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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thursday, while driving home from work, I saw a roadside stand where they had ribs and chicken cooking in a large smoker (made from a 250 gal oil drum). Since smoked foods is something that I have a life-long passion for, I stopped to pick up dinner.

The smoke cloud from the smoker had a unique odor - it was not the usual Hickory, Oak, or Maple. I asked the vendor what wood he was using - he replied "Sassafras" - it gives the food a sweet flavor."

That was a new on for me, but something I had to try. So - last evening I fired up my smoker, filled the chip-pan with green Sassafras, and did some cheese that was waiting to be smoked.

From that first experiment I found that the flavor from Sassafras is light and sweet - however, it is also very mild and thus, needs more smoke than some other woods to get the heavy smoke flavor that I like. I will be trying it on fish next week and will let you know how it works.

If anyone else has a chance to try this, or has any experience with it, let me know.

Enjoy,

Salmonsmoker
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Big Al

I tried it on some cheese. I thought it was good. Most of the people who sampled it did not like it as well as the hickory that I usually use. I need to go catch some fish then try it on them.

Salmonsmoker
 

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Although I've never used it in a smoker, I have been using it for hotdog sticks for as lomg as I can remember. My dad taught me this trick when I was a little tyke ( about 40 yrs. ago ) and have been using it and passing it along ever since. The stick gets hot from the fire and the sap goes into the hotdog, mmmmgooood!!!
 

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Salmonsmoker,
Are you sure that they were not using the roots for the chicken ? Sassafras tea is made from the roots and is very easy to make. Just find a few sassafras trees, wait until the ground thaws and then using an ax and shovel dig up some roots. After washing the roots, throw them into a container and heat(do not boil). Add a little sugar to taste. The roots can be dried and stored in a potato(or potatoe if you went to the Dan Qualye school of spelling) for later use.
L & O
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
L & O,

It could be that they were using the roots. They didn't specify - maybe didn't want to give away their secrets. We do have a lot of Sassifras growing on our property - will give the roots a try later this spring.

Thanks for the suggestion
 

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Sassafras lumber has a real nice look to it, kind of yellow/ orange color. I have a decoy carved out of it and it is pretty sharp looking. When the leaves first start to come out try chewing some of them when they are still tender.-------While we are on trash trees my brothers father- in- law grew staghorn sumac in his yard. He fertilized it. When the biggest on died at 10 inced thru we took it and had it sawed on a band mill. That wood was some thing else. Part of it was a pretty green and in the loop of grain it turned to a soft brown color.
 

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A small warning!
Sassafras grows in the same soil as the dreaded Poison Ivy
So be careful.
Vines can and do climb the trees and the roots are below the suface too!
Scout your trees during the summer and make sure you can ID the unwanted poison ivy.
In a smoker the Ivy could cause some serious problems.
Not a common problem but you should be careful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Trout,

Excellent point. Poison Ivy would not be good in a smoker, or in Sassafras tea. The green bark on new growth is what I have used for the smoker, and for chewing when in the woods. For tea, I use the bark of new-growth roots.
 

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Salmonsmoker, you say you used green sassafras, was it the trunk or roots? Do you think you would loose the "sweet" flavor if you used dried sassafras? This is something I would like to try next time I smoke. I'm woundering if you would get a sweeter flavor if you used green wood from a tree in the spring when the sap is flowing?
 
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