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to soak or not to soak, that is the question

BGE Pit CrewBGE Pit Crew Posts: 149
edited 9:15PM in EggHead Forum
Hi to all,

I read the Dizzy Pig news letter about chips/chunks. They stated that the chips/chunks should not be soaked prior to putting on the EGG. I tried some cherry chips last weekend without the soak and didn't see much of a difference? The wet compared to the dry both started out smoky and took about the same time to get the clean "white smoke" before putting on the meat. Has anyone else tried this yet? Thanks and keep smokin, Dana


  • RipnemRipnem Posts: 5,511
    Toss them in unsoaked prior to the meat and you can avoid the white poofy smoke. Or you can add a chunk late in the cook and the new smoke won't hurt a thing.

    No need to soak, simply because the egg regulates the cumbustion air so well that it won't just start on fire and burn til it's gone, as in a weber kettle or a gasser as well as others. The wood will simply smolder and produce a lite amount of smoke for hours. I like chunks, cause if I want chips I can make them.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    It is common for forum folks to recommend no soaking. Coming from a vertical propane water smoker I used to soak. I haven't found much difference between either method on the egg. If I want a longer smoke from chips I do put some on/in the lump and also make some foil pouches containing a good amount of chips. A few holes in the pouch and the pouches placed close to areas of the lump that are hot/burning. Another pouch or two on an area of the lump that hasn't ignited as of yet.

    Is using chunks I use bigger chunks and again put some in lit areas and some in areas that have not ignited as of yet.

    I use different flavor woods, some fruit and some hardwood. The pouches allow me to easily clear out the flavor wood from one cook to another.

    Many ways to handle the chips/chunks that's my 2¢ though.

  • BGE Pit CrewBGE Pit Crew Posts: 149
    thanks to both of you for your input! It did make sense when reading the Dizzy Pig news letter but wanted to hear from some other Eggheads before going with the no soak method. Thanks and keep smokin, Dana
  • CrueznCruezn Posts: 317
    I like chunks and no soaking. Mostly because I don't plan far enough ahead to soak anyway. I really don't think there is an advantage to soaking though.
  • asianflavaasianflava Posts: 313
    I don't soak.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,301
    Here's what I've been told. The flavors smoke imparts come from the wood's lignin breaking down. This happens between 400 and 700 F. If your cooker (such as the Egg) can restrict the airflow enough between those temperatures that the wood can't burst into flame, you will get a good spicy flavor.

    Harder woods have more lignin, so hickory and oak make for strong flavors. Woods that are nominally harwood, such as tulip poplar, that don't have much lignin, provide a heavy smoke well below 400, and not much above. A poor choice for smoking.

    If the wood is damp, and is making both smoke and steam while cooking the meat at just about steam temperature, the smoke and water vapor will likely form creosote. And, the damp wood may just smoulder below 400, and produce even more nasty flavors.

    If you have a cooker that has poor air flow control, and wicks moisture toward the outer shell, the chips need to be wet to not burst into flame after a short time. The Egg has great air flow control, and holds most moisture.

    No need to soak.
  • egganatoregganator Posts: 18
    Being an old boat mechanic I have a moisture meter that measures moisture to certain depths in wood. I have soaked wood chucks for 24 hours and there is no noticable moisture intrusion into the wood. I soaked to 36 hours and split the chunk and no difference in moisture content while checking the inside split and a chunk that was not soaked. Thin cut chips will absorb 1/2 their weight in moisture so I do soak them.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 19,374
    I am NOT a soaker - however the only time I will soak chips (doesn't apply to chunks) is when my fire has gotten way over temp and I really need to get it down in a short period of time. Layering on a heavy blanket of say 3 hand fulls of wet chips will bring the inferno down shortly. This must be done with some care though and give that wet blanket at least 5 to 7 minutes to do the trick.
    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
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