Using BBQ Wood Chips or Chunks for Extra Flavor
One of the great things about using a charcoal barbecue is that
great smoky flavor that gets infused into the food. BBQ wood
chips and chunks (or pellets) can add even more flavor to your foods.
Many types of wood chips and chunk for smokers are available, and
depending on the type of you choose, you can easily add different
flavors to barbecued meat.
Of all the BBQ tips available,
figuring out which wood chips work best with what types of meat
is one of the best ... just for the simple reason that it adds
even more tastiness to the food!
- Alder wood chips or chunks
are the ideal choice for
fish, although it also goes well with chicken or other poultry.
It gives a light, sweet flavor that goes especially well with
BBQ salmon recipes.
- Apple wood chips and chunks
also have a sweet flavor.
It tastes and smells fruity, too, and is a good choice for salmon
and other types of fatty fish, and delicious on pork. Also good
for beef and chicken on the grill. We don't normally use apple
wood chips on their own, but mix it with some other type (usually
alder, when we barbecue salmon. Very tasty!).
- Cherry wood chips and chunks
give a mild, sweet flavor and
are especially good with beef or pork, or for mixing with other
types of wood chips.
- Hickory wood chunks and chips
give a strong, bold
smoky flavor and is best used lightly until you know just how
strong a flavor you like! Use it for beef, pork, and poultry.
- Maple wood chips and chunks
are mild with a touch of
sweetness. Good for mixing with other types of wood chips with
- Mesquite wood chunks and chips
give the strongest,
smokiest flavor. Again, use lightly until you know just how
much smoky flavor you like. Best with beef. We usually mix
other, fruity type of wood chips into the mesquite so that
it's not quite so strong. A little goes a long way!
- Oak wood chips and chunks
are a good bet for nearly
any type of meat. Very popular.
- Pecan wood chips and chunks
are delicious for chicken
(and other poultry) and fish, but also good on nearly any type
of meat. Similar to hickory but not as strong.
Okay, now maybe we don't need to say this, but we will anyways:
don't go out and pick up a piece of scrap wood, chop it up, and
throw it in your barbecue. The wood you use should be just that,
wood, without any weird chemicals, nails, glue, or any
other strange (and inedible) stuff.
How to Use Wood Chips and Chunks
- Soak the chips or chunks in water for an hour or two prior to
use. Wet wood produces a lot of smoke, which is exactly what we
- Before using, drain the chips (you don't want them dripping
wet). If you don't want to use all of them at once, cover the
remaining wood chips with a damp towel for later.
- Start light - use only a handful or two of chips at
first until you know just how much flavor it gives, and how
much you like.
- Read the directions for your barbecue - they all work differently.
You might want to get a smoker box
for your BBQ to make it easier.
With the Big Green Egg, the
cooker we use, we just dump the soaked wood chips along the edges of
- Heat your barbecue to a nice, hot temperature to get the
wood chips / chunks smokingly nicely. Then you can reduce the
temperature to whatever temp you want to cook at.
- Keep the lid closed on your BBQ. This will keep all that good
smoke trapped inside, so that it can circulate and permeate your food
with those wonderful flavors.
- Smoking foods at lower temperatures for longer times helps to
give it a premium smoky flavor.
- Periodically check your wood chips... if they're all used up
or no longer smoking, you can add more moist chips.
- If you end up with leftover chips or chunks you didn't use,
you can let them dry out and then re-soak them again later when
you need them.
BBQ wood chips and chunks are one of the easiest ways
to add great flavor to your grilled and barbecued meats. Experiment
with different types of chips and different mixtures... that's part
of the fun of barbecuing!
. We barbecue with a charcoal grill
in an outdoor kamado-style cooker called
We love food and we love the grill, and hope you enjoy our recipes!