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Old 11-23-2004, 12:44 PM   #1
Senior Cook
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
Posts: 104
Another Smoking question

Although this will apply to a turkey (honey brined) it's really a generic smoking Q. I'm wondering what the thoughts are WRT soaked vs. dry chunks of wood for smoking.

I've personally found that chips are good for stuff like fish which won't be in there long because they start smoking fast but also burn up fast, but the chunks work better for longer stuff because there's less tending involved & therefore a shorter cook time.

Now, as to the chunk soaking, I guess I just don't get it - it seems to me that the chunk cannot smoke until it dries out, or at least the outside dries out. The drying will cause the environment in the smoker to become more humid (don't know if that's good or bad).

What I end up doing is taking half of the chunks and soaking them and when I start up I put in half dry, half wet chunks and some dry chips - my madness being that the chips will start smoking first because they're dry, the dry chunks next and finally the wet chunks when they've dried out. I then replenish with that same mixture each time I can't see the smoke anymore.

What do you guys do?


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Old 11-23-2004, 12:56 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NC
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We use chunks about the size of your fist, we don't soak the wood.

Wood chips you probably need to smoke because they burn up too quickly.

We only apply smoke for the first few hours (time is dependent on what your smoking) i.e. butts take longer than turkeys, briskets take longer than butts.

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Old 11-23-2004, 05:43 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Soaking the chunks and chips in water moderates the smoking. Sometimes, if you don't do that, you end up with a fire instead of smoking wood. It really depends on your smoker and what temperature it operates at. The hotter it is, the more important it is to soak the wood in water.
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Old 11-29-2004, 07:57 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Wet vs. Dry Wood

Howdy, Beerco -

I'm a relative newbie to smoking myself, but I don't think you need to worry about the small quantities of humidity that the water content of water-soaked wood chips would contribute. Which type of smoker do you use?

I use a cylindrical "water smoker", which suspends a water bowl above the charcoal bowl - the simmering liquid moderates the cooking temps, and humidifies the chamber, and different spices- and beverages can be used to "flavor" the "steam".

I'll have to defer to other, more-experienced hands on when to add the wood for the best smoking effect.
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Old 12-01-2004, 01:59 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
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not too shabby

Well, the turkeys came out well. A buddy conned me into smoking one for him and it turned out to be a learning experience - his cought fire!

I had never used a drip pan because I didn't seem to need one. His turkey was awfully fat and the drippings soaked into the wood and then cought fire. The turkey ended up looking terrible but tasted fine.

I smoked mine the next day, used a drip pan and it turned out great. Super juicy. Turns out I didn't need a drip pan for my bird as it was almost empty when I yanked it.

I let it go to 160 but apperently I didn't have the probe stuck in far enough because the dark meat was a little under cooked - nothing a few minutes in the oven couldn't fix though.

Oh, I use an old sportsman smoker vertical cylinder type of smoker with an electric element.
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