Whole Leaf Tobacco

Wood types for Latakia

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
16,408
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
I have read (online) that western red cedar smoke is highly toxic and should never be used for smoking meat. I once constructed a plug press out of it and the flavour was less than desirable. Also, I had uncured wrc fence boards on the floor of my curing shed when I first made it and you could taste the wood in the tobacco for a long time, also not good.
So we'll cast aside "cedar", unless it's genus name is Juniperis.

It's an excellent idea to check a source on wood toxicity. Here is one: http://www.hobbywoods.com/wood_toxicity.htm There are a number of others.

Bob
 

Traveling Piper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Messages
120
Points
28
Location
Andalusia, Al
I have read (online) that western red cedar smoke is highly toxic and should never be used for smoking meat. I once constructed a plug press out of it and the flavour was less than desirable. Also, I had uncured wrc fence boards on the floor of my curing shed when I first made it and you could taste the wood in the tobacco for a long time, also not good.
Potential toxicity is something I've concerned myself with.
We have a local plant called Florida Anise (Illicium Floridanum--NOT kin to real anise) here that has foliage which emits an interesting and nuanced fragrance. Knowing this, I thought it might be a candidate for testing. It contains compounds that lend an aroma similar to anise (harkening licorice). With that, I thought there may be potential for smoke from the plant to impart a pleasing finish to smoked tobacco. However, on further research, I found that Florida Anise also contains Neurotoxic compounds. I obviously abandoned the idea.
 

Traveling Piper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Messages
120
Points
28
Location
Andalusia, Al
So we'll cast aside "cedar", unless it's genus name is Juniperis.

It's an excellent idea to check a source on wood toxicity. Here is one: http://www.hobbywoods.com/wood_toxicity.htm There are a number of others.

Bob
This is a pretty provoking list. I'll have to take it with a grain of salt
As I understand it, the list more specifically references the inhalation of dust particles of these species.
They list Oak and Sassafras as pharyngeal cancer causing. If I were to use this as a reference for what and what not to use, these woods couldn't be utilized for meat smoking... That ain't happening.
Furthermore, I can assume they are calling Sassafras Directly Toxic due to Safrole. That's a whole other animal, but suffice it to say--I don't buy it (can't be nearly as bad as other things that are commercially added to tobaccos)
The adage "everything causes cancer these days" applies tenfold here.
I am most interested to know what are known to be most immediately toxic when consumed.
Again, I feel like Latakia relies heavily on abundant Creosote deposits--which is like carcinogen concentrate that's being packed in the bowl and smoldered... I will have to get very practical to analyze all the potential candidates here.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
16,408
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
Dust from woodworking, and inhalation of actively burning wood smoke are both toxic for every possible wood. Usually it's a matter of degree of exposure. The real concern for me in considering wood to burn for Latakia making is whether or not the wood smoke will leave a residue that is significantly toxic.

The obvious examples of toxic wood would be oleander and poison ivy. But many other woods produce toxic residues in the smoke.

Here are two more (sort of usable) tables of wood toxicity.
https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-allergies-and-toxicity/
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/wis30.pdf

Another consideration is the life history of the specific chunks of wood you decide to burn. I would avoid fruit wood from trees that have been sprayed with chemicals (very common in orchard management). Another would be old barn board, which likely was painted with lead-containing paint in the distant past. Any pressure-treated wood, of course, is likely toxic.

Naturally, while the fire-curing process is under way (and it requires daily firing for more than a month), avoid breathing the smoke as best you can.

As for sassafras, it's roots are no longer allowed for use in flavoring beverages, because of its well documented carcinogenic nature.

Bob
 

Charly

Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2016
Messages
1,931
Points
113
Location
France
Hard to find some good source of information on this subject...
When I see that oak is considered dangerous by some sources while it's the wood used to smoke salmon... ... :ROFLMAO: ... who will we trust ?
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
16,408
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
You have to look at the details.
Code:
Wood..........Reaction..........Site..........Potency..........Source..........Incidence
Oak.............S................E,S............++..............LB,D................R

REACTION:                  SITE:               SOURCE:          INCIDENCE:
S  - sensitizer       S - skin                 D  - dust             R - rare
                                               LB - leaves,bark
Oak, for example, is potentially a moderate skin sensitizer. It is oak dust, oak leaves and oak bark that may be the source of the sensitizing chemical, AND SKIN SENSITIZING from oak IS RARE. So this assertion that oak may be a risk is quite valid, and completely irrelevant to burning it for fire-curing. I would suggest not dismissing these data without at least reading the details first.

Bob
 

Charly

Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2016
Messages
1,931
Points
113
Location
France
You are right, but when I see "nasopharyngeal cancer" in the same line as "Oak dust" I am just not sure of what to think ;)
As you pointed, the important information would be to know the possible risks of products smoked with these various kind of wood/herb, but it does not seem easy to find...

