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Couple of general smoking questions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

I'm new to the forum and fairly new to smoking meat although I've dabbled a bit over the years. I just purchased a new 30" Masterbuilt electric smoker and am really excited to start using it. I'm about to do the original seasoning and have three questions about the wood. First, in the past I always used wood chunks for smoking versus wood chips. From what I have seen, pretty much everyone uses chips.Is that the way to go or does it matter. Related to that, for grilling, I have always soaked the wood chips or chunks in water for a few hours before using them. I'm not clear on if the chips are to be soaked using the electric smoker.


Finally, for the most part I have always used hickory for red meat. I've read and heard that hickory leaves a more bitter aftertaste than other woods such as pecan or cherry. Any advice on which works best?


Thanks and I am really looking forward to learning and becoming a successful smoker.....



post #2 of 7

This thing about wood chips and chunks should or shouldn't be soaked in water will never end. 


Basically if you soak them they don't absorb much water...Do wood boats absorb water?

Putting them in water puts off steam until it's dry enough to ignite...NO don't soak them.


The secret to wood chips and chunks is controlling oxygen, limiting  and controlling oxygen will prevent them from going up in flames and keep them smoldering...bottom line. 

post #3 of 7

With regards to what wood to use, using too much of any wood will leave bitterness. Smoke is a seasoning and you can't take back smoke only add more.  Hickory is a fine all around smoking wood but must be used in moderation. 

post #4 of 7

  Hi Jeff and welcome. When you get a chance, stop by roll call and introduce yourself!  Meantime, congrats on the new smoker!  In electric smokers most of us use dry wood chips or the AMNPS for smoke. Do a search for AMNPS. It is sold by one of our members.

  As for wood flavors, it is a personal preference. I like hickory or pecan mixed with apple most of the time. Stronger woods for darker meats is usually a good thing.  Happy smoking!



post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for such a quick response and great input. I'm ready to get started and I'll post my successes (and failures....). I'll also follow Mike's suggestion to introduce myself in Roll Call...



post #6 of 7

Al good info. Play with your fuel some, I've seen chips do nothing but smolder and give bitter taste. The chunks will light and with proper air control, will give a nice Blue Smoke. The lighter or thinner and the Bluer the smoke the milder the taste of it on the meat, i.e. - no Creosote.


As stated, soaking willonly cause the smolderin, as the chips are wet and can only heat-up and give off the Toxins in the wood instead of consuming them as in actively glowing Chunks. Just sayin'.


Have fun and as always . . .

post #7 of 7

jsk, try to look at smoke as a seasoning, there are many different kinds and they have different uses.  Experience will be your best teacher and keep good notes.


Maybe the following links will help.






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