If you’re a grilling and smoking enthusiast, and you’re wondering if you should opt for smoking chips or chunks, you’ve come to just the right place.
The dilemma you are in is quite common, but don’t fret; we have got you covered.
Wood chips and chunks both have their set of advantages, and we can argue that they are similar, but it is true that one of them has the upper hand and will be sure to give you the results you desire.
The facts are that wood chunks for smoking offer users a far more superior experience than smoking chips. This is because wood chips are thinner and have a very limited burn time.
On the other hand, wood chunks will be sure to stand the test of time, thus releasing maximum flavor into your food and giving you a wholesome experience. Let’s now deep-dive into the topic to know more.
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What Are Wood Chips?
Wood chips are small pieces of wood, and using them while grilling your food is a guaranteed way to take your meal to the next level.
Whether you wish to add a hint of smoke to grilled fish or spice up your veggies, wood chips are a delicious and environmentally friendly option to go for. They add a sweet punch of flavor to every inch of the food you are cooking and will be sure to elevate your dish to the next level.
There are also different varieties of wood chips that give different flavors when they release smoke on the grill, as they come from a variety of hardwood trees.
There are ones that give the food a more Texan and earthy flavor, while others will appeal more to fruit lovers.
Additionally, there is also a variety that gives the meat and veggies on the grill a nutty flavor, which is to die for.
The only down-side to using wood chips is that it does not have a very long life on the grill, and this is where wood chunks come into the picture.
What Are Wood Chunks?
Wood chunks are hand-cut pieces of wood that usually measure 1 to 4 inches. They are designed especially for the purpose of grilling and smoking.
They are used to release flavorful smoke that is absorbed by the meat or veggies you are cooking.
There are a variety of these chunks available in the market, and they are bound to have different flavor profiles. For instance, there are a few chunks that release a hint of bacon flavor.
If that idea does not sound appealing to you, there are also wood chunks that are more on the tropical side. When added to the grill, they will be sure to give your food a fruit-like zest.
These wood chunks are guaranteed to give your food a delicious punch like never before. If you’re looking for a top-notch and one-of-a-kind experience, wood chunks are the way to go.
The Difference Between Wood Chips & Wood Chunks
Wood chips and chunks are procured from the same hardwood trees and are both used to smoke meat and veggies. What makes them stand out from one another is their size; this makes it easy to distinguish between the two.
Wood chips measure only about 1 or 2 inches, while wood chunks measure about 4 inches.
Although wood chips and chunks come from the same source, this does not mean they have the same proficiency when it comes to smoking. That’s where the same differences arise.
Wood chunks often tend to give better smoking results merely because they burn for longer, given their size and shape. This helps them release more smoke, which indirectly means more flavor into the food you are grilling.
They are so powerful that you will need to use only about 3 of them while cooking. This is not to say that wood chips are completely useless.
However, they quickly turn to ash and will not give you the overall smoky experience that you desire.
When To Use Wood Chunks
As we’ve covered earlier, wood chunks are bound to last longer, owing to their size and shape.
This automatically gives it the upper edge over wood chips, as it burns longer and thus releases more flavorful smoke into the meat on the grill.
If you’re considering cooking a brisket, you definitely know it is a tedious and long process.
For a cook like this, it is essential to use wood chunks, as they have a longer life on the grill and will be sure to give you the desired outcome.
Using wood chips at a time like this will be unfavorable, as it will turn to ash halfway through your cook. If you wish to grill meat and add an interesting depth of flavor to it, then using wood chunks is the way to go.
Additionally, if you are running low on charcoal, wood chunks are a great substitute, and they act as a great source of heat and also flavor.
When To Use Wood Chips
As you already know by now, wood chips have a shorter grill life as compared to wood chunks. Hence, it makes the most sense for one to use wood chips when grilling for a short period of time.
If you wish to add an element of smoky texture to your steak, fish or chicken, using wood chips is the way to go. These meats do not take too long to cook, and the wood chips will be able to do them justice.
You can also use wood chips to smoke veggies on the grill, as it will be sure to add a delicious depth of flavor to the dish. Although wood chips burn out easily, they do a great job while they last.
However, one must ensure they take out the food from the grill before the chips turn to ash and have a negative impact on the food.
Should I Soak Wood Chunks for Smoking?
This is one of the most argued about points among grill lovers, and we are here to set the record straight once and for all. No, you are not required to soak wood chunks in water before you add them to your grill.
Several chefs and experts choose to soak the chunks because they believe the process will lead to more production of heat and will cause the chunks to last longer.
However, soaked chunks could possibly smother the charcoal you plan to cook on due to the moisture it contains.
Additionally, soaked wood chunks do not release more smoke; this is a myth, as the smoke one may often see is the evaporation of the water, which appears to be smoke, but is merely steam.
Not only is the process of soaking the wood chunks time-consuming, but it is also ineffective and does not lend to the process of cooking. So, avoid soaking the wood chunks, save time and have an exceptional and delicious cook.
Choosing The Right Wood Chunks: Things One Should Know
To gain the most out of the wood chunks, you must make sure you use the right type. It is essential to steer clear of chunks that have high moisture content and only opt for ones that have been kiln-dried.
This process ensures that you get the wood that has been baked inside a drying kiln.
This ensures that all the moisture from the chunks has been removed, thus allowing them to produce the best flavor quicker and more efficiently.
It is also essential to take into account the type of tree from which the chunks are being procured.
For instance, you could opt for the white oak wood chunks that are versatile in nature and give all meats and veggies a rich smoky flavor.
There are also cherry and pecan flavors you could opt for, depending on the flavor profile you wish to pick. Several companies sell wood chunks that are kiln-dried and have a wide variety of flavors to choose from.
Once you are sure of the path you want your meal to take, the options are endless. Some wood chunks available in the market will give your food a hint of whisky flavor and beacon flavor too. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
Now that you know all there is to know about grilling and smoking with wood chips and chunks, there’s not much left to do.
All you have to do is make a decision based on the above-mentioned detailed articles that you have read. Once you do that, you are all set to fire up your grill and prepare one of the most delicious meals of your life.