoking. Only Forest Fresh wood used in all our products.