Smoking meat with newly fallen cherry

We just took down an ornamental cherry tree in my front yard this morning because it was dying. I saved a wheelbarrow full of the 4 in diameter branches for my smoker. I think I will make a cherry and oak smoked pork shoulder this week – an interesting test of what happens when you smoke with uncured wood. Does anyone have any experience with using freshly fallen uncured wood for smoking? How important is it to remove the bark? I intend to remove the bark with a hammer and chisel, but it will be a PITA.

Did the same when a wild cherry fell over in the yard during some severe weather. Although I have no experience with using the cherry uncured, bark on or off makes no detectable difference to my taste buds. As the wood seasons the bark will come off easily for future cooks.

Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ says he uses unseasoned oak all the time since he can’t find a reliable supply of seasoned oak

I don’t remove the bark from
My apple or oak. Never saw the need. The green wood doesn’t smoke real well as you have to evaporate the moisture first. When I have green wood I usually toss it in too of a bed of hot coals.

When I’ve used unseasoned hickory in my smoker I can’t hold the temperature where I need it. Now, if the wood is seasoned to around 25% it is easier to burn clean smoke and hold temps. Freshly cut wood is around 80% hydration. You can get a wood moisture meter off amazon quick and cheap. Just me, but my BBQ failures haunt my dreams.

If you’ve got sappy cherry wood, I’d avoid it as the burning sap can give an acrid flavor to the smoked product. If it appears pretty clean, I agree with the above in that temperature control (or lack thereof) because of the challenge with keeping it smoldering is the main concern.

I’ve had mixed luck with unseasoned wood. Apple branches burned pretty well, and I didn’t get a ton of dirty smoke. Alder has been hit or miss, but I’ve noticed a definite improvement with every couple of weeks it seasons. Maple was a mess, with liquid dripping out the end as it burned.

I’d try to put it aside for a month or two and look forward to a great cook end of June, personally.

FWIW, I just split a ton of alder and maple and stacked it. I have a buddy that is a member of a local golf course… and he’s great friends with their maintenance crew. Best investment of a bottle of bourbon I’ve ever made.

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That’s pretty genius, Andrew, to have a golf course crew bring you wood!

I had to pick it up, but it was chain-sawed down into rounds already. I picked up a Wenn Dragon splitter and spent six hours breaking it down into splits. Just need to find a golf course now that has oak and hickory growing all over it lol.

I’d let it dry personally. I had a bunch of apple wood from a tree I took down and results were anecdotally better when dried.

Is ornamental cherry wood essentially the same as fruiting cherry?

Growing up, we didn’t use wood for cooking often, but we used a lot for heat. For either purpose, you want it to cure, We used to cut down / cut up dead trees, also bought some ends of logs from a lumber yard and let them season. You can tell when you’re splitting it if it’s been well seasoned. We used a splitting maul and occasionally a splitting wedge. Good workout.