Natural wood chips add a rich smokey flavor to elevate your favorite ingredients. If you cook using a dedicated smoker or a grill with a smoker box, soaking your wood chips will control both the amount of smoke and the burn time.
If you’re just getting started with smoked flavors for outdoor cooking, you’ve probably asked: how long do you soak wood chips?
Let’s take a look at why you should soak your wood chips and the best steps to follow.
The Benefits of Soaking Wood Chips for Your Grill or Smoker
Before we answer the question, how long do you soak wood chips, we need to understand the reason why.
When you cook with smoke, it’s important to allow as much time as possible for the flavors to integrate with your ingredients.
If the wood chips are bone dry, they will ignite and burn up relatively quickly. If you soak the chips first, they’ll smolder as the water evaporates, allowing longer for the food to absorb all of the amazing flavors.
There’s also economic value in smoking your chips. Because they’ll burn slower, you’ll be able to use fewer chips in a cooking session.
How Long Should You Soak Wood Chips?
Now to answer the question. How long do you smoke wood chips? Some grilling enthusiasts soak their wood chips for just 10 to 20 minutes before cooking.
This is ideal if you’re adding chips to a smoker box like the Weber Stainless Steel Smoker Box, where you’ll be cooking your food relatively quickly. This will provide good flavor and a controlled burn.
If you want to smoke your food over a few hours, then you’ll need the moisture content of the wood chips to be higher. Soaking wood chips for up to 8 hours is ideal for longer cooking sessions.
What are the Best Wood Chips to Buy?
It can take some experimentation to find a smoke flavor that works for your favorite red meat, poultry, fish, and other ingredients. It’s best to start with a variety pack.
The Western Wood Smoking Chip Pack contains six varieties for you to try:
- Apple is perfect for Pork with a delicate fruity flavor.
- Cherry is sweet and fruity and is a favorite for poultry.
- Pecan is a nutty wood that is perfect for chicken and game birds.
- Post Oak works best with dark cuts like beef.
- Hickory is a versatile classic used for pork and beef.
- Mesquite has a strong smoky flavor that works well with chicken.
When you soak your wood chips for at least ten minutes before cooking, you’ll get better results with more flavor. Try using wood chips and create your best gourmet meals yet.