How to Make Wood Chips for Smoking

how to make wood chips for smoking

Wood chips are ideal fuel for a barbecue smoker. Although you can easily purchase wood chips online or nearby store, you can also make wood chips for smoking at home. The process may be a bit tricky at the beginning, but it’s fun to make your own wood chips. The best thing about making chips is that you can add your favorite touch for unique taste and flavor to the foods. Let’s take a look at how to make wood chips for smoking at home.

Why making your own wood chips for smoking?

Making your own wood chips for smoking has many benefits. The most prominent is that it is a cheap way to enjoy a barbecue party. You can effortlessly use whatever wood piece you have at home, which makes it more economical. Make sure that the wood can add smoked flavor to your food.

What are the best types of wood for making chips?

You can use different types of wood for smoking foods. But it is essential to consider the type of wood you choose. It is due to the fact that each wood has a different flavor. Here are some best types of wood for smoking.

1. Hickory


Best known for its sweet and smoky flavor, hickory is typically used to make wood chips for smoking different foods. This wood has a strong flavor, so you have to ensure the right amount of chips to add proper flavor. It can burn for a long period and is ideal when you are planning for long barbecue sessions.

As mentioned above, hickory has a strong flavor; it is commonly mixed with milder wood types to prevent overpowering the flavoring of food. The case is especially true with some foods, including seat food or white meat. Hickory wood chips are also best for smoking cheese and most meats.

2. Cherry

Cherry Wood For Smoking BrisketThis smoking wood offers a slightly mild flavor with a level of tartness that is ideal for duck, venison, and poultry in general. However, you can also use cherry wood chips with any type of vegetable, meat, and food. In fact, it’s the mild flavor that makes it a great choice for a variety of foods.

3. Applewood

Apple Wood For Smoking BrisketThe applewood has a light sweet flavor making a decent pick for while meat including fish and chicken. It is also a popular choice for cheese, ham, cold meats, and bacon. It is best known for its slight and mild smokiness.

4. Oak

oak wood for smoking brisketOak is different from fruit tree woods and doesn’t have a sweet flavor. Although this wood is strong, still, it is lighter than hickory. If you are looking for neutral flavor and long-burning sessions, oak wood chips are made for you.

5. Pecan

Pecan Wood For Smoking BrisketPecan wood is similar to hickory wood, but it is not strong as hickory. If you are familiar with the pecan nuts flavor, then think about the same flavor being infused in the food. The nutty flavor is perfect for lamb, beef, and poultry.

6. Peach

Peachwood offers a sweet scent to add decent smoked flavor to your foods. When you use this wood to smoke your food, it provides the same sweet and delicate notes that you find in the fruit. It is best for white and pink meats.

Tools you need to make wood chips for smoking.

You need some tools to make your own wood chips at home. Wood chips can be manufactured from any type of wood. All you need is to create a small enough piece that you can easily put in the smoker.

You need an ax or saw to chop up a piece of wood into small pieces. Another option is to put the wood through a wood shredder or a chipper.

Take a look at the list of best smokers 


If you want to use a wood chipper, you will have to rent it out as it’s not the home workshop machine. The portable shredder takes on branches that are about 2 to 3 inches in diameter.

If the wood piece is larger than the mentioned length, you need an industrial-grade wood chipper. Use an ax to chop up the wood into small pieces. Although this method is a tough one, you can do it easily as ax is commonly available in every home.

A small ax can effortlessly chip the wood away from the trunk. Keep in mind you are not chopping the log in half but getting some small pieces. Chop in a slanted manner and chip small bits off at a time. The only drawback of using an ax is that you will not cut small pieces as compared to a wood chipper.

While using a wood chipper, you can effortlessly make wood chips for smoking. The odd side of this method is that you need to rent out a machine.

When using a chipper, make sure your machine is on the level ground, and there is zero tilt. Set the speed and direction of the machine safely. Don’t forget to follow the safety tips provided by the manufacturer.

If the wood chipper is equipped with wheels, ensure to lock them properly. When you are done with set up, connect the machine properly and then feed the chips into the machine properly. When you are feeding the wood onto the chipper, don’t forget to mix wet and dry leaves with helping the machine.

How to store DIY smoking wood chips

When you are done with making wood chips for smoking, you can easily store them in boxes with holes in them. Don’t forget to store cold chips and a dry place. A box with proper holes for ventilation can help to keep the chips dry. You can also use a plastic container to store woods chips with holes for free air circulation.

Should you soak wood chips for smoking?

Well, most people consider soaking wood chips before smoking, but it is not an effective method. Soaked wood chips need to get rid of moisture before they produce smoke. There is not good enough moisture to produce prominent smoke or steam, but still, it can produce delightful flavor on the food.

What is the best wood for smoking?

Here are the most popular woods used worldwide for smoking different foods.

  • Hickory
  • Oak
  • Mesquite
  • Maple
  • Pecan
  • Cheery
  • Alder
  • Apple
  • Peach
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