Using wood chips for grilling will give your food a more complex flavor. So here, we will be showing you how long to soak wood chips before grilling to get you started.
Once you have used wood for grilling, you are never going back to using plain gas again. It adds so much boost to the flavor of the food and it really enhances the taste of it.
Although most people say that there is no need for you to soak the wood, there is also nothing wrong with improving the smoke quality of the fuel that you are using.
When you use dry wood for fuel, there is a tendency that they burn up faster than soaked wood chips. This means that you will be needing more fuel when cooking for long periods of time.
That is just one of the many benefits of soaked wood chips. So if you want to conserve fuel while enhancing the flavors within the food that you are cooking, soak your wood chips first.
This is just simple chemistry that if you apply moisture to fire, it will create more steam and smoke. Therefore, when you soak wood chips first before grilling, they produce more smoke.
So here, you will learn how to soak wood chips to be able to cook with the perfect production of smoke and heat to keep the food evenly cooked and soft when finished.
You might find some other complex ways to soak wood chips but here, we will be giving you the general idea in the process of doing this very helpful trick to enhance cooking.
Stick around as we discuss the process and the other benefits that you can get when you use wood chips that are soaked properly before cooking or grilling.
Do You Need To Soak Wood Chips?
Using wood chips usually happens when you want more smoky flavors to get into your food. So soaking them will only improve the smoke that they are able to emit.
When you do not soak wood chips before putting them in the grill, they will not produce as much smoke as you want because they catch fire faster when they are completely dry.
While this is beneficial for keeping the grill hot or when you want to increase the temperature of the grill, it will not bring as much smoky flavor as you want into the food that you are cooking.
This is done especially if you are using a gas grill. Gas grills do not produce smoke so grilling in them would simply mean that you are exposing them to heat and not for flavor.
So soaking wood chips will enhance the flavor that is going into the food. This will let the wood chips create a nice, thick smoke with a great aroma when they are used for grilling.
Can You Soak Wood Chips Too Long
No, there is no reason to worry about over-soaking wood chips. It is not like they are always going to be absorbing moisture all the time so let them soak for at least a day.
With that being said, do not let the wood chips soak for over a week because the water will wash away all the flavors that the wood chips are supposed to produce.
It usually does not take an hour to soak wood chips but going for over 12 hours or a day will not be much of a problem either so let them soak for a day before using if you want.
Even larger portions of wood like chunks and planks will not be damaged even if you soak them for over a day. They will just become smokier when exposed to flames.
Here is a simple guide for how long you can soak wood depending on the size.
– Wood chips. Since these are small and are opened already meaning there is no bark getting in the way, wood chips can be totally soaked for 1 to 2 hours.
– Large chips. Slightly larger chips but smaller than chunks, these types of wood chips can be soaked for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours if needed.
– Chunks. These are large wooden chips that are the size of a baseball or barely the size of your fists and they can be soaked for at least 24 hours to get them ready for grilling.
– Planks. These are the types of wood that are usually used for smoking meat and although we are talking about grilling, it does not hurt to know that they take around 8 to 12 hours of soaking.
You will see some instructions on how to soak wood chips on the package if you order them. But if you just picked them up and you want to soak them, we also have a guide for you.
If you cut them into very small pieces, wood chips can be soaked for less than an hour. This will let them burn longer and they produce a lot of smoke in the process.
So first, get your wood chips in a small basin and then pour water on them. You can also use cider vinegar or any liquid that you want to produce flavor into your food.
May that be beer, apple juice, or any kind of liquid. Just make sure that all the woods are covered by the liquid so they absorb it at all sides.
Then, you can cover them or put something heavy on the wood chips so they do not float. This will allow them to keep on absorbing as much liquid as they can before grilling.
After 30 minutes, the wood chips should have at least absorbed water and the liquid would have seeped into at least a quarter of the wood chips so that will be enough.
Fire up your grill and put the wood chips right on top of the firebox. They will not burn right away but they will be heated enough to produce the needed smoke flavor for your food.
You can also use your microwave to soak small wood chips before grilling. So with the same liquid that you want to use, place the wood chips in a bowl and then put them in the microwave.
Let them heat up until the water in the bowl is boiling. The optimal soaked wood chips would be wet up to a quarter of its thickness which will be attained by boiling the water in the bowl.
This process will only take around 5 minutes so if you are in a hurry, you can soak the wood chips in the microwave for a much faster result instead of waiting for 30 minutes.
After the water has boiled in the bowl, remove it from the microwave and then drain the water. Put the wood chips in a metal smoker box or directly over the fire.
From there, you can now grill while the wood chips produce a nice smoke for the food. Make sure to close the lid of the grill to get the most out of the soaked wood chips.
Wood Chips vs Wood Chunks? Which one is better?
If you are confused between wood chips and wood chunks then you have to understand that their usage is dependent on the duration of cooking.
If you are cooking something for a short interval of time like chicken, fish, or burgers, basically anything that cooks quickly then you are going to use wood chips.
If you have a steak, brisket on the grill then you might go for the wood chunk as that would last a long time in order to give your food the maximum flavor that it needs.
Grilling with wood Chips
Now, the best way to grill with wood chips is to soak them half an hour before starting up your grill. You want to soak them in water and then take them out and place them on the grill.
Make sure that the wood chip isn’t dry else it would catch fire and this could render some bad taste in your food. It has to be wet enough and not dripping wet because if water drips onto the fire then that could be another issue.
So make sure it is wet enough and you have the lid closed while you are cooking food inside the grill.
What do you soak wood chips in?
You can soak the wood chips in water but if you want a different taste then you can soak them in beer, whiskey, or juice in order to bring more flavor to the food.
Once the liquid from the wood chips evaporates then you are going to let the chips burn so that they add more flavor to the food that you have been grilling.
Always Get The Right Wood Chips
Soaking wood chips is not the only process to enhance the flavor of the food that you are grilling. You should also select the right type of wood chips to get your food tasting better.
There are so many different wood chips that you can choose from so you can combine them with the food that you are grilling to make the flavor greater instead of changing it.
This simply means that you need to select the type of wood that you want to combine with the flavor of your food. You can get pecan, cherry, apple, alder, or any wood chips that you want.
Soaking wood chips is a process that is often dubbed as unnecessary. While this may be true to some, we cannot deny the fact that it really adds a more smoky flavor to the food.
Wood chips are very small so if you put them in the grill over the fire, they will just burn up very easily, therefore, removing their purpose of giving smoky flavor to the food on the grill.
Soaking can be avoided when you are using larger pieces of wood but with wood chips, we recommend that you always soak them before putting them in the grill.
So follow the advice and the process that we have put above and once you are done with that, your food will be having a nice smoky flavor added to any food that you grill.
Always remember to keep the lid closed if possible so that the smoke that the soaked wood chips produce will get inside the food that you are grilling.
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