Rotted Willow Smoke

Mmmmm.   Rotted willow smoke!

It is Thanksgiving, and I am giving thanks.

At one time I planted several hundred willows.

These willows grew tall.

And they gave me lovely dappled garden shade.

This made for a very nice garden to work in!


Now, due to a shift in climate, all but a few are dead.   In any case, when climate change gives you lemons …

Push over and dig up a few willow roots.

In it’s own way, a dead willow is still a treasure.

When you dig up a dead willow root, you get an amazing thing,  Rotted willow root!

With some coals and a few scraps of willow root you can make the best smoked turkey in existence.

I don’t use petroleum to start my coals.  The smell is horrid, and the taste is worse.  Great barbeque does not start with petroleum distillates.

I like to use a starter tower.  Since the handle broke on my old one, I quickly turned a new cedar handle.  Nothing fancy, but better than the original.

In the foreground you can see a bunch of willow root chips.  These will crumble about like weak cork.

I have lots of oak and it smokes really well.  I have used hickory, and pecan and both of them do well too.  I have mesquite growing in my yard, and prefer it to oak, hickory and pecan.   But as long as I have rotted willow root, I have no interest in any other wood for smoking turkey, fish, lamb or whatever.    Willow root makes for some yummy turkey.


2 comments to Rotted Willow Smoke

  • djmueller


    This is my first visit to your blog, which I found through a link on Kari Hultman’s site. A couple of questions to help navigate the landscape. Is your blog more instructional in its focus (some sites do wax on philosophical bents which can overwhelm core content)? Do you craft any of the hand made tools for sale? And, at the header of your blog’s main page, there is a photo of a small wood rack, holding what appears to be scrapers, or some sort of sharpening station. What is this?

  • Bob Strawn

    While I have crafted a few tools for others, I try with this site to remain strongly free of commercial. I do have a link at the top for selling tools, but I have not done so for quite a while. There is also an ‘about’ link at the top to explain a bit better what my intentions are.

    As a proper response, to the philosophical bent question, this site is entirely about philosophy. My intended approach to philosophy here is not by splitting words or saying who is wrong, so much as an attempt to have people expand who they are by expanding their interests and abilities. Man has been defined by some as a tool making and using animal. This is an attempt to inspire people to sentience.

    Just as Taoism can be illuminated by words but not explained by them, just as there is no better diplomacy than sharing a close meal, I believe that the best of faith and philosophy involve doing. The Tao is most properly approached through movement, tai chi or chi gong. Mysticism that ignores reality can only be called fantasy just as life without mysticism is a life ignoring the great questions.

    So instead of interpreting, ‘To do is to be.’ as a proof of my existence, I am saying that the more that you do, the more that you are. The intent of this blog is to inspire people to be. I try not to go on about it too much, but a bit of introspection will creep into my posts from time to time. I am not by any means anti-intellectual, instead I think that wine tastes better after you have brewed your own.

    The image you are referring to changes each time you refresh the page, but it is probably a sharpening station. has a bit more data. If you go to you will see some better pictures of it.


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