How to Keep Wood Chips From Burning In Smoker
Although barbecuing and smoking is a fun activity, but you need some practice to get desired results. For a beginner, a perfectly smoked one is a dream. There are many factors such as cooking temperature, time, fire control, wood type, sauces, and dry rub recipes that affect the quality of the food. Various heat sources such as gas, charcoal, grill, or wood also mark prime differences in the results. No matter which smoker you use, you can’t achieve delicious smoked flavor without wood chips. That’s why choosing the right size and type of wood is important. Also, one must know how to how to keep wood chips from burning in smokers.
There are three smoking wood sizes available to choose from:
- Wood Chips
Whether you order online or buy it from a nearby local store, they are easily available everywhere. Let’s explore the effectiveness of wood types and how to use wood chips for smoking.
• Difference between Wood Chips, Logs, and Chunks
The selection of the wood type depends on how long you are planning to smoke. For instance, if you are looking for short cooking like fish, chicken, or steak, wood chips are best as they are small pieces of wood that help to ignite quickly. However, they burn out pretty fast.
On the other hand, if you are planning a long session with your friends like slow smoke for barbecue brisket, then choose chunks for smoking. These fist-size pieces can burn consistently for hours in a smoker.
However, for barbecue lovers using pit or the best offset smoker, logs are highly recommended. Such full-sized wood pieces are best for large areas. They produce smoke, but they can also be utilized as a fuel source to create heat from burning.
The wood size matters a lot in smoking foods. Wood chips are commonly used in electric smokers to create smoke, but you can also use them in other types of smokers. Let’s take a look at some of the common questions related to wood chips.
• Is it necessary to soak wood chips or leave them dry for barbecue?
The answer may vary when it comes to soaking wood chips for barbecue. Wood chips burn out rapidly, and soaking them slows down the burning process. The water boils at 100°C (212°F), and it must evaporate before the wood can ignite at about 180°C (356°F). Soaking chips merely delays the smoking time.
In simple words, when dripping wet wood is tossed on hot coals, the water just cools of them. The prime factor that matters in smoking is to control the temperature of the smoker. Soaking may help to prevent wood chips from burning in the smoker, but it is not recommended to soak them. However, it depends on your personal preference.
• Decrease Oxygen to make wood chips smoke rather than burn
The wood chips produce smokers when they reach temperatures between 299 & 399°C (570 & 750°F), depending on the wood type. Smoke is a mixture of compounds that create flavors and aromas. A group of compounds, Phenol, along with other phenolic compounds, help to impart antioxidant features which slow bacterial growth and acidification of animal fat.
Burning wood produces more heat with fewer smokes. To decrease the flame, just lower the oxygen levels so that wood chips merely smolder, releasing more smoke.
An effective way to restrict oxygen is to put your wood chips in a metal smoker box, a smoker pouch, or a wire mesh smoking bag. These containers help to restrict the oxygen flow so that the wood doesn’t burst into flames. If you want to create a DIY smoking pouch, aluminum foil can help you.
How to make a smoke pouch for wood chips
Making a smoke pouch to keep wood chips from burning is very easy. Take two layers of aluminum foil and put some wood chips in the center. Wrap up the pouch tightly, just like a birthday present, so that the wood chips won’t fall out. Poke some holes all over the pouch to allow air in and smoke out.
The foil helps to restrict the oxygen and turn wood into charcoal while offering more smoke instead of burning wood chips and turning them into ash. Place this DIY smoke pouch on the fire just like the wood chips. It will help the smoke to last longer and use fewer wood chips.
Different types of wood chips
- Wood chips come from various kinds of trees. Combining the best wood chips and foods makes a perfect combination to produce juicy smoked meat.
- Choosing low flavor woods chips is recommended as compared to medium and strong ones.
- Using too many chips can overpower the food. Once you get used to the wood features, you will easily mix and match them to create different scents and flavors.
How to Smoke with Wood Chips on an Electric or Gas Smoker
- One of the effective ways to add smoke into gas and electric smokers is to use wood chip pouches or boxes.
- Select your favorite wood chips flavor for your food.
- Fill up the box of your smoker with the wood chips. You can also create an aluminum foil pouch, as mentioned above. Gas grills have a smoker box. You can also buy a separate box or grab a disposable smoker box with wood chips already filled inside it.
- Now light the fire and place the smoker box on the grill.
- The chips will begin to smoke in a while.
- Place the meat on the grill and cover it properly.
- You can use both direct and indirect grilling techniques to cook your meat.
How to smoke with wood chips on a charcoal grill
- Take a look at the most effective technique to smoke your food using chips on a charcoal grill.
- Select your favorite flavored wood chips to add smoked flavor to your desired food.
- Now grab a bag of quality charcoal or briquettes.
- Put charcoal in the chimney and then light it.
- You can create a pouch using aluminum foil and fill it with wood chips. Don’t forget to make some holes in the smoke box to allow air in and smoke out of it.
- Pout charcoal from the chimney and begin the fire.
- If you are looking for fast cooking such as steaks, burgers, or chickens breasts, place the woodchips below the meat.
- However, for slow cooking, like ribs or roasts, you can use indirect heat by placing the charcoal on the side with the wood chips pouch on the top. P
- Place the cooking grate over the fire, followed by the meat.
- Now cover the grill. If you are grilling and there are no dampers, leave the lid open for about an inch to allow air in. Don’t lift it too much, as smoke will escape from the chamber.
- For low and slow cooking, don’t forget to add more wood chips.
Useful tips for smoking
- It takes about half an hour for 2 to 3 handfuls of wood chips on direct heat to give up all the smoky goodness.
- Make sure to maintain the smoky flavor in the meat. Lift the grill lid or open the door of the smoker as little as possible.
- Soaking wood chips will slow down the start of the burning process; it adds time via a delay in the production smoke. Remember, it will not add more smoke to your food.
When you are ready to smoke the meat with wood chips, you have two choices; the type of wood flavor and to soak chips or not. The best of all is to do some experiments and learn how to add smoke perfectly to your food. Remember, an expert chef was once a beginner, and his now perfect skills are the result of consistent experiments and work. So, never give up, keep trying, and you will surely be a seasoned smoker one day.