Wood Chips and Chunks

To add amazing flavor to your barbecue smoker, many people use wood chips or chunks. As you will discover, a difference exists in this choice, as well as the type of wood you choose. For instance, both oak and hickory produce a woodsy, full-bodied flavor while apple wood is milder and sweeter. Therefore, you would choose the type of wood that creates the flavor you prefer for your meat and vegetables.

While some people will use whole logs for the smoker, wood chips and chunks are far more popular. Keep in mind that any type of smoker can benefit from wood, even those that run on gas or electricity. When you shop around, you will find that most wood chips and chunks are prepackaged, meaning all you do is open the package, toss them into the smoker, and you are set.


The difference is that with chips, you would have small pieces of wood. For fast or small flames, this would be the better choice. Remember, even if you soak wood chips for an hour or more in water, once inside the smoker, they will still burn quickly. Now, if you plan to smoke a thin strip of meat or vegetables where a long fire is not required, wood chips would work. In addition, some smokers are designed only for wood chips so before you put anything into the smoker, check the manufacturer instructions.


The other possibility is wood chunks, which are larger but typically less than two inches in size. The main difference is that chunks burn longer than chips do. Therefore, if you plan to smoke meat over a long time, chunks work best. In fact, chunks will produce more smoke so if you prefer heavier smoke, you could choose a fuller bodied wood or buy wood chunks. Regardless of the choice you make, you obviously want to get the most out of the product. For this reason, people will soak the wood chips or chunks, which still produces smoke but it takes much longer. Some of the top wood types for chips and chunks include the following:

  • Maple
  • Hickory
  • Mesquite
  • Oak
  • Alder
  • Cherry
  • Pecan
  • Apple
  • Grape
  • Peach