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Can You Use Wood Chips In Weber Smokey Mountain? (Explained)

Can You Use Wood Chips In Weber Smokey Mountain? (Explained)

Weber Smokey Mountain Wood Chips or Chunks

You are standing in front of your Weber Smokey Mountain grill. You’ve got the best cut of meat you could find, you’ve selected your preferred charcoal, and you are ready to get smoking. However, you want to get a real, authentic barbecue experience. You want wood smoke. What is the best way to do that on the Smokey Mountain?

When smoking on a grill such as the Smokey Mountain, you have two major options for adding wood smoke and flavor to your cook. You have wood chips and wood chunks. Wood chips are small bits of wood that come in various types, such as wood, cherry, and hickory. They are easy to add at any point of a cook for a quick burst of wood smoke. Wood chunks are larger pieces of wood and come in the same types of wood as wood chips.


Why use wood chips in a Weber Smokey Mountain

Wood chips are easy to use and versatile. You can use them if you are grilling on the Smokey Mountain to add a burst of wood smoke to your cook. You can also use them to help add flavor to your longer smoke as well. You also can mix flavors by using chips from different bags. Apple and hickory are always a good combination for pork.


Why use wood chunks on a Weber Smokey Mountain

Wood chunks are great for a longer cook. They burn slowly and therefore will add wood smoke to your cook for a prolonged amount of time. If you are going for a 12-14 hour long cook, wood chunks can be quite handy.


Can you use wood chips in a Weber Smokey Mountain?

Absolutely! Adding wood smoke to your cook on the Smokey Mountain is a great idea and wood chips are an easy way to do that.


Adding wood chips to the Weber Smokey Mountain

The great thing about the Smokey Mountain is how easy it is to add wood chips at any point during your cooking process. When you are originally lighting your fire, you can add chips to your unlit charcoal to periodically add wood smoke to the cook.

Weber also made adding wood to the Smokey Mountain during the cook easy. You open the charcoal door and put a handful in when desired.


Should you soak wood chips for use in your Weber Smokey Mountain or not

One of the biggest debates surrounding wood chips is whether to soak them before putting them in the Smokey Mountain or not. Some see soaking the chips as a way of extending how long they burn since wood chips do burn more quickly than chunks.

So should you soak your wood chips before adding them to your Smokey Mountain?

Weber Smokey Mountain wood chips price

Wood chips do tend to be affordable options for adding wood smoke and flavor to your cooks. For instance, homedepot.com has 192 cubic inch bags of Weber wood chips for 3.99 a bag as of September 2021. You can pick up a bag of apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, pecan, or any combination of bags.


Weber Smokey Mountain wood chips problems

Nothing in life is perfect. That includes using wood chips for barbecuing. While they are a good way of introducing smoke and flavor to whatever meat you have on your Smokey Mountain, you do have to keep an eye out for some common problems.

Keeping the wood chips dry

There is plenty of evidence that suggests keeping your wood chips dry when adding them to your Smokey Mountain. Meathead Goldwyn of amazingribs.com has a fantastic breakdown of the myth of soaking wood chips here. There are two major points that he makes here. The first is that adding wet wood can affect the temperature of your cook. When you are smoking meat, you need a consistent temperature for the best results. Adding soaking wet wood chips to hot coals will cool those coals down, which affects your ability to control the temperature. The second point is that you do not see smoke when the soaked wood first gets hot. Instead, you see steam from the water boiling off. This prevents actual smoke from being produced until the water is gone. If the temperature of the wood is only at the boiling point of water, there is no smoke being produced.

Soaking the wood chips

Funny enough, Meathead used the delayed ignition of soaked chips to his advantage. He sometimes puts both dry wood and wet wood in pans to create smoke in both the short-term and long-term. However, common practice is to not soak wood chips if they are used with charcoal.

Too much white smoke

When you first light charcoal or wood, you get billowing white smoke. If your fire only produces that kind of smoke, it can add bitter flavors to your meat. It can also be a sign that your fire is not hot enough. It can also be a by-product of using soaked wood chips. Another reason to use dry chips!

Burns too quickly

This is one of the main arguments against using wood chips in a Smokey Mountain. Wood chips do burn faster than wood chunks. However, maintaining the proper temperature can help keep the wood chips smoldering to prolong their burn.

Temperature spikes

Wood chips can ignite fast, so there is always a potential for a temperature spike. However, if you spread the chips out throughout the charcoal, that should minimize the potential for flare-ups. As always, keep an eye on your dampers and your thermometer.

Bitter Taste and no smoke flavor

The bitter taste comes from the white billowing smoke that occurs when the wood first ignites. If large amounts of wood chips ignite and cause white smoke, you will only get a bitter taste and none of the wood smoke flavor that you are looking for. When you first light your fire, wait until the smoker reaches the proper temperature for your cook. The white smoke should change to the thin, blue smoke that every pitmaster is looking for.