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Know Your Wood
Rebecca Flint Marx | Photo: Maren Caruso | February 25, 2014
The key to a great grill is great lumber.
Six years ago, Morgan Robinson quit his job as chef for Franciscan Estates to start Smoke (2766 Old Sonoma Rd., near Foothill Blvd., Napa, 707-927-5070), a one-man show with a single prop: a 10-by-5-foot Santa Maria grill that he wheels from site to site to cook elaborate meals for anywhere from a dozen diners to 700. One of the keys to grilling success, Robinson says, is using the right wood. Here are three of his favorites.
Red oak: “It’s ideal for smoking, but it can be a pain in the butt because it kicks up so much smoke. So I mix it with white oak, which burns much hotter.”
Fig: “The branches are great for seafood and lamb. I love the sweet flavor.”
Grape: “Grapevine cuttings are really fun. We like to use them with paellas because they put off so much heat.”
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Originally published in the March issue of San Francisco