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Wood chunks vs. chips?

I'm sure this has been discussed ad naseum but I'm wondering what the pros and cons of chunks vs. chips are?

I've only ever used chips as my first experiences with smoking came on an electric smokehouse using chips.

Is there a reason to switch to chunks? If so, why?

Part of my hesitation with chunks is that I feel like they would flare and cause a large flame during a low and slow cook.


  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,778
    Here's a great discussion by one of the elders:

    Wood Chips and BGE

    Originally posted by Stike a while ago-

    “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....”

    The above may help you out.
    BTW-welcome aboard and enjoy the journey!
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • KennyLeeKennyLee Posts: 783
    Chips burn off quicker.  Sometimes I might use them to get a little smoke on hot and fast cooks, but always use chunks on low and slows.


    Cedar table w/granite top

    Ceramic Grillworks two-tier swing rack

    Perpetual cooler of ice-cold beer

  • ribmasterribmaster Posts: 209

    I started with soaked chips and now use chunks only. It is so much easier and just as effective.

    I grill therefore I am.....not hungy.
  • onedbguruonedbguru Posts: 1,552
    wood is wood and wood burns differently from other wood. Use what you have or what you can find.
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,007
    onedbguru said:
    wood is wood and wood burns differently from other wood.
    umm... what? 

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 16,940
    It's totally a personal preference. For low & slow I prefer chunks when they are available only because they will burn and smolder longer than chips.
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
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