How To Use Wood Chips For Smoking? Charcoal and Gas Grill Guide

Wood for smoking comes in various shapes and sizes, such as chunks, pellets, logs, and chips. Each type has a specific function, so you should use them accordingly to get better results while barbecuing. If you want more smoke for cooking delicious and smoky meat, smoke chips are ideal as they burn quickly to produce heavy smoke.

How To Use Wood Chips For Smoking

Wood chips are a fine way to infuse aromatic smoky taste into the meat. They are made up of small scraps and shavings of wood, making them incredibly light compared to other wood options on the market. If you do not know the usage of wood chips, stick to the reading as I am going to explain how to use wood chips for smoking in this post.

Do You Soak Wood Chips Before Putting In Smoker?

Before putting wood chips in your smoker, you can soak them in water for a while. It will remove any excess moisture and allow the wood chips to dry completely before use. Place soaked wood chips in a smoker as soon as possible after they have been soaked, or they will be tough to use or become soggy.

They will not affect the temperature of your smoker when you use them, but they may take longer to burn than dry wood chips. If you are using a gas-fired grill, it is crucial to monitor your smoker’s temperature carefully. Burning gas gives more heat than charcoal and can cause problems if you do not observe it closely.

How Long Do You Soak Wood Chips For Smoking?

Soaking wood chips is crucial in the smoking process. It allows you to get all the flavor out of the wood and also helps break down any impurities in the wood. The soaking time for wood chips depends on the smoker you are using and how much smoke you want to produce. 

For example, if you are using a pellet smoker or a gas grill, then shorter soaking times will be needed than if you were using a traditional wood-fired oven-style cooker. Soaking time will only need about 15 minutes per pound of chips if you use a pellet smoker

It is because pellets do not smoke as well as hardwood chips or chunks, so they need minimal time to absorb the smoke flavor. On the other hand, if you use hardwood chips in your smoker or grill, they can require more than an hour of soaking before they start smoking properly.

Do You Add Water To Wood Chips When Smoking?

When you are smoking wood chips, you will want to add water. The reason is that wood chips are dry and need some moisture to ensure they do not burn and smoke. When you smoke with wood chips, there is no need to add any liquid other than what is already inside the wood chips themselves. 

You can use water or any other liquid that will wet your hands when handling them. Soak them inside the water for a specific period before loading them into your smoker for the first time. Some of the larger pieces will be broken down into smaller pieces and burned more evenly as a result.

Do You Add Water To Wood Chips When Smoking

How To Smoke With Wood Chips On A Charcoal Grill?

I suggest you follow these steps if you want to smoke on a charcoal smoker using wood chips: 

  • Choose the flavor of the wood chips according to what you are cooking because different types are good for particular smoking foods (such as cherry, maple, hickory, and mesquite)
  • Source a bag of quality charcoal again. You can either go for lump or briquette by considering your cooking requirement.
  • You need to light the charcoal. I recommend using a charcoal chimney since it allows you to burn coals evenly. 
  • Fill the wood chips in the pouch of aluminum foil and seal it. After that, poke holes into it so smoke can come out and air can get into the pouch.
  • Once the charcoal starts to burn at its peak, pour them into the smoker box. For fast cooking, like poultry and burgers, I suggest you place the wood chips pouch directly under the food. If you want to cook slowly and low, place the wood chips pouch on either side of the smoker.
  • Afterward, place the cooking grate over the fire and put meat or any other food you want to smoke.
  • To avoid burning your meal, make sure to change the sides of the meat throughout the cooking session. 
  • Once the food is ready, put it out and let the smoker down before storing it.
How To Smoke With Wood Chips On A Charcoal Smoker 1

Note: Keep monitoring the temperature using a probe thermometer for optimal barbecuing.

How To Smoke With Wood Chips On A Gas Grill?

I believe that wood chips are fantastic to give smoke out of gas smokers: Here is how you can do it: 

  • Get the type of wood chips that are great to infuse mind-blowing smoky flavor into the specific food you want to cook (such as maple, hickory, mesquite, and cherry)
  • You can fill the smoker box of your gas smoker with wood chips or make a pouch of them using aluminum foil. Most gas smokers come with a smoker box, but if yours do not, then you can buy a dedicated one.
  • Turn your gas smoker on, light the fire, and put the smoker box on top of the grill.
  • Let the wooden chips smoke evenly. 
  • After that, put the meat on the grill grates over the burning fire so you can cook it. 
  • You can either smoke your meat directly or indirectly, depending on what type of cooking you want.
fill the smoker box of your gas smoker

Note: If you notice that the smoke is less, you should keep adding wood chips for increased smoke.

How To Ensure Wood Chips Smoke instead of burning?

Wood chips smoke when the oxygen supply to the fire is reduced. You can do this by spreading out your wood chips, so they are not stacked on top of each other and by putting them in a basket or container that allows air to circulate correctly.

Another way to reduce oxygen is to use a smoke generator, like an electronic cigarette or a chimney starter. You do not need to burn anything with these devices, just some kindling and the device itself. The resulting smoke has a much more intense flavor than that produced by normal smoking.

How Much Wood Chips For Smoking?

The amount of wood chips you need to smoke a smoker depends on the size of the smoker and how much meat you want to smoke at one time. As a general rule of thumb, you need one pound of wood chips for every pound of meat. For example, if you use 3-pound beef brisket, you will need three pounds of wood chips.

However, using less or more than this amount is possible, depending on your preferences and the type of wood chips available. The easiest way to determine how many wood chips you need for your smoker is by calculating how many pounds of meat you plan on smoking. 

It is an excellent way to ensure you do not run out of space in your smoker. It allows you to estimate exactly how many wood chips you need for each batch. To do this, multiply the number of pounds of meat by 0.8, giving you the approximate number of pounds of wood chips you require per pound.

How To Make A Smoking Pouch For Wood Chips?

You can quickly make a smoking pouch for the wood chips at home. Place them inside the two layers of aluminum foil and seal them like a birthday gift so nothing falls out of the pouch. After that, poke holes all over this smoker pouch so smoke can come out. 

It produces more smoke because wood chips get minimal oxygen inside the pouch rather than burning, they will tend to smoke, and you have to source fewer wooden chips. Put the aluminum foil pouch loaded over the fire the same way you pour wood chips on it.

How To Make A Smoking Pouch For Wood Chips

At What Temperature Does Wood Smoke?

Wood is generally considered dry at about 20 percent moisture content. The burning temperature of wood chips also depends on the type of wood and can range from about 300 degrees F to about 500 degrees F, depending on the kind of wood used and how old it is. Smoke from food will absorb heat from burning wood faster at higher temperatures.

Final Words

Infusing smoky flavor into the food is a great way to spruce up your dinner party. Surprisingly, chips give you the taste of firewood with less mess. Smoking foods with wood chips is fun, and you can accomplish it most efficiently. You just need to source suitable wood for smoking. 

How To Use Smoker Wood Chips? You should avoid using softwood like pine and oak for smoking because they burn out instantly, resulting in a poor barbecue. Buy a combination of hardwood and fruit woods to ensure you have the best type of smoke. Remember that smoking with wood chips can change their flavor over time so use them sparingly to cook meat or fish.


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