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Now that was the first post on this forum that sent me straight to wikipedia..

Muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia) are a grapevine species native to the present-day southeastern United States that has been extensively cultivated since the 16th Century. They are well adapted to their native warm and humid climate; they need fewer chilling hours than better known varieties and they thrive on summer heat.

The muscadine berries range from bronze to dark purple to black in color when ripe. They have skin sufficiently tough that eating the raw fruit often involves biting a small hole in the skin to suck out the pulp inside. Muscadines are not only eaten fresh, but also are used in making wine, juice, and jelly.

Although sharing the genus Vitis with the other grapevine species, muscadines belong to a separate subgenus, Muscadinia (the other grapevine species belong to Euvitis), and some have suggested giving it standing as a genus of its own. Some taxonomists have also suggested splitting two additional species off from Vitis rotundifolia: Vitis munsoniana and Vitis popenoei. All have 40 chromosomes, rather than 38, are generally not cross-compatibile with other "Vitis" species, and most hybrids between the subgenera are sterile. A few, however, are at least moderately fertile, and have been used in breeding. The cultivar 'Southern Home', released by the University of Florida, contains both muscadine and Euvitis in its background.

Unlike most cultivated grapevines, many muscadine cultivars are pistillate, and require a pollenizer to set fruit. A few, however, such as 'Carlos' and 'Noble', are perfect-flowered, and will produce fruit with their own pollen. They may also serve as pollenizers for pistillate cultivars, as well.
Yep, grapevine makes good smoke. You won't find much winegrapes around these parts because of the high humidity most of the year. Muscadines and Scuppernongs are native to the Southeast and do not have fungus diseases like their wimpy cousins what was inported into the west and other regions. Muscadines and Scuppernongs have been available as hybrids for a few decades now. They make good jelly, juice and wine. I make wine, but not only from grapes. I like to use french oak cubes to smoke with which have given up most of their tannin and flavonoids to the wine and are soaked through.

Without any doubt, red or white bay. The same tree that gives us Turkish Bay Leaves for cooking. If you want to know what the wood smells like, just crush a bay leaf in your hand and you will never smell oak or hickory wood that has such a good odor. The imparted smoke flavor to a BBQ/smoking is sightly milder than oak or pecan.

You can find bay trees all around the Gulf of Mexico and I cut my own. Red or White Bay is not the same tree that gives us California Bay Laurel leaves often called Bay Leaves but are really Bay Laurel. I have even used bay stems and leaves over natural charcoal in my Grill Dome. In our AmeriQue or CS55 it takes four to six ounces for meats and two ounces for fowl or fish.

I feel sorry for those in snow country that are without this wonderful wood. Razzer

Originally posted by RubbinButz:
Interesting: I never thought of using grapevine as a smoking wood. I'll sure have to try some. Are all grapvines equal? I can get plenty of wild grapevines here in MO where I live.

The wild grapevines might be a tad harsh. I would use them conservatively first. I know about the harshness from puffing the smoke through the smaller stems as a kid. SHOOWEEE!

The wild grapevines might be a tad harsh. I would use them conservatively first. I know about the harshness from puffing the smoke through the smaller stems as a kid. SHOOWEEE!

Yep GLH, I've done that many times.
I'll try the wild grapevines conservatively. I'll start with just a small chunk mixed in with some other kind first. I've gotta get the grapevines dry first.

I am in Plant City, FL and I have trees on the back of my property in a wetland area that old timers refer to as "Swamp Magnolias" or "Sweet Bays". The leaves smell like bay leaves my wife uses to cook. Do you know if this is the same wood you call red or white bay? In the past, I have always bought wood for my smoker. When you cut your own, do you have to cure or age it?

Plant City is just a little east of Tampa, so you are not far away. I am smoking some shrimp today, but will be using either hickory or mesquite (or maybe no wood and just getting the residual from the last smoke). I will be trying to duplicate smoked shrimp we used to get at a restaurant called the Mullet Inn that was on the causeway in Tampa. They had the best smoked seafood, particularly shrimp and mullet. They are out of business now.
Last edited by geekagentman
Hickory is my first choice I tried Mesquite and cant say I care for it. I havent tried Oak only because I havent found a chunk source locally yet. I do have some oak boards if I cut them to size would they work? I also have a chunk of maple log I saved when my father trimed his maple tree. I am planning to cut it to chunck size. I had saved it for a wood truning project but it has several cracks in it from drying out.
The oak boards will work if you are absolutely sure it has zero preservatives/additives/chemicals/treatments/ etc. I cannot stress that enough.

The maple might be good, especially if it is sugar maple. I am not sure how red or silver maple would be.

Be sure the wood is dry and in chunks 1"x1" up to 2"x2". I would rather have the smaller chunks, but not chips.

GeekAgentMan, welcome to the forum. Those swamp magnolias sound like the right tree to use to me, but I am also no expert, especially on trees not native here. You need to be sure they are OK to use.

Ok, I was gonna stay out of this one, but APPLE is the wood choice of my preference. Almost impossible to 'oversmoke' with it...beef will tolerate it, pork adores it, fish flourishes in it...don't know about Ghetti, Yak, Weasel, Skunk or varieties of 'road-kill.'

But then again, why should I tell you MY secrets??? Ok, so forget I said anything.. Cool
For me it depends on whats going in the smoker. If I could only pick one overall, it would be apple. Otherwise:

Maple for bacon
Apple and sometimes a bit of hickory for chicken
Apple and hickory for ribs
hickory for butts
mesquite for eggs (a new one I just learned)
I want to try pecan but havent come across any yet and dont want to buy a big bag just to experiment.

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