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Share This: Guide to the Best Firewood

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Editor's Note: This guide to the best firewood is excerpted from the Winter 2012 issue of Living Ready, available for download here.

One of my friends once said as he looked over his personal library, “When I have a lot of good books I feel wealthy.” I feel the same way about firewood, but different types of firewood have different characteristics. Some burn fast with intense heat and some burn slow and ooze heat throughout the night. Others kick off too many sparks or smoke. Some wood, such as hickory or maple, are great for smoking meats, while evergreens, like pine or spruce, will leave your pork chop with a Pine-Sol flavor.

To help narrow things down, Living Ready put together this guide to the best firewood. Look for the embed code below to paste it onto your own website or blog.

Species Heat lbs./cord Ease of Lighting Coaling Qualities Sparks Fragrance
Alder Med-Low 2540 Fair Good Moderate Slight
Apple High-Med 4400 Difficult Excellent Few Excellent
Ash High 3440 Fairly Difficult Good-Excellent Few Slight
Beech High 3760 Difficult Excellent Few Good
Birch (White) Med 3040 East Good Moderate Slight
Cherry Med 2060 Difficult Excellent Few Excellent
Elm High 2260 Very Difficult Good Very Few Fair
Hickory Very High 4240 Fairly Difficult Excellent Moderate Excellent
Ironwood Very High 4000 Very Difficult Excellent Few Slight
Locust (Black) Very High 3840 Difficult Excellent Very Few Slight
Madrone High 4320 Difficult Excellent Very Few Slight
Maple (Red) High-Med 3200 Fairly Difficult Excellent Few Good
Maple (Sugar) High 3680 Difficult Excellent Few Good
Mesquite Very High N/A Very Difficult Excellent Few Excellent
Oak (Live) Very High 4600 Very Difficult Excellent Few Fair
Oak (Red) High 3680 Difficult Excellent Few Fair
Oak (White) Very High 4200 Difficult Excellent Few Fair
Pecan High N/A Fairly Difficult Good Few Good
Walnut High-Med N/A Fairly Difficult Good Few Fair

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