Have you ever tried starting the perfect campfire and just never succeeded or tried cooking a meal over a fire and it just tastes smoky and bland? You’re probably using the wrong type of firewood. Believe it or not, the type of firewood you use will have an impact on the size, heat, and smoke of your fire so it’s important to take into consideration the type of firewood you’re using, if it’s seasoned or not, and if it is a hardwood or a softwood.
Ideally, you want to have firewood that’s seasoned, which is wood that has been split, stacked, and stored in a dry place where it is allowed to dry for at least six months for some softwoods and close to 2 years for some hardwoods. The reason you want seasoned firewood and not unseasoned is because unseasoned firewood contains a lot of water and so you will encounter problems when using it as firewood. Firstly you will struggle to light it as wet firewood is very hard to light, secondly, if you are able to get it to burn it will produce a lot of smoke as all the water contained in unseasoned firewood turns into water vapour and creates smoke and lastly unseasoned firewood burns at a lower temperature as large amounts of the energy of the fire is spent on burning away the water. Seasoned wood on the other hand rarely presents as many problems and overall provides a much nicer burn and experience.
Choosing between hardwood and softwood can also have a major effect on the way your fire burns. Hardwoods are denser and produce hotter coals ensuring that the heat from your fire will last you a long time, therefore serving as the perfect firewood to use to heat up places or to even cook with. Firewoods such as Birch, specifically black birch also known as cherry birch, is one of the most sought-after hardwoods and not only offers hot, long-lasting coals but also offers a sweet and pleasant aroma. Apple wood is also a common type of hardwood and is well sought after for cooking as it offers hot coals that give off an aroma that enhances the taste of most foods. Be sure to keep in mind that hardwoods such as birch and apple wood are denser and therefore take longer to catch alight than softwoods, so it is recommended that softwoods be used to start a fire while hardwoods are used to maintain a fire.
Softwoods are lighter in density and therefore are easier to split and burn. Softwoods such as Douglas Fir and Larch wood are part of higher density softwoods which means that the coals they produce are hotter than other softwoods. Both Larch and Douglas fir also produce large flames and so serve as the perfect firewood to use if you are looking for big flames. When creating a fire be sure to also keep in mind safety precautions and that you don’t make your fires too big.