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Once or twice a month I like to light-up my Weber Smokey Mountain(WSM) Cooker but I am running low on my smoke-wood. Any of you avid "Smokers" out there know where I can buy some good Mesquite/Hickory wood chunks in the Escazu-Santa Ana area??

 

Rick

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With all the trees in Costa Rica, I can't imagine that you would have to import wood chips for smoking. That just seems nuts or an attempt to satisfy those for whom only a certain wood chip will do.

 

Probably the best thing to do is to just ask your neighbors or people around town what they use and then try that. I don't think you should go nuts and try everything since some woods could be poisonous or at least unpleasant. Local people will certainly know what is the best to use. Many Costa Ricans use wood to cook for a barbecue so have experience.

 

I have used wood chunks leftover from furniture building to barbecue. The wood is not treated in any way but usually pretty dry (by Costa Rican standards) and burns pretty well but also smokes some. You might try asking at a local shop where they make furniture or even at a construction site.

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With all the trees in Costa Rica, I can't imagine that you would have to import wood chips for smoking.

Probably the best thing to do is to just ask your neighbors or people around town what they use and then try that.

You might try asking at a local shop where they make furniture or even at a construction site.

Great suggestions, Eleanor.

 

Which reminds me of one place, Finca Leola, run by Fred Morgan up north of Ciudad Quesada. They have a large reforestation project in progress now for a number of years. A sideline they have developed is furniture making with wood derived from the main project.

 

And with the furniture making, as you imply Eleanor, would come wood shavings and leftover pieces, etc.

 

I woud suggest the OP contacting Fred. He uses Tico furniture craftsmen and designers some of whom surely would know which woods would serve well as 'aromatic smoking woods' to use in a grill. Might be worth an 'ask' . . .

 

Another good person to ask about this, in Escazú, would be Barry Biesanz of Biesanz Woodworks.

 

JM2C!

 

Paul M.

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If you used wood from a woodworker, how would you know what you are getting? I think they would put all their scrap into one pile.

 

Also, do Ticos actually smoke meat? I bought some "smoked" pork chops once and when I ate them I swelled up terribly! I think they might have been chemically treated to give them a smoky flavor. Which, by the way, wasn't that flavorful and had a funny texture ...

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Most any woodworker worth his or her salt would be able to distinguish among the various woods they have in their scrap pile.

 

 

David, thank you and also all the other Forum Members that have replied to this thread and all of you make some great points!. I am presently using Hickory and mesquite Wood chunks with the "Weber" brand. A couple of years ago I wandered into Hardware Store in "la Coca" part of downtown San Jose and low and behold they had, as I recall, 5 bags of Weber Brand Wood chunks at a very reasonble price and I bought them all. These wood chunks have given me some very tasty smoked morsels over these last couple of years but this hardware store no longer has a supply to sell. So, you folks have given me some great ideas and probably will solve my Wood Chunk problem.

 

Rick

Edited by tibas9
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Most any woodworker worth his or her salt would be able to distinguish among the various woods they have in their scrap pile.

 

You can, in fact, smoke meat or other foods with virtually any wood. The unanswered question, however, is whether the product will be safe to eat and whether it will be fit to eat.

 

Some woods do give off toxic smoke that I, for one, would not be happy to ingest the residues of any more than I'd be happy to inhale it. And just because it's wood smoke doesn't mean that the smoke will impart a pleasant flavor. If this were not the case, people in the U.S. would not use hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry and a few others to the exclusion of most other woods.

David,

 

Both of the persons I suggested contacting are honest and sensible gentlemen who I have no doubt, know their wood and can advise which to use for smoking edibles and which not to use.

 

And each of them have been here long enough to also have Tico contacts who can further advise.

 

And it just occurred to me that it's likely that the herbalist vendors in the central market ought to be a good source of info about woods to use for smoking.

