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Chips vs chunks

PjoePjoe Posts: 224
edited 9:08PM in EggHead Forum
I am wanting to try some different types of wood. I found apple and cherry but it is in chips rather than chunks. How do you add chips to your lump? Are there any secrets I should know? Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas to everyone. It is amazing the information I get from this group. It is a pleasure to be associated with you all.

Bill
LBGE AR SMALL BGE WOO RING

Comments

  • I have found that chunks work the best in the Egg.
    The chips (almost saw dust) will do well in a cold smoke gererator, but burn quickly in the fire.
  • PjoePjoe Posts: 224
    I agree but I have not been able to locate Chunks in the fruit woods in my area. I think I will have to go with chips.
    Bill
    LBGE AR SMALL BGE WOO RING
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    I just throw in a couple handfuls and then stir the lump with my billy bar to mix them all throughout the lump.Works fine for me.
  • I will say...That chips are Okay, but will depend on size.
    As I mentioned, some of what I see in the store (called chips) is almost a sawdust. If the chips you can get are thumb nail size of better....You will be doing fine, still a fast burn, but fine.
  • Put as much as you want into a Aluminum Foil pouch with small holes punched into the top and throw the pouch onto the fire.
  • I agree with you Hoss, unles the chips are really fines and not chips at all :ohmy: .
    No matter, you'll get some smoke flavor :)
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    a pound of wood is a pound of wood, chips or chunk.

    neither burns slower or faster really, because the fire burns at a fixed rate.

    if i want a lot of long near-continuous smoke, i build the fire in stages. a little lump, with some chips in the center. some more lump, with more chips in the center, another layer, and so on. the fire generally burns downward in the middle, so put the chips where the fire will go.

    don't soak. they can't burn really (or burst into flame). there's not enough free oxygen to allow them to ignite
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • I've been told that meat can only "absorb" smoke for about an hour and a half so any smoke beyond the hour and a half isn't changing the meat. Any truth to that? If so, it doesn't sound like there would be much difference between chunks and chips as long as they last an hour and a half.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    no truth at all. one of the undead myths of barbecue.

    anything placed in smoke will pick up smoke flavor not matter what temp the meat or environment is.

    the smoke RING is a chemical reaction that occurs under temps of 140. when the meat surface (not interior) reaches 140, the chemical reaction stops. the chemical reaction occurs when the nitrates in smoke form an acid on the meat which acid wicks into the meat and turns the myoglobin bright pink.

    although that stops, as long as the smoke is there, the flavor will be still be added.

    the only difference between a butt smoked at the end of a cook versus the beginning, is that the butt smoked toward the end will have no smoke ring. they'll both have the same amount of smoke flavor
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,617
    stike wrote:
    a pound of wood is a pound of wood, chips or chunk.

    neither burns slower or faster really, because the fire burns at a fixed rate.

    I beg to differ on that point. A pound of chips would have a much greater surface area than a pound of chunks, and therefore if distributed evenly, a pound of chips would burn faster. Example.....throw a 1 pound log of wood into your fire place and see how long it takes to burn. Now take 1 pound of woodchips and throw it onto the same fire. Which will burn quicker?

    How about take it a step farther and throw a pound of sawdust into that same fire? (I don't recommend this!!!) Why do you think they have such severe warnings against open flames near grain silos? Basic physics. The more surface area that there is to burn, the faster it will burn. Flamable dust will burn faster than chips which will burn faster than chunks which will burn faster than logs. I've seen a silo blow, so I know what I am talking about. That being said, a BGE closed will keep the amount of oxygen being fed to the flmae down so you don't need to worry about explosions (watch the flare ups on a high temp burn), but the greater surface area of chips will result in a faster burn off than chunks of an equal weight. If you don't believe me, than call up your local college and ask for their physics or college department. But what do I know? I am just a lowly chemist trying to make the best barbecue I can for the last 15 years.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    Thank you. :)
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you are talking lit all at once.
    in the egg, with the chips spread u and down thru the column, most of it not lit and waiting for the fire to get there (if ever), the chips are not going to ignite, burn, or be outlasted by chunks.

    ignore how much woood and what shape it is. think about the fire. at 250, burning charcoal, it is burning at a fixed rate. it's also limited by the vents. a chip exposed directly to the burning coals will not burst into open flame unless you open the lid and allow extra oxygen in.

    so it comes down to the fire, and whether that fire is contacting wood.

    if the fire, which is small, is contacting a chunk, it will smolder. and it's contacting that wood at one point, not consuming it like flame on all sides.
    if the fire is contacting a chip, it is also going to smolder. and it will also not burst into flame.

    you misunderstand my point. i am saying that a pound of wood chunks in the egg won't burn any more slowly than a pound of chips.

    i really think the claim of chips or chunks being 'better' than the other is another persistent myth.

    both have their advantages, both work well, none burst into flame (in the egg i mean, a lo-oxygen environment). i'll go so far as to say that the chips have an advantage over chunks: if you had a fist full of each, you might have two or three chunks, but a whole bunch of (smaller) chips. if you place a chunk directly into the lump, and it is big enough, the fire can burn from under it, leaving the chunk unused. if you have three chunks, you just lost a third of your smoke insurance. but the chips can be strung out along the path (down, in my case) of the fire.

    for the same amount of wood used, i get more continuous smoke with chips.

    more potential contact points
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,617
    stike wrote:
    a pound of wood is a pound of wood, chips or chunk.

    neither burns slower or faster really, because the fire burns at a fixed rate.

    I beg to differ on that point. A pound of chips would have a much greater surface area than a pound of chunks, and therefore if distributed evenly, a pound of chips would burn faster. Example.....throw a 1 pound log of wood into your fire place and see how long it takes to burn. Now take 1 pound of woodchips and throw it onto the same fire. Which will burn quicker?

    How about take it a step farther and throw a pound of sawdust into that same fire? (I don't recommend this!!!) Why do you think they have such severe warnings against open flames near grain silos? Basic physics. The more surface area that there is to burn, the faster it will burn. Flamable dust will burn faster than chips which will burn faster than chunks which will burn faster than logs. I've seen a silo blow, so I know what I am talking about. That being said, a BGE closed will keep the amount of oxygen being fed to the flmae down so you don't need to worry about explosions (watch the flare ups on a high temp burn), but the greater surface area of chips will result in a faster burn off than chunks of an equal weight. If you don't believe me, than call up your local college and ask for their physics or college department. But what do I know? I am just a lowly chemist trying to make the best barbecue I can for the last 15 years.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i believ you. no need to argue.

    all of your examples assume an environment with plenty of oxygen and a fire which can burn without limit.

    neither of these conditions exist in the egg.

    i didn't know you were a chemist, and although that means you know a lot, it doesn't mean you are infallible.

    gotta think of the entire system. there is little extra oxygen in an egg. chicken doesn't flare up in your egg, but does in a gasser, and there-in lies the reason chips burn no faster than chunks. in addition to the controlled (fixed size) fire in the lump itself
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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