Medium for Smoking


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Steven, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule and joining us, here at Chef Talk.  I'm very excited to get to speak with you!  I have always been a fan of the grill, but it was your book, "The Barbecue! Bible" that really inspired me to develop my passion for all things barbecued and grilled.  It's been a long, fun road, and I love the fact that no matter how many times I barbecue a pork butt, or grill up some kebabs I learn something new or come up with a new idea for a rub or marinade, many based on recipes in your books.

My question is a simple one; do you have a personal favorite medium for smoking and if so what is it?  Is it a type of wood (hickory, mesquite, applewood), grape vines, or herbs, or something I haven't thought of?  And what are your thoughts on those that say one can't really tell which medium was used when it comes to the final product?  Thanks for your time!
Joined May 5, 2011
Hi, Pete. Thank you for your nice words about The Barbecue Bible. It's been quite a journey--the whole series. I can't say I have a favorite smoking medium; that would be like saying I have a favorite spice. Wood is just one more component you can manipulate to add flavor to grilled and barbecued food. In my experience, people tend to use what's available. A Sicilian might use trimmings from olive or lemon trees, or even grapevines. Texans use mesquite and post oak. Hickory rules in the Carolinas. Pecan is popular in the American South. My website even sells wine-soaked oak staves--a flavor nuance that's wonderful with beef or chicken. Seasoned fruitwoods pair well with almost everything, including smoke-roasted desserts. (For recipes, go to Obviously, lots of options!
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