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When to starting cooking after dropping in wood chunks?

GaprofittGaprofitt Posts: 9
edited April 2012 in EggHead Forum
Hi All,

When grilling with the BGE do I start cooking immediately
after putting the wood chunks in or do I wait until they burn down




  • BarManBeanBarManBean Posts: 129
    Similar to lump you should let the VOCs burn off from the wood.  Let them smolder until the smoke coming out of the egg smells like something you would eat :)  (20-30 min should do it)
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,424
    Mix the chips or chunks with the lump before lighting. As above, wait till smoke smells good. It will be "blue" as opposed to "white," and will be quite thin, if not almost invisible.

    If you are grilling, in the strict sense of the term, with a high heat direct fire, wood chips, or even chunks, can be a negative. If the dome is open for awhile when the temp is 400, the wood will burst into flame, and the gasses from that can impart a not-so-good flavor. Open and close the dome quickly, which will also limit grease flare-ups. Some lump has a portion of wood that has not been turned to charcoal, and will produce enough smoke flavor to be noticable without adding extra wood.
  • balliardiballiardi Posts: 59
    If you wait 20-30 mins won't they all be burnt out by then? I'm thinking of the chip form of smoking wood, not the chunks
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,736
    i let the bad lump smells burn off, maybe give chunks a few minutes. chunks i use for low and slows and im not too particular with chunks giving off a bad taste in a long cook, i dont think it matters with long cooks. chips go in, on goes food. pellets i add even during the cook, sometimes chips as well
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,734
    I just take the mapp torch to the exposed chunks to carbon them up a bit


    Caledon, ON


  • tgklemantgkleman Posts: 216
    A follow up question with the wood chunks/chips:

    Anybody soak the chunks in water to before putting them on?  Or do you just do this for the wood chips?  Or completely unnecessary?
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 12,128

    I saved the following from Stike which I found quite a while ago-good info on chips and chunks-

    Originally posted by Stike a while ago-<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    “frankly, wood is wood. i use chips, chunks, barked, no bark, etc.

    chips and chunks don't do anything better than the other, unless you use one like you'd use the other. meaning, use chips like chips and chunks like chunks. people win contests with either, so it doesn't affect the food. you just gotta use them "corrrectly". In the BGE chips can be mixed throughout the lump to maximize smoke during a lo and slo. your fire crawls around, so you want chips where the fire will be. you won't use up all the chips because the fire won't use up all the lump. don't screw with wet chips. in a ggasser, you wet chips to keep them from burning outright, and flaming. they can't do that in the egg. you can have a raging fire, and toss in wood, and it WILL NOT CATCH FIRE as long as the lid is shut and the airflow is dialed in. open the lid, and the wood WILL burst in to flame. shut it, and it goes out. it WILL smoke though. and that's what you want.

    chunks are fine too. you strategically put them around the lump, and maybe push one into your fire right at the start, just to make sure.

    put in as many chips/chunks as you want. smoke flavor is added as long as there is smoke. that means, if you had a butt going 20 hours, and the smoke only showed up for the last hour, it'll still smell like (and taste like) smoke. it's the smoke RING that only forms in the first hour or so. and the smoke ring is color, not flavor. so don't worry about when smoke kicks in. if you like a lot, add a lot of chips or chunks.

    chunks vs. chips is the same as "ford vs. chevy". much ado about nothing.

    oh, as for high temp cooks. i like to toss a couple chips in sometimes when a steak is finishing. did it last night, actually. and again, no worry about flames. i tossed the wood in, shut the lid, and got some decent smoke. only when the lid was opened did it catch fire. i flipped the steak, then shut the dome, and the chips went out. that's nice to know. flames are actually bad for steak. they look pretty, but flamed is less desirable than direct heat from the lump. flame isn't as hot, either.

    whew. lotta typing.
    but this is something that comes up a lot....”


    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood.
  • MikeP624MikeP624 Posts: 292

    I have always soaked my wood chunks (and chips), but only because that is what i did on my older smoker.  Need a more experienced BGE user to answer this.


  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited April 2012
    no need to soak.  soaking is done to delay or slow burning, right? well, in a gasser or other smoker, there's a lot of oxygen.  a little flame, a little wood, and a little oxygen mean they burn up quickly.

    egg is pretty much airtight.  when your temp is fixed, with a stable fire, it means that the fire is being limited by the lower vent.  and so all the available oxygen is being consumed by the lump.  if there was any extra oxygen, the fire would grow.  so a stable fire means the oxygen is fully consumed, and there's therefore no extra oxygen available to ignite the wood.  just as the rest of the charcoal doesn't ignite, neither does the wood.  jam the wood down into the coals and they still won't burst into flame.  it'll smolder.

    i burn whatever i have, for this reason.  a like amount of chunks or chips or twigs is pretty much all the same, to me. none of them 'burn up' faster than the others in my experience
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • CowdogsCowdogs Posts: 491
    edited April 2012

    I soak them, and there may be one good reason to do so.
    In order to get a big handful of wood into the egg correctly, you often have to remove the food & grids.  Soaking the chips gives you about 60-90 seconds to get the food and thermometers back into the egg before the wood catches fire.
    Yes, the fire goes out quickly when you close the egg,  But I don't think the smoke you get from snuffing out flaming wood is the type of smoke we are looking to cook with.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    all my wood is in the egg before the meat is.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 12,128
    I use chips since I have quite a supply left over from failed water-gasser days (wife believes in over-stocking when a "deal" presents itself ^:)^ ) and I disperse throught the lump load.  I unscientifically equate a good hand-full to about a chunk when loading.  Figure on the low&slows I will always have some smoke wood wherever the fire travels.  Seems to work just fine but no experience with chunks-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you and me both, luosubcap.  that's my method.  a chunk may burn longer than a chip, but only because it's bigger.  i just use as much as i need of whatever i have on hand, and mix it into the lump
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • CowdogsCowdogs Posts: 491
    edited April 2012
    all my wood is in the egg before the meat is.

    I do that too, and I don't soak those. 
    Some recipes like burnt ends call for a second round of smoking, and these chips get added many hours after the fire is lit.  I add fresh chips to the existing fire in this case.
    Also, for chicken pieces and wings I like a light quick burst of smoke.  A handful of chips when the chicken goes on is better than lacing a whole bowl of lump with chips.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i ad stuff all the time while it's cooking.  steaks, chicken... sometimes just want to give it s hot of smoke.  i'll open the lid and toss them into the coals, and even if it ignites, it always goes right out when the lid is shut.  it's like chicken, never flares up unless the dome is open.  one of the benefits of an airtight egg.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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