To soak or not to soak

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Original poster
Oct 10, 2013
Niceville Florida
What's the deal. Do I need to soak my hickory chips or not? Is there a taste difference from dry to wet chips. I like a heavy smoked taste on my meats is hickory the best or do you all have a preference . Thanks

bama bbq

Master of the Pit
Sep 24, 2011
Rocket City (Huntsville) AL
Though I don't use chips (I use chunks), some soak some don't.  I prefer apple, peach, plum, cherry, etc on poultry and pork.  Oak on beef.  But if you like heavy smoke hickory will do it.  Also, for heavy smoke add more chips throughout the cook.


RIP. Gone but never forgotten.
OTBS Member
Mule knows his stuff, I think pretty much the general consenus is not to soak. That depending upon your smoker type, the only reason I can attribute soaking to is to allow the smoker to start comming up to temperature before releasing smoke. The smoke absorption sweet spot is supposedly 100 to 140 IT (internal temperature). Yes it still takes smoke above and below but at a dimninished rate.

Since most electric smokers have a small chip capacity so they don't ruin the meat oversmoking (all at once), they try to allow the meat a head start before the smoke.

I don't know thats why, but its the only dang reason I know because all the smokers I have seen recommend 'em soaked.

I don't soak either.


Aug 27, 2013
New Orleans
If wood soaked up water, it would sink. Boats float, right? What little water that stays with chips creates steam, the smoke comes when they're dry. I prefer chunks anyway, Personally, I think chips are just marketing.

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