Chips versus chunks

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by r2 builders, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. r2 builders

    r2 builders Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    It looks like from what I have read in the forum that I probably need fo switch from chips to chunks, but what do I do with all the chips I have?
    Can I get some advice on this? BTW Masterbuilt 30" propane smoker two door. I have added gaskets on the doors and have ordered a needle valve kit.

    Thanks all!
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    When I smoked with a propane rig I used a mix of chips and chunks. Chips smoke faster and don't last as long. Smaller chunks start smoking before the chips stop, but carry the smoke a bit longer. Medium chunks will bring up the rear on your longer smokes (brisket, pork shoulder)...they take a while to get going but are bringing on the smoke before the smaller chunks give it up.

    Keep your chips around and keep using them for getting your smoke started, and for short smokes such as chicken wings, legs, thighs, breasts, and pork chops and steaks...any of the smaller items that smoke fast.

  3. r2 builders

    r2 builders Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Eric for the guidance.
    Should I continue to soak the chips?
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    No need to soak in a Gasser. They won't start smoking until they dry out anyway. Soaking is one of those unnecessary carry over things that Dad did, but Dad was throwing handfuls of chips on a pile of screaming hot Charcoal. Not using these new fangled gas and electric smokers...JJ
  5. r2 builders

    r2 builders Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Smoking a whole chicken today.
    Switching from chips to chunks.
    I didn't brine just made a rub.
    I am interested in how it will out.
    Thanks for the tips JJ.
  6. r2 builders

    r2 builders Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    That should have been "turn out"
  7. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the group!  How did that chicken turn out?

  8. r2 builders

    r2 builders Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    The chicken came out awesome.
    No brine no injection just a coating of garlic oil and a light rub.
    Very moist.
    Just smidgen to much smoke but I know how to manage that next time.
    I read many posts in the forum that got me in the right direction.
    Thanks to all.
    mike5051 and terryd like this.
  9. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Nice job on that chicken! [​IMG]   It's easy to get chicken "too smokey"   

  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Lookin' pretty tasty from my view-finder!!!

    You say it was a bit heavy on smoke flavor. That can be due to either the wood species, or as you probably suspect, to long of exposure to smoke. Apple with hickory or apple alone is a milder, sweeter smoke that works well for birds. The hickory is a bit sharper up front with a sweeter background, while apple is pretty smooth...the combination is a good overall balance. Apple by itself is fairly forgiving with whole birds, barring a heavy white smoke for an hour or more. Cherry is a heavier smoke with a sweet background. Mesquite, even if you like it with beef brisket or pork shoulder, may be pushing the's a very heavy, earthy flavor and aroma...not a good choice for birds, IMHO. Those being the more commonly available smoke woods from the chain-vendors and home centers is why I mentioned, not knowing what you have available.

    Sometimes all it takes is just removing the smoke wood after 75 minutes or so on a 3 hours bird run and you're golden.

    If you need some good info on wood species and what they're a good match for, this is a pretty solid lists woods that are safe for smoking, as many that aren't:

    Woods For Smoking

    Keep on smokin'!!!

  11. r2 builders

    r2 builders Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Hey Eric,
    I did use apple chunks with a few mesquite chips to help the chunks along at the beginning.
    I think next time I am going to wait putting the poultry on till I am closer to TBS I think that will get me to where I want smoke wise.
    All input is greatly appreciated.
  12. r2 builders

    r2 builders Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    BTW, I am using a Masterbuilt 30" two door propane smoker with 2 mods.
    Nomex gasket material on the doors and a 8" cast iron pan for the chunks.
    Toss the supplied chip pan.
    Adding a needle valve soon.
  13. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    When I still used my Smoke Vault 24" gasser sometimes I would crank the flame on high and leave the door open until the smoke was rolling. Then close the door and dial the flame back to low and get ready to load the food. After 5-10 minutes the smoke would diminish a bit, but keep coming. It takes a while to get those cast iron trays/pans heated up and then transfer enough heat to the smoke wood to make it happy, especially chunks. That's where a blend of chips and chunks comes in handy.

    Yeah, mesquite can be a harsh smoke for poultry...a little bit goes a long way...I've found that for our tastes it needs to be used sparingly even with brisket or pork shoulder.

    If you have a heavier white smoke rolling from the start don't get too concerned. I think the time in the smoke is more important for can go overboard on smoke. One smaller chunk may be plenty, or, remove the smoke wood after an hour or so and see if that flavor is better. Also, make sure your exhaust vent is open. I rarely ever partially closed my exhaust vent on a propane smoker. IF the smoke isn't moving through the smoke chamber it gets stale and will eventually create creosote which is deposited on the food and everything else in the smoker.

  14. r2 builders

    r2 builders Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    So what I did was to add less than a handful of mesquite chips and 3 chunks of apple. Got some white smoke for awhile which I think made my bird a little smokier than I like.
    Next time I am going with a few apple chunks only no mesquite.
    Once the initial white smoke is gone and I have TBS that's when my bird is going in. I am operating with the exhaust vent fully open.
    I was having some difficulty maintaining temperature.
    Any ideas on that one?
  15. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah, I don't think you'll need to worry about the smoke using apple for birds. Mesquite is a bit harsh.

    Depending on ambient conditions, propane smokers can at times have some wide temp swings. Wind and precipitation are your worst enemies, in that order. Protect your smoker from the wind above all else, then rain/snow. I'd suggest just setting your temp with the smoker empty, get the smoke rolling, drop in your food, close the door and walk away. If you want to check chamber temps, that's fine, but don't adjust after putting food into the smoker because cold food pulls a lot of heat from the smoke chamber until it starts heating up, too. You chamber temps will drop during this time period, then recover. Wind gusts will zap some heat from it, and then it come back. Rain or snow will constantly draw heat from the cabinet and require a bump in flame to keep things going reasonably steady.

    To aid in temperature stabilization regarding peaks and valleys, thermal mass added to the water pan helps. The use of water will reduce temp spikes by limiting the high temp potential of the smoker. Water vapor cools it's surroundings and then higher the heat input the higher the evaporation rate. Once the water starts boiling you won't get the smoke chamber temp much hotter until the water pan boils dry. That's when a huge temp spike will occur unless you're there to make adjustments. Using water does make low & slow smoking temp control easier, but it does have it's trade-offs, and higher temp smoking requires enormous amounts of heat output and water consumption. If you lose the water your temps will run much higher with lower BTU output.

    I'm an advocate of of dropping the water, or at least using very little, so that your smoke chamber runs at lower humidity during the last 1/2 of hot smoking...I like the resulting textures and interior moisture retention in the meat...that's just me.

  16. [​IMG]   Good morning and welcome to the forum, from a nice day here in East Texas, and the best site on the web. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything.


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