How to Store Wood for Smoking: 11 Steps with Additional Tips

We all need to use smoking wood to make some particular delicious food items. Many of us must learn that determining the wood type is essential to get the right flavor of smoked meat. You will find different smoking wood available, but choosing the right one might take work. However, you can fix the issue of selecting the right one by talking to an expert but storing the wood for smoking requires some steps to follow that you must know. This article discusses how to store wood for smoking in the most effective ways. 

Different Types of Wood for Storing

There are several types of wood you can find for storing to determine what should be the flavor of your smoked meat. You shouldn’t be confused about choosing the suitable wood for the meat you want to smoke. Let’s check out different types of wood for smoking, which people widely use. 


Hickory is the most common type of wood people use for smoking since it produces the best gravy and smoky flavor to the meat. You can use this wood with any kind of meat as it has excellent versatility. You should choose hickory wood to add a great flavor to your smoked meat. 


Chery is another popular wood choice for smoking that gives a fruity and juicy flavor. This wood has some distinctive characteristics that require storing it in a cool and dry place until you use it. Ensure you keep this wood from direct sunlight exposure to prevent wood cracking or warping. Sun’s heat can cause much damage for which we must consider keeping the wood under shade or in a cool place.  


Like cherry, you should also keep birch wood away from direct sunlight, which may cause warping or cracking in the wood. Always consider storing the birch wood in a cool and dry place to ensure the wood’s good condition. It is a hardwood that people use for flooring or furniture.  


Unlike birch, cedar is a softwood and light-colored with straight grain. This wood is easy to work with and applicable for different decks, siding, or furniture projects. You can choose this wood for smoking if you want a sweet flavor to your food. 

Recommended: The Ultimate Guide: How to Attach Glass to Wood in 9 Easy Steps

How to Store Wood for Smoking within 11 Steps

Step 1: Finding Out a Cool Place, 

First of all, you must choose a cool and dry place like a basement, a closet, or an attic when you want to store wood for smoking. Keep your wood away from direct sunlight, where the airflow works well. Store the wood at 55 degrees or around. 

Step 2: Keeping Your Wood Away from Moisture 

Try to keep wood away from moisture when you store wood for smoking because moisture produces too much smoke that causes a bad smell and taste to your food. If you live in an area with high humidity, try to store the wood in a dry place. However, if you are from a region with a low humidity level, you can store wood outside your home. 

Step 3: Storing the Wood in a Container

Once you cut and split your wood, it’s time to store the wood pieces in a container.

A plastic container is an excellent choice to store and protect the wood from destructive elements. 

Step 4: Allowing Air-circulation in the Container 

More than storing the wood in a container is required. You should drill holes in the bottom and on different sides of the container to let air in. Besides, you can use a tarp or tarpaulin to cover the container to protect the wood from moisture content. 

Step 5: Using a Dehumidifier for High-humidity Place 

It is imperative to use a dehumidifier for a room with a high humidity level. A dehumidifier keeps the air dry which is suitable for storing wood for smoking. It will prevent the wood from getting moisture. Too much humidity will affect the wood, so it will not burn and produce too much smoke. 

Step 6: Using a Humidifier for Low-humidity Place 

If you live in an area with a low humidity level, you should use a humidifier to prevent the wood from drying out. A humidifier keeps the air moist. You will find this equipment at your nearby hardware store.  

Step 7: Inspecting the Stored Wood Daily

After storing the wood for smoking, you should inspect the condition regularly to check whether there are any signs of cracking or splitting. Any kind of negative sign can affect the wood. Therefore, you must keep your eyes on the stored wood. 

Step 8: Storing Wood off the Ground 

Storing the wood off the ground helps prevent moisture from getting into the wood. This step will also save the wood from getting mold or rot. 

Tips: How to Notch Wood with a Router: Explained in 7 Easy Steps

Step 9: Protecting Wood by Covering the Wood Pile

You can cover the wood pile with a tarp or plastic material to protect the wood from moisture content. Leave some ventilation holes in the cover to allow air circulation. Be sure your wood is breathing correctly. 

Step 10: Knowing the Type of Treatment your Wood Requires 

You must know the wood type you want to store. Talk to the wood supplier for more information about the wood type and its source of it. You shouldn’t choose treated wood for smoking because it reacts badly when inhaled by chemical treatment. So, consider purchasing wood from a reputable source.  

Step 11: Seasoning the Wood before Using It 

Lastly, season your stored wood before using it to prevent the wood from releasing too much smoke and making the food taste terrible. You should soak the wood in water for a whole day and dry it later correctly. You can use it after drying. 

Tips to Remember 

  • Dry the wood before using it.
  • Inspect the wood thoroughly to ensure its good condition.
  • Use a cover to protect the wood.
  • Avoid using green wood that produces too much smoke.
  • Use wood that is good for smoking. 
  • Take advice from a retailer or local barbecue professional to know the type of wood that is good to use. 

Important: 10 Best Ways to Remove Staples from Wood: Handy Methods


How to protect the wood when we store them outdoors?

When you want to store wood outdoors, you must keep an eye on the wood to see if it is protected from insects, pests, and snake infestations. Snakes can make their home between the stored wood pieces. It is also important to note that bugs and termites destroy wood. Therefore, you shouldn’t store wood in your home. Otherwise, you will risk your life at your house for a termite infestation. As bugs don’t harm wood much, you shouldn’t worry about storing wood for smoking.  

What is the best place to store wood for smoking? 

You should choose a dry and cool place for storing wood for smoking. A garage, basement, attic, or shed is a go-to option for storing wood. Ensure the wood is not exposed to direct sunlight or extreme sun heat that may damage the wood. 

How long does the wood need to sit before smoking? 

Depending on the type of wood you choose, the drying time varies. Fresh-cut wood contains too much water that it needs around 1/1.5 months to dry out before being used for smoking. In contrast, store-bought wood doesn’t need longer drying time, but you should let it sit for a week at least to allow the wood to deal well with the moisture content. 

Read: How Long Does Wood Filler Take To Dry Before Painting? 9 Steps

In a Nutshell

Different types of wood for smoking contain different features. Therefore, you need to take necessary measures to ensure the wood is stored in suitable condition depending on the wood you want to store. You must know how to store wood for smoking to produce a good flavor of the foods. Besides, don’t forget to follow the tips when storing wood for smoking. You can ensure that your smoked foods are perfectly cooked by following the steps and tips discussed in this article.

Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

Leave a Comment