Smoker wood chips are widely available from your local BBQ or garden store, and come in a huge variety of flavours from different manufacturers.
The question is, why use them?
The answer is simply to add additional flavour to your food, and smoker wood chips achieve this by being placed within a BBQ smoker after being moistened with water for around 30 minutes, and then left in the smoker with the food.
The heat that is generated by the BBQ smoker causes the wood chips to raise in temperature and release an aromatic smoke and moisture that permeates the food to give it the classic smokehouse taste.
Many people avoid using smoker wood chips due to the fact that they are unsure as to whether they may ruin their food or even damage their BBQ smoker. This rarely happens if done correctly, and the improvements to the flavour of all cooked BBQ food is improved by the addition of properly prepared wood chips.
Never add dry smoker wood chips to the heat source as this will cause the dry woods to burn off very quickly and will result in a bitter taste on the food. It is recommended that unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer, that all wood chips are treated to a good soaking prior to use.
Smoker wood chips are available in dozens of different flavours, and after a little experimentation with some of them, you will soon find the ones you prefer and match well to the BBQ food and baste/sauce combinations that you like using.
Try starting with “light” tasting smoker wood chip flavours such as applewood, cherry or plum, and if you find these a little too mild for your taste you can try stronger flavours such as hickory, mesquite, and alder, which is one of the most popular all-round smoker wood chip flavours available.
Smoker wood chips are relatively inexpensive to buy and last a fair while, and as such represent a great investment that will elevate the flavour of your BBQ food and you will soon be using them regularly once you have found the flavours that you prefer.
How to use Smoker Wood Chips
- Place the smoker wood chips in a bowl of water for 15-30 minutes, or spray them with water and leave for a while to allow the chips to absorb the moisture.
- Put a tray or pan of smoker wood chips on the briquettes or on the lower rack of your BBQ smoker or grill. If using wood chips in a gas grill, place the pan to one side away from the flame of the burners to avoid them going up in smoke and leaving a bitter taste on your food.
- Raise the temperature of your BBQ smoker to your desired level according to what you are cooking.
- Put the food in the BBQ smoker with the pan of smoker wood chips and cook until done.