Is Kiln Dried Wood Any Good For Smoking Meat With?

Selecting the best type of smoking wood is mostly about pairing the right mix of woods with your food.

So, does it really matter if smoking wood has been kiln-dried? Or should you avoid cooking with this specially heat-treated timber?

Well, in this post, you will find out how kiln dried wood differs from air-dried seasoned lumber. You’ll also learn if this milling process is safe enough to use on smoking wood.

And keep reading to discover why kiln dried wood burns up faster than seasoned wood.

is kiln dried wood good for smoking meat

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First Thing’s First…What’s Kiln-Dried Wood Exactly?

Well, kiln dried wood has been super-heated in a kiln oven. Essentially, this wood has been seasoned using a super-heated process, as opposed to traditional air-drying.

Related Post: How To Season Wood (7 Tips)

Now, Kiln drying in and of itself, does not involve chemical treatments. Rather, kiln dried wood is simply heated for up to 36 hours at around 94°C (201.2°F).

And, because it’s heated rather than air-dried, Kiln-dried wood has a lower moisture content than traditionally seasoned wood.

Wood that has been traditionally seasoned over a period of 6-12 months, has a moisture content of under 19%. However, kiln dried woods moisture content can be as low as 12%.

What Do You Mean By Moisture Content Exactly?

Moisture content is simply a way to measure how much water is sloshing around in lumber.

Freshly logged lumber has a lot of moisture in it. Often referred to as ‘green’ wood, at this early stage, wood has a moisture content of nearly 100%.

OK. But Is Kiln Dried Wood Safe? Can You Smoke Meat With Kiln Dried Wood?

If that wood has only been kiln-dried, (and hasn’t been further treated), then it is perfectly safe to smoke with. However, unless you’ve personally kiln-dried that natural solid wood yourself, it may not be free of chemical treatments.

You see, kiln dried wood often gets put through an additional process called ‘pressure treatment’. And this treatment involves infusing wood with rot-resistant chemical preservatives.

This type of Kiln Dried wood is typically stamped as KDAT, meaning that it has been K.iln D.ried A.fter T.reating. And this particular type of kiln dried timber should never be used for cooking with.

So Is It Safe To Smoke Meat With Untreated Kiln Dried Wood?

Sure it is. At the end of the day, kiln drying alone does not add chemicals or toxins to wood.

So, provided that the wood species itself is already safe for you to cook with, then kiln drying does not make it unsafe.

Related Post: Is Mango Wood Good For Smoking Meat?

Quick Side Note: One thing to bear in mind about kiln dried wood, is how fast it burns. As this wood has a very low moisture content, it will burn up faster than air-dried seasoned wood.

To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…

  • 1). Kiln drying wood is a milling process that aims to speed up wood seasoning. It does this by drying wood in a high-heat kiln oven for a few days.
  • 2). Untreated kiln dried wood is safe to cook with. This wood has not had any additional chemicals or wood preserving treatments added to it.
  • 3). However, KDAT wood is not safe to smoke meat with. This wood has been kiln dried after having been chemically treated. And those chemicals are too dangerous to have burning up in your smoker.


Husbands, A. and Cranford, S., 2019. A material perspective of wood, smoke, and BBQ. Matter, 1(5), pp.1092-1095.