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The Benefits of Using Kiln-Dried Wood for Your Smoker

The Benefits of Using Kiln-Dried Wood for Your Smoker

Rhodri Evans |


Are you a fan of the rich, smoky flavour that graces your food when you use a smoker? If so, you're part of a growing trend. Smoking has become an increasingly popular cooking method, especially in the UK where the love for barbecued and smoked delicacies is ever-growing. Have you ever considered, though, the type of wood you use in your smoker? It has a significant effect on the overall quality and flavour of your smoked foods. One of the best options to consider is kiln-dried wood, and we're here to tell you why!

What is Kiln-Dried Wood?

Kiln-dried wood, as the name suggests, is wood that has been dried in a kiln—a type of oven. During the kiln-drying process, the wood is subjected to controlled heat and humidity conditions, effectively removing the majority of its moisture content. This process results in a product that not only burns better but also is safer to use.

So, why should you choose kiln-dried wood for smoking? The benefits are manifold.

Why Use Kiln-Dried Wood for Smoking?

Flavor and Aroma

One of the key elements that contribute to the appeal of smoked food is the unique flavour and aroma. Kiln-dried wood plays a pivotal role in enhancing these attributes. It infuses your food with a distinct smoky flavour that's hard to replicate with other types of wood.

Different types of kiln-dried wood impart their own unique flavours to the food. For instance, kiln-dried Hardwood Ash Logs offer a mildly smoky flavour with a hint of sweetness, making them a great choice for smoking poultry or fish. On the other hand, kiln-dried Oak logs lend a strong, hearty sapidity, ideal for smoking red meats.

Consistency and Control

With smoking, consistency is key. You want to ensure your food cooks evenly and thoroughly. Kiln-dried wood provides consistent results due to its low moisture content. This allows for better temperature control in your smoker, as the heat produced by the burning wood is more predictable and stable.

There's nothing worse than a smoker that fluctuates in temperature, leading to unevenly cooked, and potentially unsafe food. Using kiln-dried wood eliminates this worry, ensuring you maintain steady heat levels throughout your smoking session.

Efficiency and Burn Time

Kiln-dried wood burns more efficiently compared to its green or wet counterparts. This is because the reduced moisture content allows the wood to ignite quicker and burn hotter. The result? A longer burn time, making your smoking sessions more effective and less time-consuming.

Moreover, the efficiency of kiln-dried wood means you need less of it to achieve the same results. This not only saves you money but also is a more sustainable choice, making the most of a renewable resource like wood.

The Impact of Moisture Content on Smoking

Moisture Content and Smoke Production

While smoke is essential for smoking food, too much of it can be a bad thing. High moisture content in wood can lead to excessive smoke production, which can overpower the flavour of your food, resulting in a bitter, unpleasant taste.

The optimal moisture content for smoking wood is around 15-20%. Kiln-dried wood typically falls within this range, making it the perfect choice for achieving the right amount of smoke for your culinary creations.

Avoiding Mold and Fungi

Using wet or green wood can lead to the growth of mold and fungi. These not only pose a significant health risk if they come into contact with your food but can also alter the taste negatively.

Fortunately, the kiln drying process eliminates the risk of mold and fungi. It effectively sterilises the wood, ensuring it's safe to use for smoking.

Preventing Creosote Buildup

High moisture content in wood can contribute to creosote buildup in your smoker. Creosote, a dark, oily substance, can create a grimy layer on your smoker's interior, negatively affecting the flavour of your food and posing a potential fire hazard.

Kiln-dried wood, with its lower moisture content, reduces the chances of creosote formation, keeping your smoker clean and your food tasting great.

Where to Source Kiln-Dried Wood

Finding kiln-dried wood for smoking is easier than you might think. You can source it from local suppliers, online retailers, or specialty stores, including our own collections of wood fuels.

When selecting kiln-dried wood, look for pieces that are dense and heavy for their size. The bark should be intact and the wood should have a fresh, woody fragrance. Avoid wood that smells moldy or looks discoloured, as this could be a sign of contamination.

Tips for Using Kiln-Dried Wood in Your Smoker

Soaking vs. Not Soaking

There's an ongoing debate among smoking enthusiasts about whether or not to soak wood chips before use. Some argue that soaking helps to prolong the burn time, while others maintain it only causes temperature fluctuations and excessive smoke.

With kiln-dried wood, soaking is generally unnecessary due to its optimal moisture content. However, the final decision should depend on your personal preference and the specific requirements of your smoker.

Proper Storage and Handling

Like any other kind of wood, kiln-dried wood needs to be stored properly to maintain its quality. Keep it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. If you're using wood chips or chunks, store them in an airtight container to prevent moisture absorption.

To extend the shelf life, only remove the amount of wood you need for each smoking session. Also, avoid touching the wood with wet hands or placing it on a damp surface, as this could reintroduce moisture.


The benefits of using kiln-dried wood for smoking are undeniable. It not only enhances the flavour and aroma of your food but also provides a more consistent and efficient cooking experience. Moreover, it's a safer and healthier option, free from mold, fungi, and creosote.

So, why not give kiln-dried wood a try for your next smoking session? It might just be the secret ingredient you've been searching for to achieve that perfect, mouth-watering smoky taste. After all, delicious smoked foods start with quality wood!