1

votes

Wood chips for my meat smoker...sources? Preferences?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 21, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I received a meat smoker from my inlaws as a Christmas and birthday present rolled into one. I'm really excited to use this bad boy, but being a total meat smoking newb I have no idea where to start with finding some wood chips. We've seen everything from run of the mill smoker chips sold at Lowe's, to Jack Daniel's oak barrels chopped into smoker chips (at Sears), to "guaranteed chemical free" chips sold online at high markup.

I want to smoke naturally raised/pastured meats that even my special needs/digestive issues daughter can eat with no harm done. What is a good source of "healthy-to-use" chips that we can use to slow smoke roasts, bacon, and hams?

Edited to add: This is my smoker - http://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-Generation-Electric-Smokehouse-Controller/dp/B003XJGEGY/ - note that it specifically calls for wood chips.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 23, 2013
at 02:42 PM

I've never used an electric smoker before and cannot comment on them. I just do not understand how chips will produce enough smoke to change the flavor of dense meats. Let us know how it goes!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on January 22, 2013
at 12:59 AM

See above, I added the link to the smoker I own.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 21, 2013
at 08:13 PM

What smoker did you get? I have never heard of a smoker that specifically calls for chips. Chips burn quick and fast and create virtually no smoke and cannot sustain the heat at a consistent temperature. Fine for a gas grill where you thoroughly soak them first and the gas is cooking (or steaming) the meat -- terrible for a smoker.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 21, 2013
at 06:56 PM

I fire my barrel smoker with dried stovewood size pieces. It's interesting that hickory and pecan work so well, because they're related to walnut, usually condemned as a smoker wood. Having neither of these available to me I've been using a mix of hazelnut and apple.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 21, 2013
at 03:16 PM

You should probably list what kinda smoker you got then. Does it just say use chips or does it say "no chunks or this smoker will explode" in all caps and bright red letter?

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on January 21, 2013
at 02:22 PM

Our smoker's instructions specifically call for chips and not chunks...thanks for the tip on the apple wood!

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4 Answers

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 21, 2013
at 03:21 PM

The only real rule is to use hard wood from fruit or nut bearing treas only. I like a mix of hickory and some fruit wood (usually apple, pear, or cherry as I get those from my yard). No difference in toxic residue that should be problematic for a special needs child between any of these. Just stick to the first rule and you should be fine.

1
2cf1d61bce7124e2363e5f79faa23158

on January 21, 2013
at 03:15 PM

Love using Pecan, it depends on the flavor you are looking for as well, everyone has their preference. Apple is my second favorite. Chunks are definitely the way to go in a smoker, or logs if its a huge smoker. Experiment with it and have fun!

Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 21, 2013
at 06:56 PM

I fire my barrel smoker with dried stovewood size pieces. It's interesting that hickory and pecan work so well, because they're related to walnut, usually condemned as a smoker wood. Having neither of these available to me I've been using a mix of hazelnut and apple.

1
Ae47dfd2d09c887193a6feb709925a0f

on January 21, 2013
at 02:43 PM

I smoke all the time. CD is right...for a smoker, you want to use chunks. The chips will just flare up and burn right away. I like to use apple, pecan, and cherry. I've never had an issue buying the bags from Lowe's...but I prefer to go on Craigslist and find someone selling small logs for firewood. Then I just take them home and cut them up on my radial saw. There is a ton of information on the Virtual Weber Bullet webiste...just google it. Even if you don't have the Weber Smokey Mountain smoker, there is still lots of useful information there.

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 21, 2013
at 02:00 PM

First, chips are for smoke boxes (the kind that go on gas grills). For a smoker you wank chunks or logs.

Second, I only use apple wood. There is an apple orchard not far from my house that sells logs which I cut to the right size.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on January 21, 2013
at 02:22 PM

Our smoker's instructions specifically call for chips and not chunks...thanks for the tip on the apple wood!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 21, 2013
at 08:13 PM

What smoker did you get? I have never heard of a smoker that specifically calls for chips. Chips burn quick and fast and create virtually no smoke and cannot sustain the heat at a consistent temperature. Fine for a gas grill where you thoroughly soak them first and the gas is cooking (or steaming) the meat -- terrible for a smoker.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 21, 2013
at 03:16 PM

You should probably list what kinda smoker you got then. Does it just say use chips or does it say "no chunks or this smoker will explode" in all caps and bright red letter?

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on January 22, 2013
at 12:59 AM

See above, I added the link to the smoker I own.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on January 23, 2013
at 02:42 PM

I've never used an electric smoker before and cannot comment on them. I just do not understand how chips will produce enough smoke to change the flavor of dense meats. Let us know how it goes!

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