The whole idea behind smoked food is the smoke itself. No matter if you are using electric, gas, or charcoal you’ll need at the very least wood chips to create the smoke. You can buy these at any general store or online. I personally like truly authentic things in general. I like old tube style musical instruments, the ones before circuit boards came about. I prefer to get the heat for my smoker with 100% wood. In fact, I prefer to start the fire with newspaper and smaller sticks rather than lighter fluid.

If you don’t have the room in your smoker for a wood fire, you can use charcoal and sprinkle on wood chips. What kind of wood are we looking for? For smoking, you want a fruit wood. Apple, Cherry, or any other fruit works great. I get all my wood from one of my best friends Jesse from Curtis Farms located in rural Nebraska. They hook me up with mulberry wood. I was not familiar with this type of wood before getting a sample. It is very much like Apple wood. It smells wonderful while burning and I’ve used it exclusively for all my cooking for the past 10 years. It is basically part of my brand at this point.

I try to keep the fire at 225 degrees. If it goes down to 200 or up to 250 for a short amount of time that’s fine. You’ll want to babysit the heat checking it every 30 minutes or so. This is part of the fun though. Being outside with the fire and smoke. It’s very calming and reduces stress. The smell is amazing. If I could bottle it up, I would sell it as cologne.

(8+3+1+1) = Rub

I really discourage any pre-packaged seasoning mix. It’s just a combination of spices everyone already has at home. If you read the ingredients in your favorite taco seasoning, you’ll notice that nearly half of the list is additives that you would never add on your own. Creating your own gives you the advantage of making your food original and unique. Something to take pride in.

Don’t buy pre-mixed rub for your meats! Not only is it not yours, but it’s expensive. You have everything you need in your kitchen now. My recipe is based off the 8+3+1+1 technique.

8 parts brown sugar
3 parts salt
1-part chili powder
1-part mixture of various spices
The last part is a combination of any spices, it’s up to you. You’ll see in the next page how I do it, but you can experiment and make it your own if you want.

I’ve made thousands of pounds of this over the years. The actual recipe calls for cups instead of parts, but I think of it as parts because this allows you to make as little or much as you need.

ED Rub BBQ Seasoning

Mix in bowl

8 parts light brown sugar
3 parts salt
1 parts chili powder
1 part consisting of equal amounts of
black pepper (fresh ground preferred)
garlic powder
onion powder

This recipe works great with Brisket, Pork, Ribs, and Chicken, Seitan, and Tofu. Simply apply on the meat and rub it in. Now wrap it in plastic and let it chill in the refrigerator for 24–48 hours.