Foraging For Wood to Smoke Food Over

September 5th, 2011

We get a lot of questions about what sort of wood is best to smoke food over.  There are a couple to avoid – yew and laburnam for example are toxic.  We tend to go for the less resinous hard woods.  We have regularly used oak, beech and elm as well as wood from various fruit trees. 

Cumbria is not known for a its fruit-growing climate but in the southern Lakes we have the Lyth Valley – well known for its damsons and of course damson gin…  When Smoky Jo visited our friends Oliver and Victoria on their Cowmire Hall damson gin stand at the Holker Flower show she happened to meet another member of the Westmorland Damson Association.  This chance conversation led to a soggy mission on Saturday to harvest a fallen damson tree from Halecat, part of the wonderful Witherslack Estate.  And it was a very soggy mission!  There are pigs kept within the orchard so the ground was fairly muddy – but we were disappointed not to have a porcine audience as we used foolish hand saws to reduce the tree to car sized chunks.  Chunks that fit in a car, that is.

When we had finished we repaired to the Derby Arms at Witherslack where I had the best bowl of mushroom soup (with a vast yet perfect amount of roast garlic) I have ever had.  I shall definitely be adding smoke-roasted garlic to my next batch of mushroom soup.  Jo’s beef sandwiches were pretty special too and the real ale went down a treat…

One Response to “Foraging For Wood to Smoke Food Over”

  1. mike p says:

    Hi and thanks for the confirmation on using damson wood.i feel most wood for smoking if bought if bought online is expensive.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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