Use Wood Chips To Get The Perfect Smoky Flavor.
Too many of the pro grillers, barbecuing is like a sport. In all honesty, it really is. There are plenty of BBQ competitions that go on in different parts of the world when the weather permits. It’s honestly something to be mastered by those who seek to be the very best that they can be when it comes to grilling.
The reason grilling is considered a sport for many is because there are so many different aspects when it comes to doing so. You have your fire control, wood flavors, sauces, rub recipes, times, and cooking temperatures. All of these factors have just as much of an importance as the other when it comes to grilling.
The sources are also something that you have to take into consideration when grilling. Your sources of heat will come from gas, charcoal, electricity, or wood. All of these sources make a difference in how your food turns out.
Once you have mastered grilling by coming up with your own combination of grill methods, recipes, and grill times, you are sure to be the true grill master according to your family members and friends. Be forewarned though that people will always want to come over or have you come over for some of your famous BBQ.
When it comes to getting the perfect smoky flavor when you grill, there is no way to achieve it without the use of wood chips. In fact, there are many different types of wood chips that you can choose from to get that perfect smoky flavor.
First, you will want to choose from the 3 different sizes of smoking wood:
- Wood chips
The good news is that these wood chips aren’t at all hard to find. You can find them at your local hardware and department store, or you can shop for them online. You may find wood flavors online that you can’t find in stores.
Let’s concentrate on just one type of wood and how you can use it when smoking your BBQ.
What size should you use?
The size of wood chips you should use really depends on how long you want to smoke your food. If you will be smoking food items such as fish, chicken, or steak, then you will want to use smaller pieces of wood. Smaller pieces ignite quicker, but they also burn out faster, and these type of meats don’t need to smoke for as long as other types.
For long and slow processes of grilling certain meats like ribs, pork butt, and brisket, then you will need to make use of chunk sized wood which is about the size of your fist. These pieces of wood will actually last for hours in your smoker, ensuring that your meat is thoroughly smoked.
For offset smokers and pits, you need to be prepared to use logs. Logs are going to obviously be the fuller sized pieces of wood that are suitable for larger spaces used for cooking. The smoke produced by the logs also creates the right amount of heat for cooking your food.
So the size used for smoking is a factor that definitely matters, and as you read along you will learn more about smoking with the use of wood chips.
Should Wood Chips be Soaked or Left Dry?
When discussing whether wood chips need to be soaked or not prior to using them for smoking, there has always been a back and forward the debate.
The reason that many people soak their chips before using them, is because they burn out quickly. In this case, soaking them will slow down the process of them burning out. Water pretty much needs to evaporate before the wood can fully ignite, which would be at about 356 degrees F. So soaking chips will delay the start of the smoking process.
With this process of soaking slowing down the smoking of your food, it’s not really the best idea to soak it. However, people do it all the time so it really depends on your personal preferences.
If you are new to smoking, you might want to first experiment, and see what you like best. Trial and error is the best way to find out what will work for you in the long run.
Reducing the Oxygen to Avoid Wood Burning
When you smoke wood it naturally reaches temperatures between 570-750 degrees Celcius. This also really depends on the type of wood you are using.
There are so many compounds involved when it comes to smoking. These compounds all allow us to be able to get the desired flavor that we want in our food. The group of compounds used when smoking include Phenol and other related compounds that create antioxidants slowly allow bacteria to grow in animal fat. Burning wood you will produce mostly heat with a little bit of smoke. So in order to reduce the flame, you will need to lower the oxygen level. This will, in turn, allow more smoke to be produced.
A good method used for the restriction of oxygen while you are smoking your meats is with the use of a metal smoker box. You can use either a wire mesh bag or a smoker pouch.
Many people simply make their own smoking pouches with the use of aluminum foil, so there is no need to go out and buy the metal box.
Making Your Smoking Pouch
All you’ll need to do to make your smoking pouch is to take a handful of your choice of wood chips. Wrap your pouch nice and tight so that the wood chips don’t fall out. Now after you have it all wrapped up nice and neatly like a birthday present, you will poke holes all throughout the foil wrap to allow air in and smoke to come out. The purpose of the foil is to restrict the oxygen, and it turns this will turn the wood into charcoal while the max amount of smoke is produced.
By placing the pouch on top of the fire with the wood chips inside of it, the wood will last longer, and you will also use less wood this way.
Experimenting with Different Wood Types
Wood chips that you can purchase online or in stores come from various different types of trees. You can experiment and learn more about what types of wood pair well with certain types of meats. Less wood is actually better when you are choosing from wood strengths that range from medium to strong. Try not to choose flavors that are too strong because it can easily overpower the meat with smoked flavor.
One thing that you need to keep in mind when you are cooking on the low and slow settings is that more wood chips need to be added throughout the cooking. If you will be cooking for 4 hours or more, you don’t need to smoke the entire time that you cooking. Smoking for 20 minutes should be good enough, but it really does depend upon how much of the smoke flavor you want in your food.
7 Steps for Easy smoking with Wood Chips on a Gas Grill
Your wood chip pouch or box will be your best source for getting that desired smoky flavor on your gas grill:
- First, you will need to pick your choice of wood chips, with a flavor that you feel will match perfectly for the kind of meat that you will be smoking.
- Now, fill your smoke box or your foil pouch with the wood chips that you will be using. (If using a foil pouch, make sure you double up on the foil layers for added security).
- Light your fire, and place the smoker box (or foil pouch) on the grill.
- Wait for your chips to start smoking.
- Once your chips have started smoking, you can place your meat on the grill and cover it.
- You can use either the direct or indirect method when it comes to grilling your meat; the choice is yours.
Tips for Successful Smoking:
Generally, about 2 or 3 handfuls of chips sitting on direct heat will take about 1 and ½ hours before the smoke starts to wear down.
Smoking chips will slow the burning processes down, which means that time will be added and your food will have a delayed finish. So make sure to keep this in mind if you decide you want to soak your wood.
To ensure that the smoke thoroughly saturates your meat, you need to make sure that you lift your grill lid as little as possible. Doing so will let the smoke out, which means less smoke for your meat. With that being said, only open that door when it’s absolutely necessary.
Once you know what it is that you have to do when it comes to smoking on a gas grill, it’s not really all that hard to accomplish. By following the advice and steps mentioned above you can have some great tasting food in no time!
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