Wood Chips: To soak or not to soak.....

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by pne123, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. pne123

    pne123 Meat Mopper

    I have come full circle on this. I used to soak my chips then realized that it should not matter. Once the little bit of moisture that soaked into the wood steamed out they would be in the same condition, dry. I stopped soaking the chips (i use a gas GOSM) and started to get flash fires in my chips. So I am going to go back to soaking and this why. I believe that soaking creates a buffer zone when you are getting your smoker to temp. I usually turn it up to get the smoke rolling and the temp right then turn it down when I add the meat. The elevated temp also helps to hit the desired temp after you open the door and add a big piece of cold meat. Even if I am wrong and soaking does not stop flare ups (does not add smoke either) it certainly does not hurt so might as well go for it. W/ that said I am not soaking the additional chips I add thru out the smoking process since my temp is set and I already have smoldering chips to start the new batch.

    I may be full of it but it does seem to work for me but when i am lazy or in a hurry I do not soak them. You can smell the difference when you have FIRE and I just pour some beer on it and shut the door. all is good with beer.

    beer+smoke+laptop+wireless=rambling posts.......I smell fire!
  2. desert smokin

    desert smokin Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I had a problem with flash fires in my smoke pan on my GOSM. Turns out I punched some air holes in the bottom and there was appparently too much air. Covered the pan bottom with aluminium foil and haven't had a flash fire since. I put my wood in a bread pan. But then, I put sand in my water pan. Go figure.
  3. pne123

    pne123 Meat Mopper

    the flare ups are usually after i put the meat on. the wood get the oxygen in needs for fire after I open the door. I think the wet chips gets me past this stage of me not paying attention to what i am doing.
  4. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I soak both chunks and chips for a few days. Then I take them out of the water and put them in Ziplock bags and freeze them. I always have smoking wood on hand this way, and if I forget to soak before a smoke they are ready in the freezer. I do this for all my smokers; charcoal, propane and electric. Call me anal but I do like loading frozen chips much better in to the MEC wood tray than wet ones. all the chips slide right out when I dump it. Currently I have apple, hickory, mesquite, etc soaked, labeled and frozen in the freezer.....
  5. gypsyseagod

    gypsyseagod Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    lol mossy... have ya ever pulledout a bag of say mesquite thinking it was leftover pulled pork w/ the best bark ya ever seen ? [​IMG]
  6. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    LOL !!! not yet.....

    If I have no presoaked chips or chunks and the smoker is ready; Put your bowl of water and wood in the microwave and nuke it on high for 5 minutes.
  7. kew_el_steve

    kew_el_steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I always soak for about 15-20 minutes before going in the pan on my GOSM. Avoids flare-ups and temp spikes. Put it in for an hour. After an hour move it to the back half of the wood pan and put in another batch. After another hour take out the wood that's been in there for two hours, move the hour old to the rear and put in a new batch: so hour old in back new in front.

    To manage wood (I use small chunks), spritz meat, and top off water pan takes about two minutes and coming back up to temp takes another 2-3.
  8. smoke.eater

    smoke.eater Fire Starter

    Speakin of doin stuff to wood chips for the smoker. I ( for the first time i smoked anything a couple weeks ago in a GOSM) used a 50/50 split of soaked chips and dry ...saw some guy on the food channel do that...seemed to work pretty good but now I have a question for you veterans.
    Do I replenish the smoke box after the chips turn to a white ash or before that when they are black and charcoal looking and don't seem to be producing smoke.
    It seems that when the smoke stops issuing from every seam of the smoker, that its time to dump out the blackened chips and add new ones.
    But I'm wondering if this is the phase when the legendary "thin blue smoke" is produced???

  9. minn.bill

    minn.bill Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I allways cover my cast iron chip pan with tin foil with pencil size holes in it .never seems to flare up with dry chips. seams like when i soake them they take to long to burn.
  10. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    Hmmmmmmm have you tried cunks instead of chips?

    Mossy what does nuking chips do?
  11. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have always soaked my chunks of wood. Anybody using chips, which can ignite too easily should soak those also. IMHO, it will allow the wood to last longer before burning up.
    pritch likes this.
  12. crewdawg52

    crewdawg52 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Get them hot???????[​IMG]

    I just throw then on the fire, no soaking.
  13. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It may just be my imagination, but I think wood chips nuked in water makes the wood chips soak up water quicker.....
  14. starsfaninco

    starsfaninco Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    should try it in a vac sealer then :)
  15. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you are going to soak, soak them in wine........get a little more flavor going.
  16. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    ihave found to use some kind of container to hold the chips......i was going to try to use foil, but worried bout the foil melting......i have had fires THAT hot......melted my al. pizza pan i was using to hold the charchol up from the bottom to allow better air flow...........i use the cast iron smoke box i bought for my gas grill..........but now am going to try using a coffee can instead......quicker to produce smoke...........

  17. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I almost get the feeling I am following you from topic to topic. LOL

    If you want to get them smoking quicker give them a quick hit with a torch.............don't just hold there starting a fire, but a little blast gets the party started quicker. I do that quite a bit when I am smoking off the hotplate.
  18. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member


    kewl.......good idea, thankx

  19. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    But won't that make the wine taste funny?[​IMG]
  20. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    ROTFFLMFAO..........good one placebo..........but dont they add tannin to wine........and doen'st tannin also come from wood ash?


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