Originally Posted by Venture
Go figger. The California red oak from the central coast area was historically the wood of choice for grilling the Santa Maria Tri-tips.
Good luck and good smoking.
The oak used in Santa Maria is called "red oak" as a local name, it's common name is coastal live oak and is not the same tree as northern red oak or southern red oak.
All tree species have scientific and common names and many will also have "local" names that are region specific- ie red maple is called "swamp maple" in Maine because it grows in wetter, low lying areas.
Oak has, by my count, 49 species in the US. I have seen mention of 6 by name that are used in BBQ- live oak, northern and southern red oaks, post oak, white oak and coast live oak. If anyone uses any of the other 43 oak species to cook with I would like to know about it and add to the list.