Cedar Firewood- Is Cedarwood good for seasoning meat?

Cedar firewood is a popular softwood with significant water, oils, and sap contents.

But does it make good firewood? Read on to determine whether cedar would make a great addition to your firewood batch.

What Is Cedar Firewood?

Cedar of Lebanon Tree. 

Cedar of Lebanon Tree. 

Cedars are culturally significant trees in North America today, even though they are also available globally. The wood is primarily an excellent choice for kindling purposes. 

Thus, you can always use it as a kindler before adding other quality and long-lasting hardwood. Besides, cedar firewood is excellent for woodwork. It’s commonly valuable for the following: 

  • Manufacture of incense. 
  • Pencils, fence posts, and furniture work. 

Burn Qualities of Cedar

Sunny cedar forest. 

Sunny cedar forest. 

Cedar firewood is undeniably the best kindling wood available. But what are its unique burn qualities? Read below to learn more.

Heat Production

Being a softwood, cedar produces moderate amounts of heat, which lasts a short time. For this reason, cedar firewood is considered unsuitable for indoor use.

The heat output of cedar firewood varies between 13 million and 18.2 million BTU depending on the species you choose.


A tree with high resin. 

A tree with high resin. 

Cedars belong to the conifer family and are thus closely related to pine. The softwoods contain significant levels of resin – they are 50% water, and the rest are sap and oils.

Fortunately, sap from cedar trees does not clog your chainsaw.

Smoke Production

Cedar burns with moderate smoke. 

Cedar burns with moderate smoke. 

Cedar is high in sap, oil, and water. Hence its firewood produces moderate smoke on combustion.

Therefore, avoid burning green cedar. Instead, always ensure that you thoroughly season it for efficient combustion. 

On the brighter side, cedar smoke gives your food a pleasant cedar taste.

Thus, to tap the smell, soak the cedar planks in water for several hours. Then, place them on the grill next to your food or meat. 


You need a fireplace with a screen when burning Cedar. 

You need a fireplace with a screen when burning Cedar. 

Cedar firewood has low density meaning it contains pockets of sap and oil.

Hence, on combustion, the sap starts vaporizing, which exerts pressure on the pockets, creating pops and sparkles. 

Therefore, the wood is unsuitable for indoor use as its prone to sparking. Otherwise, you must have protective screens and glass doors if you burn them indoors. 

Seasoning Time

Stack firewood for easy drying. 

Cedar firewood naturally contains significantly high water, sap, and oil content.

Particularly undried cedar has up to 50% water. Fortunately, cedar firewood will quickly lose its moisture with proper aeration.

The average seasoning time for cedar wood ranges between 9 and 12 months, depending on the conditions and the state of the wood itself.

Burning Smell

Cedars of Lebanon. 

Cedars of Lebanon. 

Cedar firewood burns with a uniquely pleasant aroma that can last weeks. The mild citrus flavor makes the wood preferable to some people.

Hence, choose cedar if you are looking for sweet-smelling and appealing wood for heating or woodworking purposes. 

Creosote Build-up

With the high oil and resin contents, cedar firewood smoke contains a reasonable number of particles. The latter can stick to chimney walls in the form of creosote and are highly flammable.

But when you use dry cedar firewood, there’s limited creosote buildup. 

Besides, clean your chimney every year regardless of the firewood you’re using since any wood can cause creosote accumulation. 


Cedar firewood is an unsuitable choice for anyone looking for quality coals.

The softwood burns fast and releases lots of heat which lasts a short time. You can only get great coals from wood that burns slowly and longer.


Cedar Splits easily. 

Cedar Splits easily. 

One of the key pros of cedar firewood is that it is easy to split, both while dry and wet. However, if you are using an ax for splitting, it is preferable to split it before it dries.

Different Types of Cedar Firewood

Tall cedar trees in a forest. 

Tall cedar trees in a forest. 

Cedars originated from the Mediterranean before spreading to the U.S. and other parts of the world. Cedars in the U.S. fall into two main categories:

  • Eastern Red Cedar
  • Western Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar

A giant red cedar trunk.

A giant red cedar trunk.

These cedars are highly abundant in the eastern part of North America. They grow up to 16 to 66 feet in height.

Also, they can live for up to 500 years and have a pretty thin bark. Further, their leaves are short and needle-like and bloom in the winter.

They are resistant to wind and grow on various soil types. Besides, they are salt tolerant and can survive on roadsides and saline conditions. Lastly, Eastern Red Cedar trees are drought tolerant. 

Western Red Cedar

Cedar Cone. 

The Western Red Cedar is tall and grows up to 210 and 230 feet. Its leaves are in opposite alignment and pairs, giving off a strong scent when you rush them by hand.

Moreover, their barks have vertical running ridges that align down the tree length. 

In addition, the trees’ seed cones are egg-shaped. Lastly, cedars are insect-resistant due to the presence of oils and resins.

Other Cedar types include the following: 

Atlas Cedar

It is native to the Atlas Mountains, and its fundamental characteristic is the blue-green leaves.

Cyprian Cedar

The species occurs naturally in Cyprus, whose branches are short and clumpy. 

Cedar of Lebanon

Lebanese Cedar.

Lebanese Cedar.

You’ve probably heard of the popular cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus Libani) native to present-day Syria and Lebanon. The Lebanese hold the trees in such high regard that their flag features cedar.

The trees’ fundamental feature is the flat top. They are also renowned for their relatively wide trunks. 

Deodar Cedar Tree

It is native to the Himalayan mountains, and its primary property is the broad branches. 

Comparison to Other Woods

Cedars of Lebanon. 

Cedars of Lebanon. 

Cedar firewood compares to other woods, as shown below.

Firewood TreeBTU valueSplitting DifficultyCoal Quality
Cedar13.0 to 18.2MediumPoor
Bur Oak26EasyGood


In summary, like most softwoods, Cedar firewood doesn’t make quality firewood. However, cedar wood is helpful for kindling purposes.

It also has a characteristic sweet scent making it ideal for seasoning food and meat. For more on Cedar firewood, contact us.