How To Use Wood Chips On A Charcoal Grill?

Grilled food over a smoker or grill has a good taste, but this taste can be enriched in many ways. As everyone prepares tasty food and lights the grill, they become more active.

One of the best techniques is to add wood chips to the grill so that the meat gets excellent smoke. It is often a mystery to people whether wood chips can be used on a charcoal grill.

Hence, most of the confusion is because of misinformation about this topic. There are many types of wood and also many tricks to use them, but I will tell you the better method.

It is easy, like opening the lid, throwing the wood into it, and, for example, soaking the wood chips in the liquid. These wood chips will burn for about 40-60 minutes.

Wood Chips, Chunks, Or Logs

The answer depends on how long you have to smoke for food like chicken, fish, and steak, which takes less time. So, with such food, the wood chips will be the best as they burn faster.

But if you want to get slow and low smoke for work pork butt, brisket, and barbeque brisket, then the wood chunks will prove ideal. The chunks are roughly the size of a fist and last for hours.

The log will be best for you if you are doing barbeque with your offer smoker or in a pit. These logs are large, so they are suitable for large areas. Logs will produce smoke when burned. Thus they are a part of fuel as they create heat on burning.


In smoking, mostly the wood size matters, and you can read further to know how to use wood chips for smoking on a charcoal grill. All kinds of smokers can use wood chips, but usually, only electric smokers use them.

Should I Soak Wood Chips For Charcoal Grill?

Many pitmasters oppose this based on several reasons. It does not appear to be a suitable method in the first place. Generally, water takes several hours to enter the wood, and many people cannot soak their wood for more than an hour. So, it is not necessarily meaningful.

Secondly, almost all of you know that wood is treated before to eliminate the moisture inside it. That wood can be used for smoking but wastes a lot of time. Smoke may be produced instead of steam if the wood absorbs water. What is the purpose of adding water again?

You can use foil as a protective layer if you are worried that perhaps the wood will not burn before giving flavor to your meat. The foil will become an obstacle between the wood and the coals, thus permitting them to burn more slowly while giving a smoke. 

How To Use Wood Chips On A Charcoal Grill?

Make The Foil Packets

It is an optional step but recommended based on practical and aesthetic reasons. Place a few wood chips on top of a double layer of aluminum foil.

With a long skewer, poke small holes in the packet and then forget about it until it is done cooking.

How many packets you will make depends upon many factors, like how many people you cook for and the grill size.

Make The Foil Packets

Light The Fire

Light the coals first with lighter fluid or a chimney starter. You are not recommended to use match-light briquettes as their chemicals can enter your food. 

Roll up a few newspapers in the shape of a ring to make a chimney starter. Place a piece of paper beneath it, and fill it with charcoal. Light them up with the stick lighter and wait till they become ash. 

Initially, there will be smoke, but after some time, it will stop as the moisture evaporates. When the coals become hot, put them into the cooking chamber using a heat glove.

You can also add the coals in the cooking chamber and a small quantity of lighter fluid as an alternative. Once heated and ash-like, torch them with a lighter.


Charcoal Grill With A Smoker

With a charcoal grill and a smoker box, you can speed up the cooking process. A charcoal grill can also smoke, but people typically use it with gas grills. The use of a smoker box would be effortless. Place the coals on the burning coals after throwing them into the box. As soon as the smoke clears, you can begin cooking.

Charcoal Grill Without A Smoker Box

If you want to use a grill without a smoker, you must adopt something different. For this, you must place the chips directly on the coals, which need replacement. 

A foil packet can protect coal and wood by acting as a barrier. As the aluminum foil reduces oxygen, the wood becomes charcoal while the smoke is released. Keep this packet on the fire and enjoy. 

Happy Grilling

Smoke rising can damage you, so take all the precautions. Do not close the lid as much as possible so the smoke can reach the cooking chamber after placing the meat on the cover. You should not try it in indoor grilling. 

How to use wood chip smoker box?

How to use a wood chip smoker box on a charcoal grill is still a concern for most starters. Charcoal grilling is an elementary method of smoking. To arrange the charcoal strategically, you can use a Slow N’ Sear device, snake method, or minion method, and then add charcoal along with the wood chips.

Using aluminum foil to protect your wood chips may help you avoid this problem. The vessel is not rocket science. It allows them to do smoking leniently and saves them from catching fire. 

