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benifit of wood chips or chunks ?

fairchasefairchase Posts: 247
edited March 2012 in EggHead Forum
 Just kinda thinking out loud here. When people started moving away from wood fueled cookers, grills , smokers and gravitating toward electric and gas powered ones the wood taste was lost. Therefor wood chips and or chunks were used for wood smoke flavor. Now since some of us have seen the light and gone back to charcoal were still using wood chips and or chunks .

 So I'm wondering since were using wood as a fuel how much difference does flavoring wood do, or is it really needed at all ?


  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,116
    Most charcoal lump has some wood left in it, as well as broken down wood components that didn't get driven out of the charcoal mass. So a little of the wood smoke flavor will come out of the burning lump.

    However, adding unburnt hardwood (chips or chunks) allows the heat to not only breakdown the cellulose (the bad white smoke) but the lignin that made the wood hard. The heated lignin breaks down into a number of components that are also found in some spices. As I recall, both clove and vanilla components are emitted, as well as others.

    Most of the histories of BBQ that i have read say that the origins were fires built by Taino and Arawak natives in the Caribbean. The used allspice/pimenton wood. I have used some of that, and the aroma is almost incense-like. I didn't really like the flavor, but various woods actually do spice the food as they are heated.
  • burr_baby33burr_baby33 Posts: 503
    Going from the gasser to the BGE with lump adds a lot of flavor that we missed with the gasser. Now we can add more / different flavor with a menu of wood. I just keep trying new combinations and love it.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Smoke can also provide additional preservation qualities when curing meat. The surface of the meat becomes a little more inhospitable to bacteria, drier (helps prohibit mold) and perhaps a tick less attractive to insects

    We add it now because we like the flavor, because with modern refrigeration and supermarkets stocking meat year-round, we don't truly need to preserve and smoke meat in quantity.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,307
    Reminds me of a trip to Mt. Vernon where ol' 'First in War...' had a smoke house on the premises. It was in operation while I was there, several meats were hanging inside. They kept a constant low fire inside to smoke preserve their meats much like we do with today's refrigeration.
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