How to Keep Wood Chips from Burning in Smoker [11 Pro Tips]

What’s the real challenge to smoke meat and fish using wood chips? Of course, preventing the timber chunks from burning fast, am I right? 

Generally, we fall in trouble when it comes to cooking beef brisket or pork. To achieve the desired flavor and test, we need to ensure the timber pieces don’t get burned too fast. But every time you tried in your backyard picnic you failed. So, what should you need to do in this case?

More specifically the question arises: how to keep wood chips from burning in smoker?

In this guide, we break down every hack that helps you to smoke the meat evenly by slowing down the timber from igniting. So, let’s get started right here.

How to Keep Wood Chips from Burning in Smoker [11 Easy Hacks]

Using a metal or cast iron smoker box, having larger wood chips, and adjusting the dumper are a few tricks to keep wood chips from burning fast.

But apart from these hacks, there are a few more tricks to prevent the wood chunk from burning too fast in different types of smokers. So, without further ado, let’s go to the point straight to learn all about the ideas:

1. Use Larger Wood Chips

The first and foremost thing you need to consider is the wood chip size. The bigger the chips will be, the more time it takes to burn. In simple words, use the larger wood chunk to get perfect smoke to cook your meat evenly. 

2. Always Use Thick Chunks

Never use less dense timber pieces. Such kinds of fuel don’t burn steadily and fail to produce enough smoke to cook the meat. So, use thick smoking chunks that burn for a long time to smoke the meat thoroughly.

3. Use the Wood Chunks that Burn for a Long Time

Chips and chunks come from different types of wood species. Each of them has a specific burning range. Some of them burn quickly, and some of them burn slowly. For example, cider and pinewood chunks catch fire too quickly. So, don’t use them to smoke the meat. The worst thing is- the meat cooked by the cider wood tastes bitter. 

On the other hand, firewood pieces from oak, hickory, and pecan offer a long burn time. However, hickory is the best timber species compared to others for smoking meat. It lasts for a long time and provides steady ignition to cook.

4. A big No to Use Seasoned Wood Chips

Getting the best test from the smoked meat depends on the quality of the smoking wood. If you use low-quality fuel that contains fungus, mold, and mildew, the result will follow it. In simple words, your meat appears blackish instead of looking juicy. 

Therefore, the seasoned wood chunks are hard enough to burn and do not produce enough smoke. In return, you will get sooty meat. So, avoid using seasoned tree chips and use high-quality timber for cooking the meat thoroughly.

5. Avoid Soaking Dry Wood Chips

There is a lot of controversial talk with soaked wood chips. As the timber blocks start burning quickly, many folks agree to soak the chips as it slows the process down. 

We all know that water boils at 100-degree c. So, all the water should dry before the wood chunk can catch fire at 180-degree c. And wet wood chips delay the process only, nothing more than that. 

However, the best meat smoking result depends on controlling the smoker’s temperature.  If you control the temperature, you will get thoroughly smoked meat. Plus, you can create a smoke ring on meat too if you are fascinated by the pinkish color of your cooked meat.

But, we recommend you not to soak the wood slab. Well, it’s your personal choice. If soaking the timber chips will offer you juicy meat with the best smoke flavor, then do that for you. 

6. Use a Metal Smoker Box

Whether you are using wood pellets or chips, another way to keep them from burning is using a metal smoker box. How does it help?

The metal smoker box restricts the oxygen or reduces the flow. As a result, the timber chunks don’t burst into flame. In other words, it prevents the chips from catching fire by controlling the oxygen flow. Therefore, you can also make a smoker bag to reduce the oxygen flow.

7. Use a Cast-Iron Smoker Box

From the above steps, you learned how a metal smoker box helps to reduce the oxygen flow. In return, the wood chip burns slowly. The heck is- you can find many smoker boxes that are made of different materials. For example, stainless steel and aluminum are common metals used to make a smoker box. 

Though they are great for reducing the heat, cast-iron smoker pouches are superior to them.  It has a better insulation capacity. That’s why it can lessen the heat level and stop fuel chunks from catching fire quickly. 

