The Staff
of Valet.


  • The smoke: A rich, truly smoky flavor. The Southern barbecue belt's wood of choice.
  • Use it with: Basically any meat, but best with pork or chicken. Note: It burns hot.

Weber 'Firespice' chips, $4 at GrillStuff.com.


  • The smoke: Distinctly woody, natural flavor. Some find it too strong.
  • Use it with: Bigger cuts of meat, like brisket or ribs.

Western chips, $3 at the Barbecue Store.


  • The smoke: Like most fruit woods, it's got a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Use it with: Chicken or pork.

Northwoods chips, $4 at the Charcoal Store.


  • The smoke: Earthy smoke flavor--commonly used for wood-burning pizza stoves.
  • Use it with: Beef and lamb. Note: It burns slowly, so use it sparingly.

Jack Daniel chips, $7 at Amazon.com.

Chip In

Nothing's more masculine than cooking meat over an open flame. And smoke is an integral part of the grilling process. But while charcoal will do the cooking, it's the wood chips you lay over the gray, firey coals that add the flavor you're after. If you have a gas grill, you can use the smoker box (a small, slender drawer near the grill). And while the word "mesquite" might come to mind when you think of barbecue, your best bet is hickory, which imbibes a smoky flavor without overpowering the meat. Got a match?

  • Though it may only call for a few hours, soak chips overnight for even more smoke and a fuller flavor. Weber chip soaker, $15 at Amazon.com.

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