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Using chips and chunks

MerlinEggerMerlinEgger Posts: 58
edited 6:51PM in EggHead Forum
I'm a relatively new egger and haven't really gotten the good out of the smoking aspects. Could some of you pros expound on the virtues of chips versus chunks, when to add them, how much, etc. I really appreciate the info you guys share and how you go out of the way to help.


  • JSlotJSlot Posts: 1,218
    I think the consensus you will find is that chunks are better than chips. Well, maybe not better, but used by more folks. No soaking is required. I switched from chips to chunks ages ago. I just put 3-5 fist size chunks around the top of my charcoal and it works great.[p]Jim
  • JSlot,
    i second your commotion. .. when i do lo and slo's i put in some big chunks as well, spaced around the fire box so that they burn at different times. . i've even used foot long branches of things like apple or pear when i have it. . .[p]for shorter cooks, like roasts or steaks, i'll either use a single big chunk right in the middle of the firebox, or like i said in the post below, a good handful of chips spread throughout the firebox. . .[p]one thing i usually don't do, and only cause i'm lazy, is soak the wood first. . .that's just me. ..

  • BamabobBamabob Posts: 246
    I'm relatively new myself, but I have opted for the wood chunks and have had great results. Besides the convenience of just placing a few large dry chunks in the lump, I think I get a more sustained smoke for a longer period of time than I would from the chips, soaked or otherwise. After a cook, I often find that the wood chunks are charred, but not completely reduced to ashes, which tells me I've had the benefit of smoke throughout the cook.[p]If you search the subject you'll find information that says meat only absorbs smoke up to a certain temp, but I like the idea and smell of wood smoke as long as I'm cooking. You might get a greater concentration of smoke for a short time by using chips, but it only takes a little smoke to get a good flavor in whatever you cook.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i use both. whatever's on hand.
    regardless of which i use, i spread them throughout as i build the fire.[p]putting three chunks on top has occasionally left me smokeless as the fire travels elsewhere. during a lo and slo, the fire is very small and wanders. you may find that chunks spaced around in a few spots might not do the trick.[p]placing a chunk right on the fire ensures smoke during the early part of the cook, and some will tell you that the smoke stops having any effect on the meat once the meat temp is 140 or so.[p]i have the best luck, and longest, most consistent smoke, when i add small pieces (bigger than chips, smaller than chunks, let's call them lump-sized) of wood evenly throughout the fire box as i build the fire in layers.[p]tho the smoke might not be adding much at hour 24 of a lo and slo, there's something to be said for seeing it (and smelling it) as it comes out the daisywheel during the whole cook.[p]soaking doesn't make sense to me.
    it needs to be totally dried before it smokes anyway.
    and as the water boils off, you are steaming the meat, aintcha?[p]small bits of dry wood mixed liberally throughout the lump always gives me great smoke, nearly constant thru the cook, too.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • MerlinEgger,
    I use chips and soak them in water first. I have never tried chunks because I can find more variety with chips than chunks. I have only seen hickory or mesquite in chunks and I tend to like the fruit wood chips like apple and cherry. I also like the Jack Daniel chips mentioned in a post below. [p]As for using chips, soaking in water for about 15-20 minutes does the trick. I start soaking the chips and then start setting up the BGE for lighting. About the time the fire is ready, so are the chips. I generally use about 1-2 handfuls for my large BGE and spread them around the coals at the start of the cook and I usually do not add any more during the rest of the cook.[p]But as for Chip vs. Chunks. Use what you got, try this and that, and do not be afraid to experiment. I do not think there is a right and a wrong way. I rarely cook the same way everytime. I think that is part of the fun of BGE cooking is trying different things. [p]Smoke 'n Things

  • chucklschuckls Posts: 399
    MerlinEgger,[p]I'm on the no-soak chunk side of the fence. [p]What I do a little different is use a wood chisel to break up the "fist size" chunks into "thumb size" chunks. I then have the same amount of wood as contained in a chunk to spread around the coals. I find that I get more smoke generated earlier this way, but it lasts longer than chips, and I don't end up with wasted "fist size" chunks that are only half burned by the end of the cook[p]Chuck
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