8.2 To bark or not to bark
[When I smoke with a wood fire, should I leave the bark on or remove
I learned the hard way--ruining some good meat in my smoker by leaving
on the bark. Now I save the pieces with the bark on and use for my grilled meat. Seems to
work fine there where I am depending on burning the wood to coals instead of smoking.
I don't worry about the bark. I've read posts that said to take it off.
It might depend on the nature of the fire. As I've said, I prefer a clean burn and can get
away with the bark on since I have a large smoker. Under these conditions, I don't find
that I have a problem with the bark. On other types of smokers, there might be a problem
with bitter taste.
To me it doesn't make a difference--bark on or off.
IMHO, the bark can add a bitter taste to the meat. Someone else might
know more about this and can correct me if I am wrong, but I was told this was due to the
tannic acid which the bark contains. I remove all bark from the wood I use in my smoker.
There was a discussion in 1996 on the List about bark giving the meat a
bitter taste. If I recall, it was never completely settled. I leave the bark on the wood
if it does not come off easy. Can't say as I ever noticed a taste difference, bark on or
Like green vs. dry, this debate is never over. Most folks probably don't
think too much about this one but some feel the burning bark can produce a bitter taste.