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Do you soak your wood chips?

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Comments

  • jgduscjgdusc Posts: 22

    Hi my name is Jason,  I used to soak my chips.........Its been 93 days since my last soak.

     

    But I now know not to.  Thanks to the power of the internet.

     

     

    L-)
    2 LBGE, 1 SBGE, Stoker Wifi, White Thermapen, Igrill---Gilbert SC
  • GBCGBC Posts: 58
    I read somewhere that if you didn't soak hickory you would get a bitter taste.  Is that not true?
  • RLeeperRLeeper Posts: 476
    Thanks for the information that was pertinent. I will not soak my chips on cooks. Fred wuss has never been closely associated with me and never will. The comment has no relevance and frankly doesn't make sense. I was attempting to have a intellectual conversation and you didn't allow that to happen with your remarks. Thanks again to all wo may have disagreed but stated it in a different manner.
    Extra Large, Large, and Mini. Tucker, GA
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,231
    GBC said:
    I read somewhere that if you didn't soak hickory you would get a bitter taste.  Is that not true?
    You can find a "right answer" to any question on the interwebs. Every wood can cause a bitter taste. Hickory, Mesquite, and Oak are some of the stronger woods; less is needed to get the desired effect. Bitterness comes from oversmoking(too many chunks/chips) or bad smoke(lots of VOC's. The wood is on fire and that fire is relatively cool, so a ton of creosote is released.). Typically, the bitterness comes from bad smoke. Ideally, smoke should be thin and blue or clear and smell like you want to eat it. If it smells like a brush fire, it will taste like that. Once you add wood, the VOC's need to burn off before adding food to the egg. Right away, the smoke looks white, billowy and pours out when you open the dome. It looks cool, but it is what you need to avoid in such an efficient environment as the Egg. Unless a fire is very hot, most wood will not readily ignite, due to the surface area relative to mass. A piece of paper will burn up in seconds from a match. Try doing that will a split log for a fireplace. This same principle applies to chips vs chunks. Chips have much greater surface area than chunks, relative to their mass. They are at higher risk of flaring up. 

    Where people sometimes get stuck is this scenario: You set out to smoke pork butt to make BBQ. Add lump, light, add plate setter and chips, stabilize. You see the smoke pouring and then add the meat. A couple of hours later, you don't see any smoke, thinking "uh oh, I'm not smoking the meat without any smoke!". You open the dome, crane your neck to see around the plate setter, and then toss in some more chips onto the areas of coals that are now glowing red. There now. More smoke is pouring out. Repeat this process in a couple of hours and then over and over again while you smoke the butt at 225 for 12-14 hours. It pulls great but tastes like burning leaves.

    Mixing the chips into the lump helps because not all catch at once and they will start smoldering throughout the cook as the fire moves around the fire box.

    Soaking the chips can be helpful because they prevent them from immediately flaring. This is a big issue in cookers such as gassers or inefficient metal grills. Since they are wet, they will create steam, which helps add moisture for a short time. This also lowers the temp of the surrounding fire, because it will not rise above 212 degrees until all the water is gone. At this point, the lid is shut and the airflow is restricted, so the fire will cause the chips to smolder.

    Chunks follow the same principle. Add them to the lump and mix in, then light. Or- light, stabilize, then mix in the chunks. You will get a burst of white, thick smoke and then it will calm down and clear out as they begin to smolder. They will not flare up since the have a smaller surface area to mass ratio.They might catch fire, but this will die off after the airflow is restricted with the closing of the dome. You can soak them, but you don't have to. Water will only penetrate by a few mm into the wood, no matter how long you soak them. This will just cause them to steam until the water has completely vaporized. At this point, they will start to smolder and smoke. Throw a wet piece of wood into a fire place. It doesn't smolder, but it hisses and sizzles as steam pours off. This same thing happens in the Egg. The benefit of steam is not realized in the Egg like it is in a non-insulated cooker because it is so efficient and hold in the moisture. Next time you smoke something, look at the inside of the dome when you do a temp check. It will be covered in moisture. Or, put your hand over the vent and feel the wet air escaping while closed.

    Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to give you some of the info that I have researched.
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,231
    RLeeper said:
    Thanks for the information that was pertinent. I will not soak my chips on cooks. Fred wuss has never been closely associated with me and never will. The comment has no relevance and frankly doesn't make sense. I was attempting to have a intellectual conversation and you didn't allow that to happen with your remarks. Thanks again to all wo may have disagreed but stated it in a different manner.
    I wouldn't worry too much about Fred's comments. Your initial comment was a little tongue in cheek and I think his response was too. Remember: Fred's humor is from the stone-age and he drives a car with his feet. That would make me edgy too.  ;)
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 10,863
    every time....nope, just kidding.  Never.  But I do soak cedar planks.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    No City.

  • I do. It's just what I've always done. It works for me.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • JRWhiteeJRWhitee Posts: 1,683
    I used to when I first got the egg and once read you don't need to soak them. I stopped years ago and could never tell a difference. The Brisket I cooked for Super Bowl I put in a couple hand fulls of Jack Daniels chips and pecan chips mixed in the initial start and never added any more, after 18 hours I had a real nice smoke ring and great flavor. See my Super Brisket post and the piece of Brisket on the super bowl plate for the smoke ring.
                                                                        
    _________________________________________________

    Large BGE 2006, Small BGE 2014, Adjustable Rig R&B, PSWoo3, Thermapen.
    Weber Gasser for the Wife. 
    Founding Member of the Green Man Group cooking team.
    Johns Creek, Georgia
  • RLeeperRLeeper Posts: 476
    Points well taken Eggcelsior
    Extra Large, Large, and Mini. Tucker, GA
  • every time....nope, just kidding.  Never.  But I do soak cedar planks.
    Yeah - but this is coming from a guy who drowns chickens in a vacuum sealed plastic bag.....
    Agree on the cedar - only I use shakes, the bumpy hand split side up, gives the fish texture.
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
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