I think the majority of the comon woods/herbs used to smoke meat are pretty harmless for our usage.
 

deluxestogie

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
16,408
Points
113
Location
near Blacksburg, VA
I think the majority of the comon woods/herbs used to smoke meat are pretty harmless for our usage.
Very true. But finding the right aroma for fire-cured tobacco is not as straightforward. Oak is used for creating Kentucky Fire-cured. But many other woods commonly used for smoking food makes tobacco taste more like food. I've found that to be the case with hickory, apple, mesquite.

Bob
 

Traveling Piper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Messages
120
Points
28
Location
Andalusia, Al
Very true. But finding the right aroma for fire-cured tobacco is not as straightforward. Oak is used for creating Kentucky Fire-cured. But many other woods commonly used for smoking food makes tobacco taste more like food. I've found that to be the case with hickory, apple, mesquite.

Bob
I could think of worse things for my tobacco to taste like.
 

Sigmund

Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
12
Points
3
Location
Ireland
I'm interested in finding out (and hopefully will find out later this year) what the characteristics of a Mediterranean-origin live oak are in this regard. Meat-smoking sites generally eschew live oak because it produces a comparatively dense, heavy, black smoke that is too much for most people in a food-sense - but might be a positive for Latakia. Also, thanks to the relatively mild climate of Ireland, I have a huge live oak in my front field (probably dates from around the time my house was built, 1791). I'm definitely evolving the suspicion that some of the general no-nos, wood-smoking-wise, are not only not issues, but maybe even positives, in the quest for the elusive Latakia flavour (although juniper is used freely for smoking meat in Northern Europe; Black Forest smoked ham, for instance, gets its characteristic taste from juniper, which is probably why it goes so splendidly with gin).
I suspect that, in the absence of actual mastic wood or even pistachio wood, the best way to get that "incense-like" flavour probably is using the pure gum. Dreadfully expensive and not even that easy to find; but probably even a small quantity sprinkled on twice a day would do it, since the gum is a good deal more concentrated than what would be coming out of the firewood.
On that note - and because mastic gum is so pricey - at what period in the smoke cure are the leaves likely to absorb the most flavour from the smoke? My guess would be early in the process, but that's only a guess (best defined by the confusing physical double-metaphor "off the top of my head and half-arsed"), and I'm reasonably certain that there are some folk on this forum who can actually provide real information from experience and a better knowledge of the processes occurring within the leaf during the smoking.
 

parabolic

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
25
Points
3
Location
Gisborne, New Zealand
sorry to dig up and old post but when i read Bob's thread on sweetgum I think I recognised that spiky seed pod and I'm pretty sure they are growing here in NZ, I happend to read a little about the medicinal use of it and stumbled on something that mentions ancient use of the resin with tobacco. I post a small section of the txt here, just in case anyone finds it interesting.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF SWEETGUM
Many of the medicinal properties of sweetgum come from storax as well as essential oils extracted from the leaves. Storax, also referred to as styrax, is produced by damaging the outer bark of sweetgum trees. When the tree is wounded, the inner bark produces a balsam. Boiling the inner bark in water effectively removes the balsam and produces storax. Storax produced from L. orientalis, or Turkish sweetgum, is referred to as Asian storax while storax derived from L. styraciflua is called American storax. Storax has medicinal uses dating back to the Aztec Empire during the Paleo-Indian Period (ca. 10,000-7000 BC). The ancient Aztecs collected the boiled down, grayish-brown, sticky, opaque liquid and used it as a treatment for skin infections and other ailments.[1] Native Americans also used storax for medicinal purposes, including controlling coughs and dysentery and treating sores and wounds.[7] In addition to storax, the sap of the sweetgum tree was burnt as incense or mixed with tobacco leaves as a sedative[1] as well as used in the making of soaps, cosmetics, fixatives in perfumes, adhesives, and lacquers. Recent references from organic websites have noted that the inner bark of sweetgum, boiled with milk, can relieve diarrhea, and oils from the leaves of sweetgum trees have antimicrobial properties against both bacteria and viruses.[8]

In addition to storax, the leaves of the sweetgum tree are also believed to possess antimicrobial properties. Leaf oil from L. orientalis and L. styraciflua contained high levels of terpinen-4-ol, α-terpineol, α-pinene, and sabinene as well as other compounds.[13,14,15] Terpinen-4-ol, is the active ingredient found in the essential oil of the Melaleuca alternifolia (Australian tea tree). Tea tree oil has a well-established reputation as an antimicrobial agent[16,17] suggesting that terpinen-4-ol derived from the leaves of L. styraciflua and L. orientalis may also possess similar antimicrobial properties.

Lee
 
Top