I have seen this question pop up in several threads. I have read what these guys think, and to be honest, I really don't think it matters. Even if you soak prior to smoking the heat is going to evaporate all the moisture out of the wood and then it will start to smolder. Personally, I have always soaked in apple juice with maybe a touch of bourbon but after my last smoke I have come to the realization that it isn't really changing anything. I keep a juice/water/sometimes bourbon mix in my water pan so whatever flavor (if any) is added by soaking you will get the same results when the water pan starts to evaporate. I think the real secret is knowing how much wood to add to keep a nice thin blue smoke, you don't want to load down the wood pan because it can make the smoke flavor overwhelming. Hope this helps, maybe some of these guys that know what they are talking about can clarify.