Soaking Wood?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by atticus, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. atticus

    atticus Newbie

    Should I be soaking my wood before I use it in the smoker? I have a GOSM and I use the bags of Mesquite or Hickory that you get at Lowes or Home Depot. The back of the bag said to soak the wood in water for more smoke. Is this a good idea?
  2. figjam

    figjam Meat Mopper

    Seems like most do not soak their wood chunks, but a few will soak wood chips so that they do not burn up too quickly.
  3. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    seems like this subject should be made a sticky somewhere........cause this subject sure does get debated alot.........

    soaked wood just steams till the water is gone, then smolders

    use a chip box or a cut down coffee can.......or even doubled wrapped in al. foil with some holes poked in it........then you don't have to worry bout chips or chunks catching fire.........the wood just smolders.......werks great
  4. cubguy17

    cubguy17 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    So if you use a wood chip box you don't need to soak the wood? I always have but if you don't need to then I'll kick that step.
  5. I like the wood chunks they sell pretty much everywhere. I soak them at least 24 hrs before I smoke, to keep the flare ups down. I just set about 2 or 3 chunks on the outside of the charcoal pan to smolder. It produces a good constent smoke for me, hope this helps out!

    Brinkmann Vertical Wood / Charcoal Smoker
  6. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Look at this subject this way: Whatever you do to the wood, the object is THIN BLUE SMOKE.

    I have come to the conclusion, as many others have, that you almost don't want to see anything coming out of the smoker, but smell it. White smoke- which BTW, contains a good portion of steam- is not what you want due to it's high concentrations of volatile chemicals and tars.

    If you preburn your chunks, there will not be enough of the volatile components left in it to support much flame. OR produce the dreaded white smoke.

    Draw what conclusion you will, but I don't add moisture to wood beyond what the atmosphere provides naturally.
  7. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I never soak my chips.... When I am using my smoke box on my gas grill I will pour a little water on the chips in the box, but that is just to stop them from flaring up and burning my food above it.... But in the smoker I just pour the chips into the chip pan and let them go.

  8. packplantpath

    packplantpath Smoking Fanatic

    I agree with Richtee. I've noticed my best smokes lately were the ones where visible smoke coming out of the stack was kept to a minimum. Like, less than 30 minutes total time. Just my opinion. The meat has a nice mild smokey flavor, but is never bitter or oversmoked.
  9. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you soak your wood (and I only use chunks) you just have to wait for it to dry out before it lights and produces smoke.
    What's the point??????
    Think about it.
  10. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've always soaked mine and am not changing now.
  11. minn.bill

    minn.bill Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    i dont soak mine .i find if you do it takes way to long to get them smoking. i actually cover my cast iron chip pan with foil and just puncture a couple holes in it .seems to not allow the chips to burn but just lets them smolder.[​IMG]
  12. So the one time i have smoked (newbie here), i lit charcoal, not wood charcoal, but briquettes and let them flame out and then added 1 hour pre-soaked wood chunks. From reading this thread, I see soaking them may not be ideal, and it sounds like the aluminum foil with holes is the way to go. I have an offset smoker attached to my grill (where i put the food). Would i still use charcoal briquettes and then put the foil wrapped chunks on top? How long would i want to wait before adding food? And would i want to leave the cover off until i am ready to add the food? Lots of questions i have, i know..thanks in advance :D.
  13. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are using chunks, you can add them directly to the coals. They can be wet or dry, it's an argument older then dirt. Both ways work.

    If you are going to use chips instead of chunks, then the foil pouch would be a good idea.

    As soon as you smell or see the smoke, add your food.

    leaving the cover off is just going to let the temperature drop. Hope you are using a good thermometer to maintain a 225 - 250 degree temp for your smoker.
  14. fritz

    fritz Meat Mopper

    Wow, you did it now!! I use an LP GOSM and never soak the chips. The reason is because I have a cover for the chip box and never have a problem with flare ups. I think that soaking is a waste of time with the GOSM. Stick burners may be different?
  15. neens

    neens Smoke Blower

    First I would say to use lump charcoal in place of briquettes. With lump your not getting all the fillers and what not they put into briquettes. Second I always just put the dry chunks right on top of the coals with out wrapping them in anything as long as your temp is down around where it should be the wood should smoke just fine. Also you should have your smoker up to temp before adding the wood chunks. and as Ron said the food goes on as soon as smoke is noticeable.
  16. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Stick burners preburn the wood. They get a big ole bed of coals and may add a split of fresh now and again...but usually preburned coals. That's the heat and most of the smoke.
  17. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I a soaker a toker & a midnite smoker-works for me.

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