Is Hackberry Wood Good For Smoking Meat?

If you’re into smoky BBQ, then you’ve likely already tried smoking meat with say Hickory or Oak. Those flavorsome timbers can give food the smokiest taste.

Yet, their intensity is better suited for heavy red meats or pork. And when it comes to poultry, they can tend to overwhelm meats such as chicken, and turkey.

Which is where Hackberry wood comes in. This particular smoking lumber will give meat a milder taste than Hickory, Oak, or even Maple wood can.

But, is it safe to burn Hackberry wood in your smoker?

Well, in this post, you’ll learn what kind of wood should not be used to smoke meats… and why. You’ll also find out why Hackberry wood pairs so well with poultry — but less so with heavy red meats.

is hackberry good for smoking meat

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Can You Use Hackberry Wood In A Smoker?

This fruit-bearing tree produces timber that adds a great smoky taste to meat.

The Sugar Hackberry tree is milder than a lot of traditional smoking woods, such as Hickory and Oak. And it gives meat a sweeter flavor than those aforementioned smoking woods too.

However, Hackberry’s slight sweetness doesn’t mesh well with heavy red meats. Still, it does go very well with smoking poultry such as chicken and turkey, and even pork,

Related Post: Is Ash Wood Good For Smoking Meat?

Is There A Wood That Gives Heavy Meat A Stronger Smoky Flavor?

Hickory is one of the best smoking woods you can use for a strong smoky flavor. So, this timber pairs well with heavier meats such as beef.

However, when it comes to Hickory, you must make sure you don’t end up over-smoking your food. If you saturate meat with Hickory smoke for too long, your food can end up tasting very bitter.

But Is It Really Safe To Use Hackberry Wood In A Smoker?

When it comes to food safety, the main thing you need to watch for is tree sap/pitch.

In short, you must avoid burning wood that contains a lot of resinous tree sap/pitch. These resinous lumbers will add an unpleasant taste to your food. In fact, some of that resin can become infused into the meat, making it virtually inedible.

This is why hardwoods like Hickory, Oak and Maple are so popular. These woods are low in sap and have a strong flavor that will compliment your food.

While woods like Cedar and Pine are to be avoided, since they contain so much sap.

And Is Hackberry Wood The Best Mild Smoking Wood?

When smoking poultry, you’ll find that using a type of wood that will add a mild flavor is best. This is because — unlike strong Hickory — certain mild woods can have a sweet tang to them.

Fruit-bearing trees, (like Hackberry trees), are famous for producing timber that infuses a sweeter tasting smokiness to food.

So Hackberry wood is in some good company alongside Apple wood, Peach wood and Plum wood. The smoke from these timbers can give meat a slightly sweet flavor that is incredibly tasty.

Related Post: Is Plum Wood Good For Smoking Meat?

Can You Mix Hackberry Wood With Other Smoking Woods?

If you want to mellow out otherwise very bitter smoking woods (such as Walnut), you can mix them with Hackberry.

Hackberry will add a touch of sweetness that will compliment the strong flavor of these woods.

And What Can You Do To Make Hackberry Wood Smoke Better?

Well, one of the most important things to remember is to always use dry wood in your smoker.

Dry wood, (also referred to as seasoned wood), doesn’t produce a lot of thick smoke. And this means that using it to slow-cook meat won’t end up overwhelming your food with smokiness.

Now, when wood has been freshly cut and logged, it’s filled with moisture. And all of that excess moisture is the reason behind excessive smoke emissions.

But if you let wood season, (which takes around 6-12 months), it’ll become dry enough to burn cleanly.

Discover more about how to quickly get Hackberry wood to dry out in time for your BBQ by checking out our post here: How To Season Wood (7 Tips)

To Sum Up, Here Are the 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…

  • 1). Hackberry wood is a mild smoking wood. It’s sweeter smoky flavor pairs well with poultry, and fish.
  • 2). Hackberry wood can be mixed with much stronger smoking woods such as Hickory and Walnut.
  • 3). Only use well seasoned Hackberry wood to smoke meats with. If it is still too wet, it will emit too much smoke for you to control properly.


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