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Are these types of wood safe to use? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Are these types of wood safe to use?

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  • Are these types of wood safe to use?

    I have been reading the posts about types of wood to use. I was wondering if anyone has experience with two types of wood I have collected. My neighbor cut some large limbs off of her Locust tree (Robinia). Does anyone have any experience using this wood in their pizza oven? Also, I have collected the wood from a dead Summer Holly (Comarostaphylos), which I know is related to manzanita and madrone, so I do feel pretty safe about that. I just want to make sure the wood I am going to use is going to be safe to cook with, i.e. are there be any toxins in these types of wood. Are there types of wood to definitely stay away from? (I have read some of the discussions about Walnut and Eucalyptus).

  • #2
    Re: Are these types of wood safe to use?

    I do not know for sure if they are safe, but I do remember reading about some French or British soldiers who used holly or yew branches to hold meat over a fire to cook it and it turns out they are poisonous. I read it years ago about a battle many, many years ago, but it sticks in my mind.

    I am a big believer in "if you are not sure, don't use it"
    http://cookinginmyyard.com

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    • #3
      Re: Are these types of wood safe to use?

      There is a difference between sticking a branch in food versus burning it. The organic toxins from burned woods should be destroyed in the WFO (consistent with clearing the oven). while some contamination might be possible I doubt you need worry about those. Metallic and inorganic toxins are a much bigger concern IMO for they will tend to be more durable and long lasting.

      Still, I would not argue against caution!
      Jay

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      • #4
        Re: Are these types of wood safe to use?

        I just read a post on a BBQ smoker site that talked about side effects of using walnut. The complaints were mainly numbness of the lips and mouth after eating food smoked with walnut wood.

        Does not sound like something I want to try.
        http://cookinginmyyard.com

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        • #5
          Re: Are these types of wood safe to use?

          Has anyone used Madrone in their oven? I have access to as much of that as I want but want to make sure it is safe.

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          • #6
            Re: Are these types of wood safe to use?

            Originally posted by Hansall@comcast.net View Post
            Has anyone used Madrone in their oven? I have access to as much of that as I want but want to make sure it is safe.
            Read link........seems like a great wood to use.

            Pacific Madrone Firewood

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            • #7
              Re: Are these types of wood safe to use?

              I have burned quite a bit of Locust (I think it is honey locust). It is a nice dense hardwood, not very fragrant though. I have also burned walnut without any problem. I am guessing that toxicity of wood is similar to food allergies. I recall reading somewhere that if you are allergic to tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.) then you should not burn those types of woods. Makes sense.
              I know Cocobolo is "poisonous". My bagpipes were made from cocobolo and the guy who made them needed a special filtration system for the sawdust. The word "Poisonous" is such a strong word; it really means that it can be a skin irritant or cause respiriatory problems in some people. But then again, breathing any kind of smoke can cause respiratory distress.

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              • #8
                Re: Are these types of wood safe to use?

                Gang,

                There are many issues with the wrong woods. Check out the sticky on woods AND research things. For instance - not all walnut wood is the same! When in doubt, do not use as the toxins may not be apparent on the first or second use.

                My attitude is, if you cannot smoke with it, do not use it for cooking. Here is a great link

                Wood for smoking

                Disclosure: I will heat my oven with pine (that I know where it was sourced) for the first hour before I switch over to my cooking woods as I heat my oven for at least 2 hours prior to cooking!

                Hope this helps.
                Jen-Aire 5 burner propane grill/Char Broil Smoker

                Follow my build Chris' WFO

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Are these types of wood safe to use?

                  Originally posted by C5dad View Post
                  Gang,

                  There are many issues with the wrong woods. Check out the sticky on woods AND research things. For instance - not all walnut wood is the same! When in doubt, do not use as the toxins may not be apparent on the first or second use.

                  My attitude is, if you cannot smoke with it, do not use it for cooking. Here is a great link

                  Wood for smoking

                  Disclosure: I will heat my oven with pine (that I know where it was sourced) for the first hour before I switch over to my cooking woods as I heat my oven for at least 2 hours prior to cooking!

                  Hope this helps.
                  Hi C5Dad,

                  The flaw in your statement is that you narrowly define cooking to when you use an open flame. The pine that you use to heat your oven, becomes a cooking fuel once the energy from it is transferred to the bricks or whatever thermal mass that you have. Then you can cook in various ways, baking, broiling, boiling, frying, steaming and never need a wood thats only capable of smoking with. I do save my fruit and nut woods for open flamed and smoking for the flavors they add.

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