Wednesday, March 15, 2017

BEYOND PRICING: THE TOP THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING COOKING WOOD



BEYOND PRICING: THE TOP THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING COOKING WOOD
This article explores the items to consider when purchasing wood beyond price
smokinlicious.com


We have your top things to consider when purchasing cooking wood!  We are getting closer to peak season in North America for outdoor cooking.  What a perfect time to start thinking about what you want to get out of your outdoor cooking time this year so you’ll be able to source the supplies you’ll need and feel confident in your decisions.  This includes the wood used for cooking.

There are many companies who offer woods for cooking in the United States.  We thought we’d assist you in determining the perfect fit for your needs based on what you’re looking for in the cooking wood as well as a match for your equipment.

Today, we are going to compare 7 popular cooking wood companies who may use the terms cooking woods, grilling woods, wood and BBQ, gourmet cooking woods, or BBQ products.  The comparison will include 9 key areas: Established date of the business, where the wood is harvested or sourced from, wood types offered, how the wood is sold, shipping costs, treatment process the wood is exposed to, packaging of the product, if bark is present, and primary claim made by the Company.   Following this listing, I will highlight any information that you may want to question further.

Our goal is to arm the purchaser with needed information to ensure that they are getting the perfect wood for the cooking technique(s) they plan to do.  Remember, there are different variables needed in a wood for different methods of wood-fired cooking which you can read about further in our blog Taste is Aroma (http://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/?p=405)

CAROLINA COOK WOOD
Established: Unable to locate
Harvest: Local to S. Carolina
Wood Types: Cherry, White Oak, Apple, Hickory, Peach
Shipping: Charge
Product Sold By: Cubic feet for logs/pounds for chunks & chips
Wood Treatment Process: “Naturally cured”; denies kiln drying
Bark On: Yes
Product Packaging: Burlap bags, ½ cord stacked split firewood or on a pallet
Claim: “Our cooking wood is locally harvested, freshly cut and naturally cured”

Notes: All species listed would be native to S. Carolina with Apple and Peach being orchard woods not necessarily forest woods.  Although some products are sold by the cubic foot which is the legal method of sale for the wood commodity, others are sold by weight.  “Naturally cured” implies air drying so the wood could have laid around for many months.


COWBOY CHARCOAL
Established: 1992 under the name Cowboy Charcoal; purchased in 2015 by Duraflame, Inc.
Harvest: Unclear
Wood Types: Apple, Hickory, Mesquite
Shipping: Charge
Product Sold By: Cubic inches
Wood Treatment Process: Not specified
Bark On: Yes
Product Packaging: Plastic bags, individual foil tins for chip product
Claim: Long standing charcoal manufacturer under various trade names

Notes: Apple would be an orchard wood rather than forest grown.  Mesquite is not native to TN and KY which are the manufacturing locations for the Company, thus, it’s likely these woods are imported into the states.  Plastic packaging implies the wood has a very low moisture level which would be in line with a charcoal manufacturing practice.

FRUITA WOOD & BBQ SUPPLY
Established: Unable to locate
Harvest: Not specified
Wood Types: Apple, Cherry, Peach, Apricot, Red Oak, Post Oak, Maple, Hickory, Pecan, Pear, Grape, Plum, Alder, Mesquite, Sassafras
Shipping: Included in pricing
Product Sold By: Weight
Wood Treatment Process: “Naturally cured”
Bark On: Yes
Product Packaging: Cartons
Claim: “The wood out of our valley contained more sugar and moisture than any other wood on the market.”

Notes: It is likely that the woods sources for sale are from areas outside of the state since many of the selections are not native to Colorado.  This implies that the Company is merely the seller and not directly involved with the manufacturing process.  Wood is sold by weight and is air dried as defined by the term “naturally cured”. Their claim to have woods that “have more sugar and moisture than any others on the market” cannot be validated as hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin composition are relative to the wood species.  Plus, they indicate that they “naturally cured” their woods which translates to air drying like you do for seasoning firewood to render out the moisture.

