how to keep wood chips from burning in smoker

Tips on How to Keep Wood Chips From Burning in Smoker

Although there are several ways to smoke meat, we’re pretty sure that hot smoking is the most familiar method. Every spring, we love organizing parties with our friends, drinking and smoking meat on our grill. But, the thing is that no matter what we do, our wood somehow always burns too quickly. Yes, this is a pretty common problem and plenty of people are struggling to prevent wood chips for smoker, from burning. Fortunately, there are a couple of tips to help us understand how to keep wood chips from burning in smoker. And we wish to share these with you!

Why Use Wood Chips for Smoking?

Wood chips are an ideal choice if you smoke small pieces of meat like a steak, chicken, or fish. In other words, they are good for meat that doesn’t have to be cooked for a long time. The reason why many people encounter a problem with them is that they also burn out quickly. Before we continue to see the best ways to use wood chips for smoking, we are going to mention some of the best types of wood:

Wood Type Flavor Strength Flavor Profile Price
Pecan Medium Sweet & mild Check Price
Hickory Sweet to strong Strong/bacon flavor Check Price
Apple Sweet Fruity Check Price
Cherry Mild Sweet & fruity Check Price
Alder Light Sweet but not fruity Check Price
Maple Mild Sweet & Subtle Check Price

How to Keep Wood Chips from Burning in Smoker

Soak Your Wood Chips in the Water

There are a lot of disagreements about this, so you are probably confused about whether should you soak wood chips before smoking. Well, by doing this, you are adding moisture to the wood. The wet chips will not create fire, just the smoke. And since you want to have well-smoked pieces of meat, this is what you need. Soaked chips will take much longer to burn.

A lot of people claim that soaking wood chips for smoking will not affect the taste of food in any way. However, using the soaked chips is one of the first tips when you want to know how to keep wood chips from burning in the smoker. If you are using thin, sharp chips, it is enough to keep them in the water for 30 minutes. If your chips are chunky, make sure to leave them for 2 hours at least.

Place the Chips in Aluminum

Aluminum is a fantastic material that you can use when you want to prevent accidental fire. It will also make the chips burn slower.

  • First, take a piece of foil and put it in the center of a grill.
  • Put the wood chips on it.
  • Next, wrap other chips in the aluminum. Puncture a little hole on the top.
  • You can do this with both wet and dry chips.
  • When it stops smoking change the foil.

Limit the Air Flow

If the air vents are completely open, you can be sure that the fire will ignite easily. As you don’t want that, it is necessary to close the vents. However, you must not close them completely because this will over smoke the meat.

Choose the Right Wood

Whatever wood you decide to use, make sure that it is ripe. Otherwise, you will have to deal with problems with fire.  Keep in mind that you need mature wood to have the best results when smoking meat.



Camerons Products

MacLean’s Outdoor

Oklahoma Joe’s


Wood Type

Varies (e.g., oak, cherry, hickory)

Varies (e.g., apple, cherry, mesquite)

Varies (e.g., hickory, apple, cherry)

Varies (e.g., oak, hickory, mesquite)

Varies (e.g., oak, cherry, hickory)







Flavor Intensity


Medium to high

Medium to high

Medium to high

Medium to high

Recommended for

Longer cooking times

Shorter cooking times





Check Price

Check Price

Check Price

Check Price

Check Price

Don’t Put Too Much Wood

People have the idea that meat will be better if there is a lot of smoke. And the way to produce a lot of smoke is to put a lot of wood chips on charcoal grill. It is a misconception.  By continually adding wood, you are increasing the chance of a fire outburst.  That is why when you are thinking about how to use smoking chips, keep in mind that you have to balance the amount of them.

How to Use Wood Chips on Gas/Electric Grill

There are some differences in how to prepare meat depending on the type of grill. So let’s see how to use wood chips on a gas grill:

  • Make sure to choose wood chips that will add to the flavor.
  • Gas grills often come with a smoker box. If there is one, fill it with wood chips. If not, make the aluminum foil bag and put the chips inside.
  • Light the fire and put the smoker box or aluminum pouch on the grill.
  • When they start to smoke, put the meat.
  • Choose direct or indirect grilling and cook the meat.

How to Use Wood Chips on A Charcoal Grill

In order to use wood chips on a charcoal grill you need to:

  • Choose the chip that will add to the flavor of the food.  Consider those that are produced to decrease the risk of wood pellet toxicity.
  • Take the charcoal or briquettes. Put some in the chimney and ignite it.
  • Put the wood chips in the aluminum bag. Don’t forget to puncture some holes to ventilate it.
  • Add the charcoal or briquettes and light the fire.
  • If you are making burgers, etc., wood chips should be under the meat. In case you opt for something that needs to be cooked for a long time, like ribs, then the pouch with wood for smoking ribs should be on the top.
  • Place the grate over the fire and meat on top of the grate.
  • Cover the grill but make sure to leave a little gap for the smoke.


Figuring out how to keep wood chips from burning in smoker is a very useful skill to have, that makes your dishes incredibly delicious. And as you see, this is not complicated as long as you keep in mind several important tips. So good luck mastering your BBQ skills, and make sure to let us know how it goes for you! We would love to know!

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