Can I leave bark on the wood or should I take it off when smoking?

Simon W

New member
I have a large cherry tree in the back garden which has supplied me with great wood for smoking. Unfortunately its dying so we have to cut it down this year but on the plus side it leaves us with more cherry wood than i will ever know what to do with.

Until now i have been removing the outer bark from the wood before using it on the WSM but it is a bit of a pain to do and I wondered what peoples experience of leaving the bark on has been like. Are there specific types of wood where its best to remove it and are there ones where it really doesnt matter? Are there any meats where it makes a difference or not?

We have friends over at the weekend and i am smoking some ribs and not sure if i should experiment with leaving the bark on this time.


TVWBB Super Fan
Not sure about smoking...but I know that the bark burns a lot faster when camping...and not just talking about birch.

Whether that affects smoking or not, I don't know - not experienced enough. I would think though that the inside of a tree "should be" anything that attacks/lives/affects the tree should be attached to the bark. Probably better "not" to put that stuff onto your food in the form of it's smoke?


TVWBB Super Fan
I have never taken the bark off, if the wood was green I might try to get it off as you get a huge amount of flavor in the green bark, a little is fine but you can over power rubs and meat taste, I use shag bark off hickory tree's when I grill on any grill and I put strips of it into my pellet tube then pack pellets in. if the tree is dead the barks going to be dried out long before the hardwood is imo. hate you lost a tree but it happens


TVWBB Olympian
If the bark looks punky like mold or mildew you can remove or put the chunks on top of your chimney starter.
That should burn off any nasties. If you ever used a topical spray ( insecticide) it's also a good idea to remove or toast.