It would be 3-4 aluminum sheets folded in a bowl structure so the wood chips can be placed. Then, enclose this bowl with excess tin foil. Poke some small holes in it that allow the smoke to escape. 

Types Of Hardwood Chips

Suppose you are interested in knowing different types of woods and how they affect the flavor of your meat. A wood chip is a coin-sized piece of seasoned smoking wood about an inch in length and 1/4 inch thick.

Heavy, medium, and mild are three categories into which the hardwood is divided. The different types of hardwood are explained below:

Type FlavorBest With Strength
MesquiteSmokyLamb, BeefStrong
PecanSavoryWild game, Poultry, Beef, PorkMild
HickorySavoryCheese, Beed, Poultry, PorkMedium
OakSmokyWild game, Fish, Pork, BeefMedium
MapleSweetHam, Vegetables, PoultryMild
PeachSweetGame birds, Pork, PoultryMild
AlderSweetFish, VeggiesMild
AppleMellowCheese, Seafood, PoultryMild
CherryFruityPork, PoultryMild

The woods that should not be used are conifers such as cypress, cedar, redwood, spruce, fir, and pine.

Using A Smoker Tube

You can use smoker tubes and smoker boxes as a way to introduce smoke in gas grills. Similarly, you can use them in charcoal grills for the same purpose. The smoker box is a self-explanatory metal box made of stainless steel. 

They are equipped with several holes in the lid and the bottom. It is simple to use a smoker tube and box. With a smoker tube and box, you add wood chips to the tube or box. Please put it on the grates above the heat source and wait for the smoke.

What Is The Difference Between Wood Chips And Pellets?

Pellets are made by compressing and drying hardwood and forming them into small cylinders. Smoking with them is popular because of their consistently high temperatures, despite their slow burn rate.

On the other hand, wood chips are smaller pieces of hardwood that have been dried and seasoned to reduce their moisture content. Their burning speed is faster than pellets, but they produce a large amount of smoke.

Wood chunks are very similar to pellets but larger. If you are cooking a large cut of meat, brisket, pork butt, or any other meat that requires a long time, then wood chunks will be a better option.

Wood Pellets vs Wood Chips

Smoking with wood chips: Two major choices

If you plan to cook your meat using wood chips, there are two crucial things to remember. The type of wood (hickory, oak, cherry, apple, peach, maple, or other) and whether you soak the wood or not.

Be sure to learn from your mistakes and avoid doing the same in the future. Experimenting is more fun than smoking, so it is an excellent time to experience them. 

Tips For Smoking Meat On Charcoal Grill

Using a wood chip smoker box on a charcoal grill is like any other task you will learn over time. The best way to learn various techniques about charcoal grills is to talk with other grillers and do your research.

The following tips will make your charcoal grill experience useful:

  • Keep away from the precoated charcoal briquettes
  • Use chimney starter
  • Make sure the grill is ready for grilling before you perform the operation
  • To add extra flavor, use wood chips
  • Two-zone method

Can You Put Wood Chips Directly on Charcoal Grill Grates?

Wood chip experimenters may think it is okay to put wood chips on the grill grates when debating whether to try it. It is possible to do this if you are willing, but you should know the results. 

Their small size increases the chances of them falling through the grates. As a result, they will burn more quickly, so they need to be replenished more frequently. The process can be completed soon if you use this method.



Every time you check the smoke quality, you should note the most important thing. You should change your smoker’s chips every five to six hours, but there is no set rule. Some people put two cups of chips over the already-used chips.

As the water vapor burns off, the smoke becomes yellow as the tar burns off, and eventually, a thin blue as the wood turns into charcoal. It can take about 24 hours.

Moreover, many gas grills are compatible with smoker boxes that you can mount directly on the burners or grill grates. Some gas grills have a dedicated space for wood chips. You can wrap them in foil in the form of a pouch or can smoke them in a foil pan.

The main benefit of wood chips over wood chunks is that you can utilize them with any cooker. If you have an electric or gas grill, add them to the smoker box. Otherwise, add a single-layer chip on top of hot charcoal. Please keep it on the hot grate and wait until the smoke rises.

Final Words

So, if you want to make the food delicious and flavorful, I recommend adding wood chips to charcoal grills. By doing so, your food will get a beautiful smell, which is very tasty. Forget all the nonsense you hear about not using wood on charcoal grills. We need to bust this myth.

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