MAINE GRILLING WOODS
Established: 2005
Harvest: “Local wood cutters and farmers in Maine”
Wood Types: Acadian Oak, Black Cherry, DownEast Hickory, Golden Alder, Mountain Mesquite, North Atlantic Olive, Northern Beechnut, Northern White Cedar, Sugar Maple, Wild Apple
Shipping: Included in pricing
Product Sold By: Cubic Inches
Wood Treatment Process: Not specified other than “dried”
Bark On: Yes
Product Packaging: Cartons, poly bags
Claim: “Our wood comes fresh from the many small woodlots and family farms in the nearby rural areas of coastal and central Maine”

Notes:  I assume that Acadian Oak is a reference to the oak coming from the Acadian forest in Maine while the name “DownEast Hickory” is the company’s nickname since there is no variety of Hickory by that name.  I am unclear on the references to North Atlantic Olive as I am aware of no olive trees per se that are native to Maine.  Again, Mesquite would not be native to the state of Maine given its poor tolerance to winter conditions. 


SHARPE GOURMET COOKING WOODS
Established: 2006?
Harvest: None specified – indicates they source woods from all over the USA
Wood Types: Alder, Almond, Hickory, Peach, Apple, Red Oak, Cherry, Pecan, Wine Barrel, Post Oak, Olive logs, Ash, Avocado, Citrus, Grape, Maple, Mesquite, Walnut
Shipping: Charge (note: delivered and stacked for firewood sold in S. California)
Product Sold By: Cubic feet
Wood Treatment Process: Not specified
Bark On: Yes
Product Packaging: Plastic bags
Claim: “All Sharpe Gourmet Products are custom processed, packed & shipped from The Woodshed in Orange, California.  We search the U.S. for the best quality wood & package the finest chips, chunks and logs to enhance the flavor of your favorite foods!  We specialize in exotic, hard to find varieties!”

Notes: Since this Company is sourcing woods from all over, there is likely no consistency in the products moisture or overall condition.  It is also unclear who is completing the manufacturing of the wood into the chips, chunks, and logs.

VAUGHN WOOD PRODUCTS
Established: Unable to locate
Harvest: Within a few weeks of being sold but does not state where the wood’s origin is
Wood Types: Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Oak, Alder, Grape
Shipping: Included in pricing
Product Sold By: Cubic feet for chunks, weight for split logs, weight for chips
Wood Treatment Process: “heat treated to prevent mold”
Bark On: Yes
Product Packaging: Plastic bags, shrink wrap, cartons
Claim: “Nearly 95% of all our products come from trees we have harvested within a few weeks of our products being sold. We have high quality and the freshest woods on the market.” 

Notes: Although it certainly is possible to harvest fresh wood and heat treat it, as wood, when green can have as much as 50% water by weight, it would take a very long heating process to rid enough moisture from the wood to be able to package it stably in plastic bags.

WESTERN PREMIUM BBQ PRODUCTS
Established: 1986 AS W W Wood Inc.
Harvest: Not specified
Wood Types: Apple, Alder, Hickory, Mesquite, Maple, Oak, Pecan, Orange, Peach, Jack Daniel’s
Shipping: Must be purchased at a partner location
Product Sold By: Liter, cubic feet
Wood Treatment Process: Under USDA-Protocol T-314-a.  Compliance Agreement Permit No. TDA-271
Bark On: Yes
Product Packaging: Plastic bags
Claim: “Business has grown from supplying Hickory and Mesquite wood to local barbequers to supplying the world with a multitude of wood flavors and BBQ related items”

Notes: This is a Texas based Company which means some of the species listed are not native to that state.  They likely source outside wood supply for the inventory.   Online purchases will dictate if shipping is included or is a separate charge based on the online business dealer selected.



Now you have the key list of points to compare to us- www.smokinlicious.com. By Donna J. Grant, M.S., Wood Flavourist at SMOKINLICIOUS® GOURMET WOOD PRODUCTS.



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