To soak or not to soak

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by dougbennett, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. dougbennett

    dougbennett Smoke Blower

    The various Web sites I've seen seem to offer conflicting advice on whether to soak your wood or not. One school of theought says you want smoke, not steam, hence dry wood chips

    What's the experts' consensus here?
  2. smokin for life

    smokin for life Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I'm almost afraid to answer this, I'm far from an expert but I do pretty good smoking meat. I don't soak my wood, but it some times flares up. So I'll take some aluminum foil and cover the wood box. Then poke some holes in it for the smoke to get out. I always thought about the steam factor also.
  3. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Are you talking about chips, chunks,? Usually soaking can be used to slow down the burn rate, steam is usually provided by your water pan. Pretty much a user's call. BTW, I do not consider myself an expert on anything, but I do like a challenge.
  4. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I used to soak all of my wood, but from what I have picked up here and after lengthy testing, I find no purpose is soaking chunks or sticks. Others have mentioned, and I now agree, that the water doesn't really soak deep enough into the larger cuts of wood, so once the outer stuff flashes off, you have a dry piece of wood anyhow.

    However, if I do chips, which is rare, I soak them, mix in some dry chips and put them in a foil bag.
  5. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Pretty much the same for me........used to be a soaker but kind of evolved from it. Generally I don't see a need for it, but I could understand where in certain types of smokers it MIGHT help.........BTW the only thing I consider myself to be an expert in is running my mouth. [​IMG]
  6. squeezy

    squeezy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My opinion .... we use wood to make smoke ... water does not make smoke ... period!

    A few small holes will let the smoke out and keep air out which eliminates the possibility of flame. That is how charcoal is made.
  7. shellbellc

    shellbellc Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK let me enter my opinion. I stopped soaking my chunks a while back. I noticed that I all but lost any appearance of a smoke ring, even though I would still have a nice smokey flavor. A thread was started back a month or so ago with a smoke ring dialogue in which it stated that lack of humidity in a smoker will deter a smoke ring (basically). My electric smoker doesn't have a water pan so there would be virtually no humidity in that box. Next time I use it, I will be soaking my chunks or chips what ever I use that day to see if it creates a better smoke ring...
  8. brennan

    brennan Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I don't soak my chuncks for the same reason as geek had mentioned, they don't soak up enough water. I set them dry directly on the coals and when they get going good I'll set em off to the side of the coals to prevent flare ups. I use a water pan to keep humidity up and also to help regulate temps.
  9. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try it both ways and see what you like. I have had better luck soaking them then not, it adds a little steam but then if you are using a water pan you are getting moisture in your smoker from the water evaporating.

    As in so many other things, there is no perfect answer.
  10. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you soak your smoking wood (chips/chunks) it just takes longer for it to light and produce smoke. There is no point in soaking it.
  11. deer meat

    deer meat Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    If I use chunks or chips I do not soak.

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