French Oak Smoked Tomato Sauce


This is not a cooking blog, though good food and alcohol are two of my passions.

As a woodworker, it makes me crazy that we don’t have a functioning wood-burning stove (this is something that will be rectified with our new place). So I use my scraps, sawdust and shavings as mulch, I burn them in our outdoor fireplace and I use them in cooking whenever I can.


Today I applied the first coat of oil to a French oak workbench for a customer and used the scraps from the piece to make one of my favorite things: a smoky tomato sauce that is fast and easy. You can use almost any wood for this.

Here’s how: Take shavings, offcuts and what-not and scatter them on some foil on your grill. Crank the grill up to high and char the shavings for 10 minutes.


Take eight or so Roma tomatoes, slice them lengthwise and put them cut-side up on a metallic vegetable steamer. Place the steamer on top of the smoldering chunks of oak, close the lid and cook them for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the skin of the tomatoes is blistered and a little charred.


Place the tomatoes in a blender and liquify them. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and whatever seasoning you like. It’s ready to eat.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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14 Responses to French Oak Smoked Tomato Sauce

  1. Dane Johnson says:

    Thanks for sharing.. *perfect* way to use up the end-of-the-season heirloom Romans, have you tried this when green? humph.. should make an interesting salsa if mixed with last of the tomatillos and jalapenos !!
    Thanks again

  2. greenebelly says:

    I love it! Thanks! One I found that gets “pro BBQ” guys begging me what I used is Live Oak. I make driftwood furniture and such and use the scraps for the same thing but for steak/meat. It really does make that big a difference. Try it if you can get your hands on some.

  3. Paul Sidener says:

    Thanks, now I’m hungry. That sounds so good.

  4. wsparkman says:

    Another use for plane shavings: packing material !!

  5. Kev Alviti says:

    Sounds great, I’ll be trying this next year!

  6. ajw2250 says:

    Please tell me you’re using a charcoal grill. If not, spring for the Cajun Grill – pricey but you’ll never look back. Down with gas!

  7. toolnut says:

    Do you peal the skins prior to blending?

  8. smoking and oven roasting are ways to turn less than flavorful tomatoes into tasty sauces of many kinds!

  9. More of this. That is all.

  10. Rachael Boyd says:

    I just smoked some steelhead yesterday with alder.. good stuff..

  11. Bob Jones says:

    Keep sharing. I owe my favorite grit recipe to you.

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