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Chunks or Chips

BluedotBluedot Posts: 82
edited 11:49PM in EggHead Forum
What works better, wood chips or wood chunks?



  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    Chunks and dry
  • Depends on what you are doing. If you want a quick short burst of smoke, chips are good. For long term smoking over a period of hours, chunks are good. However, you can also mix chips in with your lump for a long cook. Spread them evenly throughout the charcoal so they will smoke all cook long. Good luck!
    The Naked Whiz
  • CBBQCBBQ Posts: 610
    I take a few things into consideration. The first is the type of meat you are cooking and how much smoke flavor you want. Poultry and seafood can easily be overpowered by the smoke so I tend to use chips. On slow cooks like ribs and butts I use chunks. On a high temp cooks like steaks I also use chunks because chips just evaporate. The other thing is that some woods like hickory and mesquite are much stronger in their flavor than woods like cherry or apple.
    Just experiment until you get the flavor combinations you want.
  • use whatever you can get your hands on. if you want long smoke, and can place the chunk just right (so the fire doesn't grow away from it), chunks are a good option.

    but you can get long periods of smoke with chips by including them in the lump all the way up and down in the middle. most times the fire doesn't move horizontally, it goes downward. as long as there are chips there, you'll have smoke. they don't burn any fast than chunks, but because they are smaller they don't last as long.

    you don't need to soak either, because they can't burst into flame and simply burn up, not at 'smoking' temps, anyway. maybe when searing.

    there's some thinking that soaking wood lowers the temperature at which it burns (since the lump that's burning it is 1000 or more degrees). the idea is that if the wood can be held to burn at 450-600 (or so), the sugars in the wood produce better flavor than if they are burnt at much higher temps. think the difference between browning sugar (caramel) and burning it (black crap).

    i dunno whether that holds true or not, but seems plausible

    i just throw in a fist full of whatever i have (chips, chunks, branches, twigs). if it's wood, it's good
    Keep in mind if you use chips and sperad them throughout your lump, on you next cook you are going to again have smoke in that cook. Some times that won't be a problem and other times you may not want the smoke in the cook or may want that flavor of wood.

    If you only have chips, you can always take a large handful wrap semi tightly in aluminum foil, use a fork and punch holes in the foil pouch and place it in the lump - or several pouches. I have also put water in the pouches to get a later smoke.

    There are a lot of ways to accomplish most any task on the egg.

  • The temperature thing related to soaking chunks comes direct from Harold McGee. You don't need to do that with a low and slow fire, but you should if you are using chunks with a hot fire.
    The Naked Whiz
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