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Old 10-14-2011, 09:19 PM   #1
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ISO feedback re: smoking with wood

I'm interested in others' experiences with smoking woods on the grill. I've used chips and I've used chunks. I've read articles on soaking each, and how you should/shouldn't. I've read up on direct heat for the wood, and less direct heat for the wood. My experiences:

A hot fire (350+F) on the grill will lead to harsh acrid smoke and will lead to bitter food, rather I soak the wood or not.

Chips give you quick smoke and lots of it. They burn out quickly and need replenished often.

Chunks seem to smoke longer, but they seem to need to sit directly on the coals--leading to harsh, acrid smoke.

I know it's not necessary, but I usually make a foil packet and soak the wood for at least half an hour before throwing it on the grill. I believe the foil helps the wood smolder and not ignite. I also believe that the soak prevents high temperatures, even if for just a few minutes. Every little bit helps.

Anyone else have this down to a science, or have other experiences they'd like to share?

What's the best way to burn wood in a smoker/on the grill


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Old 10-14-2011, 11:28 PM   #2
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I think it's all a matter of personal taste and experience. When bbq'ing a steak, I like a lot of mesquite smoke to waft up because of the short cooking time. Smaller chips will produce more smoke than chunks, but burn up quickly, so I add more during grilling.

Has anyone heard of Woodbridge Grill? I came across it while shopping at a drug store. They have an online site to buy them.
The tins are nicely painted and the little smoker box you use is seated at the top of the tin. Just a very cool idea, one I wish I'd thought of.

Woodbridge Grill Get Smokin'

EDIT: It seems the link at the site to buy isn't working. I'm emailing the company to see if they are still in business.
I will post back here when/if I get a reply from the maker.

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Old 10-15-2011, 02:51 AM   #3
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Failed email delivery to the Woodbridge guy about his product. I guess he didn't sell enough to keep it in biz. A real too bad.
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Old 10-15-2011, 03:09 AM   #4
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I chopped down 3 ancient and non productive fruit trees a couple of years ago. The trunks and thick branches were used in the living room fire. I use most of the rest for smoke, I soak the pieces in water.
Ps I cannot discern any different taste between apple, cherry and pear wood.
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:36 AM   #5
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I use chips, not soaked, wrapped in a foil packet, not too loose not too tight, with just a few small slits poked in the foil so they smolder and don't catch on fire. That works setting directly on the coals of my WSM smoker and also setting directly over a lit burner, on the flame deflector, on my gas grill. I control the amount of smoke I want by how many packets I use. Usually two packets with two handfuls of chips in each work well for 3-4 hours.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:09 AM   #6
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Choose the form factor of the wood based on the cooking setup. Here's my .02

Wood chips are best for high temperature direct heat grilling....steaks, hamburgers, etc. Always in combination with another fuel. Cooking times are short and the quick burning/smoke are needed.

Small chunks or knots are best used in an indirect smoking arrangement...food on the right, fuel on the left. Smaller size allows easy management of the pile of coals. Mix 50/50 with lump charcoal. Longer burn times. Slower smoke for a longer period of time.

Split firewood (logs) primary heat source for a side box smoker setup. Very long burn time. Most commonly used in big smokers. 30 briskets anyone?

Your mileage may vary. Most of my smoking is done with wood pellets on a Traeger these days. Much easier.

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Old 10-15-2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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If you're using wood chunks for smoke you need to keep them from flaming. You want them to 'smolder' when placed on top or mixed with charcoal (assuming you're not using a gas grill). Are you able to adjust your intake vents on your grill? What type of grill are you using?

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