I have 4 recommendations
1. Use smaller pieces of wood, 1"HX1W"X3"long and use 10 of them, placed on the charcoal.
2. Get a different bag of hickory chunks and see if they work better, you may have wet wood.
3. Cook at a higher temperature, too low and the wood, especially a dense wood like hickory, will not stay lit(especially if it is wet).
4. So stop stressing, already. Life is too short and it's only BBQ.
Hi, From my cub scout days I remember needing three things for a fire, fuel air and heat. I'm with others who have suggested smaller chunks of wood. Your not generating enough heat to consume the wood chunks. The wood is smoldering as long as lit charcoal is close enough to keep it hot. Wood needs more heat to burn than charcoal. Smaller chunks of wood get to burning temp faster.