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Sweet leaf smoke (willow and maple)

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I have long loved the taste I could get by throwing green willow or maple leaves on the coals. I discovered this over 40 years ago when I was young and in love... the GF and I would go hiking and on the way grab a couple of Tbones.... a book of matches from some business........ they gave them away back then, and forget everything else ;-)   Remember those days?   In heat would be a better description I think.  

    We would start a small fire up in the Bitteroots, and weave a grill from creek bottom willows, throw the steaks on and cook them to a beautiful medium rare....never missed salt and spices........which were always among the forgotten.  Perhaps we were so starry eyed and in love that the real spice came from something else ;-)


I use green willow leaves and stalks these days... I also have cherrywood and mesquite, but I prefer the willow........ perhaps it's just the memories.   The taste of love


Note that "willow" encompasses a wide variety of bushes and trees.   These were creek bottom willows from those dense patches along a creek.    I have no idea how diamond willow (which grows around here), golden willow, weeping willow, or any of the others would be.   These are the classic #### willows (in the spring).    I also have used maple leaves, and suspect that any maple would do.

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Best smoked salmon I think I have ever had was along the Columbia River outside Portland Oregon at a place called Mc Minimums brewery. They smoked the salmon above alder branches and leaves in an open grill made out of a 50 gallon drum half. The salmon fillets were tied to planks and suspended above the grill on an A frame type of rack. The beer they made and the corn they roasted as well was exceptional. I often throw fresh rosemary sprigs on the fire when I roast turkey or chicken. The sap seems to make a nice subtle but  very pleasing perfume.

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