Can I use a smoker box on charcoal?

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Senior Cook
May 15, 2020
Prior Lake
Not sure if I made a mistake but I was excited and bought a smoker box to use when grilling. Then I realized I don't have a propane grill, only charcoal. All the information I can find tells me that you can only use wood chip smoker boxes on gas (you soak the wood, put it in the box, then slap it on the grill and wait until smoke pours out of your grill). . .is this true? Could I just put the smoker box over the lit charcoal to get a BBQ flavor, (or do I need to grill with only wood, no charcoal on a charcoal grill)? Or is this a fruitless idea, as wood on a charcoal grill will impart both charcoal and whatever wood flavors you try to use, and so charcoal would overpower the hickory/oak/etc.?

I'm new to grilling and have little to no idea here, so I love any help!!
You would put it on the grid?
If so, I figure you can use it as long as you wait for the fire to have cooled down somewhat.
Or, use charcoal on half the grill and put the smoker box on the empty side. This is a good way to use a charcoal grill anyway esp in case of fatty meats and flare up's.

On the other hand, you could just use wood pieces straight on the charcoal for a similar effect.
I would soak my wood chips. Wait for charcoal to ash up, then throw the drained chips right on the charcoal. Worked fine for me. Some people put the soaked and drained chips in foil packets with holes poked in them right on the coals.
Like Badjak said, you can mix wood chunks directly with charcoal and get better results, than with chips in a box. I've been doing it for 20-something years.

As for soaking wood, you can do that, if you don't mind bad tasting food. It seems to be popular. You are just going to make the wood burn inefficiently, giving you thick, nasty, white smoke. Good smoke should be smelled, but barely seen. BBQ enthusiasts call it "thin blue smoke," because it is hard to see, and has a very slight blue tint.

I think I could preach that until the cows come home, but I'm just wasting my time. As long as I don't have to eat your BBQ, go ahead and use waterlogged wood chips. You will know it is wet enough when it smells like wet dog.

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Yeah, you don't soak chips or chunks. It just makes nasty smoke that makes your food taste bad. I wouldn't even bother with the chips, just get chunks and use those.
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