after discussing some things with Winds of Change and her wanting to learn how to use her smoker she got, i decided to start a dedicatedthread to just smoking and grilling. now i am no expert and personally am still learning new techiques and ingredients that will work for smoking meats and grilling them. but i will say this, outdoor cooking is one of my hobbies and passions. i smoke and grille pretty much year round, regardless of the weather. smoking is low and slow. with this method, you can take one of the worst or toughest cuts of meat and make it into a tasteful and tender eating master piece. when done, the meat will have an excellent flavor and will almost be able to cut with a fork. this is the method i use for large cuts of meat. i use what's called indirect cooking. the meat is never over the heat or flames with this method. grilling is a fast and hot method of cooking. used for fast food presentation. steaks, hamburgers, chicken, suasage, and other such meats. even vegatables and breads. key thing is when grilling steaks, i have found that using the fast and hot method, you need a higher quality of steak to grille. the quality of the meat when choosing your steak is critical. i like to marinate my steaks for about an hour before grilling. anything with vinegar will aid in meat tenderizing. when my steaks go on the grille, i use very lttle seasoning and usually just salt and pepper. i also like to use wood rather than charcoal for my heat as it imparts a little smoky flavor to the meat. now a discussion on heat sources. personally i use different types, with my preference for wood. but i still use some charcoal and on occasion propane. propane i pretty much reserve for breads and vegatables, or hamburgers or hotdogs if in a hurry. charcoal i use to start my wood fires and occasionally for cooking when i have no wood ready to go. but my prefence is wood. mainly i use wood from oak because that's the main type of trees i have on my place. i have on occasion used pecan and mesquite and if more available in larger quantities, would use them much more. fruitwoods i have used and like them as they have a very mild smoky flavor, but again for me not readily available. i like my wood to be aged at least six months of longer. now lets open this thread for discussion and questions. myself, i am looking to learn new methods and want to help others as well. like i said, outdoor cooking is one of my hobbies and one of my favorite cooking methods. there is nothing that can be cooked inside in the kitchen, that can't be cooked outside is my motto!