In return, your timber pieces smoke rightly and help to cook the meat evenly and bring the ultimate smoky flavor. And the best part of a cast-iron smoker box is- it comes with a lid. You can open or close it to get the smoked meat according to your wish. 

8. Adjust the Dampers

Adjusting the dampers of your smoker will also prevent the timber chips from catching fire quickly. It helps to control the speed of wood-burning and delays the process to cook the meat evenly. 

If you open the damper, more air will flow into it. As a result, the smoker gets hotter quickly and burns the wood fast. On the other hand, closing the damper partially will keep the temperature under control. 

So, adjust the dampers to keep the temperature steady. It will help to burn the wood slowly. Keep in mind; the hotter the fire will be,  the faster your timber chunks burn. 

9. Use Wood Chips Rightly on the Gas Grill

Many of us think setting the gas grill at the right level is enough to smoke meat. But this is entirely a wrong idea. Igniting can be prompted by several factors like wind.

We all know that controlling the temperature is the best way for grilling in an outdoor smoker or indoor and getting evenly smoked food. Excessive heat can burn the wood chips so fast, which is not suitable for smoking meat. But you can get the best output if you can prevent your gas grill from producing so much heat. 

Don’t know how to restrict the gas grill from producing excessive heat and use the wood chips on it? Then, follow the below tips to learn. 

  • Choose a specific flavor like cherry, mesquite you want to gain with the wood chips to match the smoked meat.
  • Keep the wood chips into the smoker box. Fortunately, every modern gas grill comes with a smoker pouch. However, you can also make one if there is no smoker box included with the gas grill. 
  • Now, set the smoker box on your grill back. Then, start igniting. 
  • Wait a couple of minutes until the smoking chips start producing smoke.
  • Cover the meat and put it back on the grill. 
  • Finally, cook the food or meat thoroughly until you get the juicy smoky flavor. 
  • Make sure you don’t open the smoker lid or door throughout the indirect grilling process. 

10. Don’t Put Wood Chips Directly on the Charcoal

Another best way to burn the timber chunks longer is not putting them directly on the Charcoal grill. Instead of it, you can put the plank chunks next to it. It helps to extend the life of your fuel pieces and allows you to burn them slowly. 

Therefore, placing the timber chunks next to the Charcoal smoker also produces consistent smoke. In return, you will get thoroughly cooked steak or meat. 

11. Preheat Your Grill or Smoker

Once you set the gas or smoker rightly, it’s time to heat the smoker before putting the wood chips into it. In simple words, preheat your electric smoker or gas grill before adding the wood chunks into the box. 

If you put the timber hunks earlier, you may lose up to 30 minutes. So, preheat your smoker or gas grill properly and then put the timber blocks into the box. In this way, your wood chunks burn steadily and last for a long time. It helps you to get juicy and soft smoked meat that is pleasant to taste. 


Which are the best cook woods?

Ans: Apple, cherry, hickory, oak, alder, mesquite, pecan are popular as the best cooking woods. 

Is sweet gum good cook wood?

No, sweetgum isn’t used as the smoke wood.

Is sweetgum good firewood?

Yes, sweetgum is good firewood though not like oak or hickory. It burns well but takes a long time to season. At least, sweetgum wood takes at least 1 year to season if you know how to dry wood fast.

Which are the best electric smokers brands?

Masterbuilt, Traeger, and Landmann Electric smoker are the most popular as the best smoker. Besides, Landmann and masterbuilt smoker, Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker, Camp Chef, PK grill, Big Green Egg, Weber, Kamado Joe are also high-quality smokers and popular among smoked food lovers.

Which are the best wood pellets smokers brands?

Camp Chelf, Traeger, Green Mountain, Z Grills, Grilla Grills, Weber, PIT BOSS, and REC TEC are popular brands for a pellet smoker.


Now you know how to keep wood chips from burning in smoker. So, follow the 11 simple tips we explained above to prevent the timber pieces from catching fire too fast. 

It’s advisable to use bigger and thick smoke wood chips to get steady smoke for grilling the meat always. Also, you can use a metal smoker box to control the flow of oxygen to prevent the wood chips from catching fire quickly. 

So, now, you can experiment to smoke the meat following the above tips. Then, share your cooking experience with us.

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