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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David, thank you and also all the other Forum Members that have replied to this thread and all of you make some great points!. I am presently using Hickory and mesquite Wood chunks with the "Weber" brand. A couple of years ago I wandered into Hardware Store in "la Coka" part of downtown San Jose and low and behold they had, as I recall, 5 bags of Weber Brand Wood chunks at a very reasonble price and I bought them all. These wood chunks have given me some very tasty smoked morsels over these last couple of years but this hardware store no longer has a supply to sell. So, you folks have given me some great ideas and probably will solve my Wood Chunk problem.

 

Rick

 

There is a True Value in San Pedro they might have what you were looking for.

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Once again ..... ask your Tico neighbors and friends what wood they use for their barbecues. Just like people from North America have figured out to use mesquite, apple, etc, Ticos have figured out which woods are best to use here.

 

Why does everyone assume that any information from an expat will be better than any information from a Tico?

 

Once you have a small list of woods to use, you are on your way... either to use some tree trimmings or leftover wood scraps... but you will then know what to use and not to use.

 

By the way, I have bought smoked products in Costa Rica that are delicious and actually smoked. Shea, I think you had some bad luck there!!

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  • 1 year later...

I would eliminate Mango wood from my above recommendation as it seems to have a higher than average toxicity. As all woods have in varying degrees. I have tried Nancy also recommended locally. Have read about the potential for Guayaba being imported to US for smoking competitions. Almendro sounds like has potential although a hard wood to cut. Coffee so far my favorite but not quite pleased yet. Maybe once my Guayaba has dried out enough to try?? Any other advice yet??

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I would eliminate Mango wood from my above recommendation as it seems to have a higher than average toxicity. As all woods have in varying degrees. I have tried Nancy also recommended locally. Have read about the potential for Guayaba being imported to US for smoking competitions. Almendro sounds like has potential although a hard wood to cut. Coffee so far my favorite but not quite pleased yet. Maybe once my Guayaba has dried out enough to try?? Any other advice yet??

 

---For the last few months I have been drying out some PLUM wood which will be ready for a smoking try-out in a few months. Last April my brother brought me some commercial smokewood from the USA which should last me for awhile.

 

Thanx for the imput.

 

Rick

Edited by tibas9
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I would eliminate Mango wood from my above recommendation as it seems to have a higher than average toxicity. As all woods have in varying degrees. I have tried Nancy also recommended locally. Have read about the potential for Guayaba being imported to US for smoking competitions. Almendro sounds like has potential although a hard wood to cut. Coffee so far my favorite but not quite pleased yet. Maybe once my Guayaba has dried out enough to try?? Any other advice yet??

 

Mango is a relative of poison ivy, so nuff said about mango. Many people get skin irritations from coming in contact with the skin of the fruit or other parts of the tree that contain sap.

 

As to almendro, that is now an endangered species and is protected so you could be fined if found in possession of it. One of the reason for that is because it is also a primary food source for the endangered Great Green Macaw in Costa Rica.

 

Almendro is a beautiful, very hard wood and one may notice where that was used in many older homes in Costa Rica.

 

Generally speaking it seems that many fruit woods are interesting and suitable for smoking meats over, but one still must observe care to avoid certain ones, like mango wood, which are not suitable for that use.

 

Certainly someone like Barry Biesanz of Biesanz Woodworks as I mentioned earlier in this thread would know more about which woods are good for using to smoke meats.

 

HTH

 

Paul M.

==

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  • 7 years later...

We looked for smoker-appropriate wood a number of years ago but came up empty-handed. At a combination appliance and grill store in Escazu, we were told that Costa Rica requires that any wood product that's imported into the country be legally certified not to have originated in a virgin forest anywhere in the world. At the time, he was having problems importing kitchen and laundry appliances because the pallets they were shipped on weren't so certified. 

We resolved the matter by doing the gringo thing -- brought it in in our luggage when we returned from a trip to the States. No problem there.

 

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