Contact with Kingsford

I've wondered about the safety of using smoking chips, e.g., the ones from Kingsford and went to their site to contact them about it. Here's our exchange:

Me: I have a concern with your chips for smoking. I thought wood needed to be preburned (like lump charcoal) to be used for smoking. Otherwise, if you burn fresh wood, like those chips, you add a ton of volatiles to the food as the wood begins to smolder. Can you explain a bit more about the way your wood chips are treated and address the safety of smoking food with them?

Kingsford Guy: Thank you for your recent e-mail about KINGSFORD wood chips. The information you requested will require further research. Unfortunately, it may be several days before we will be able to provide an answer to your question. Once we have the necessary information, however, we will provide it to you by e-mail as promptly as possible.

Having thought about this exchange for the weekend, I'm actually kind of shocked at the Kingsford guys response. I'm more than a little surprised he didn't have this information immediately available. Should be interesting to see what he comes up with researching their own product! Good thing Dr. B's here for an authoritative opinion.


Guy said...

Naw, it's seasoned wood. That's okay. It has to be seasoned at least 6 months for cooking.

You gotta make darned sure your smoker has the exhaust on full open, only regulate temperature with the intake.

I use entire pieces of firewood (oak & almond) in my smoker. It's all about fire tending skills to make sure you don't get those white plumes of smoke coming out, that right there is where the creosote comes from, gets on the meat and makes it bitter.
For smoking I preburn my wood. This ensures almost no temperature drop when adding fuel. I did a wonderful tri-tip yesterday, treeemendous!


Anonymous said...

So it can be seasoned (aged) and NOT preburned and still be ok to used to add smoke? I know we've discussed this before, I'm just still uncertain. Thanks for the input.

Guy said...

Hey mang,

Sorry for the delay, been busy!

Yeah, it's okay. But again, you have to really be careful about your air flow. It's all about fire tending and air flow. Adjust temperature by intake. If you close down your exhaust, the smoke will condense causing creosote and causing it to condense on yer meat. This is where that bitter taste comes from. Don't add too much smoking wood at one time, you don't want to overwhelm the fire and cause it to smolder. Just keep yer eyes open and it'll be fine.

The badass backwood guys who smoke, use whole seasoned hardwoods in their smokers. Never at any time does any white plumes escape the smoker. When you've hit the zen of it, you can only catch clear blue wafts and nearly put your nose in to the exhaust only to get a sweet sweet smell.
What you 'should' be using is 'cooking wood'. They're softball sized hunks of seasoned wood. Use that instead of the mesquite or lump charcoal and smoking chips. Preburn the cooking wood/mesquite so when you add it to your smoker, there's no dip in temperature or smouldering anything. Clear blue wafts/ no dips in temperature, that's the crease baby.