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? 

how to keep wood chips from burning in smoker

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 the 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, soaking the wood chips, and adjusting the dumper are a few tricks to keep wood chips from burning fast.

keep wood chips in burning smoker

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. Soaking Dry Wood Chips In Water

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

soaking dry wood chips in water

Yes, soaking the wood chips will get moisture. So, it won’t catch fire even for a long time but create constant smoke.

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 so, wet wood chips delay the process of getting caught fire. 

However, a few users claim that soaking wood chips destroy the real smokey flavor of cooked foods. But most smoked food lovers declare that soaked wood chips won’t hamper the taste.

Rather, it enhances the smoked juicy result and helps to create a smoke ring on meat if you can control the smoker’s temperature accurately.

So, when you want to keep your wood chips from burning in your smoker, soaking the chips is one of the popular ways.

Tips: Soak the thin chips for 30 minutes but thick and chunky chips for 2 hours in water to get a better result.

2. Use Larger Wood Chips

The next 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 chips to get perfect smoke to cook your meat evenly. 

use larger wood chips

3. 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.

use thick wood chunks

So, use thick smoking chunks that burn for a long time to smoke the meat thoroughly.

4. 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 with the cider wood tastes bitter. 

use the wood chunks that burn for a long time

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.

5. A Big No To Use Seasoned Wood Chips

Getting the best test from smoked meat depends on the quality of the smoking wood. 

avoid using seasoned wood chips to smoke

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.

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?

use a metal smoker box

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. 

use a cast-iron smoker box

Though they are great for reducing 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. 

Here, you can watch the video too on how to use a smoker box in your gas grill.

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. 

adjust the dampers of the smoker

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; that 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 indoors and getting evenly smoked food. 

use wood chips rightly on the gas grill

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, or mesquite you want to gain with the wood chips to match the smoked meat.
  • Keep the wood chips in 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. 
  • 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 to put the chips directly on the Charcoal grill. 

don't put wood chips directly on the charcoal

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 to the box. 

preheat your grill or smoker

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. 

How To Use Wood Chips On Gas Grill

Many gas grill users desire to make smoke from the unit. Some of the gas grills and electric grills featured a built-in smoker box, where making smoke using wood chips is easy.

how to use wood chips on a gas grill

Users use wood chips as fuel to add a next-level and robust smoke flavor to the meat. Creating smoke in a gas and electric grill without a built-in smoker box is also simple as long as you have an ultimate guide. 

Here you need to make proper use of the wood chips if you want to try smoking on your gas grill sooner.

Follow our step-by-step guide to using wood chips on a gas grill precisely:

1. Collect The Necessary Equipment

First, collect the below accessories to get the best result:

  1. Aluminum foil
  2. Foil pan
  3. Heat resistant glove
  4. Smoker box
  5. Quality wood chips
  6. Water
  7. Tongs
  8. Meat thermometer

2. Manage The Wood Chips

Without quality wood chips, you will never get the best result your desire. Here we are suggesting using Mesquite, Hickory, Whisky, Maple, Brandy Barel Oak, Apple, Cherry, and Pecan.

All the wood chips will provide an appetizing smoky flavor sweet and subtle.

3. Soak The Wood Chips

Before placing the wood chips on the grill grates, you have to put them in water and soak them for at least 30 minutes.

It will give you efficient flame, and slow combustion, and create a better-flavored smoke. Apart from this, It will help to make a high flame and allow to burn the chips to more evenly. 

4. Prepare Your Gas Grill

First, you need to preheat your grill properly. Turn on all of the burners. Preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes on the high flame.

It will assist the grill in attaining a particular temperature.

Moreover, preheating the grill is needed as it helps prevent foods from sticking.

5. Place The Wood Chips

Now is the time to place the wood chips on the grill. If there is a built-in smoker box,  place the chips in the box using tongs.

Close the box lid securely. Now, close the grill as well and let the wood chip preheat at lower heat for about 10-15 minutes.

If you have no smoker box, you need the aluminum foil packet. Take ½ to 1 cup of soaked wood chips on the foil and fold the foil perfectly.

Poke some holes into the aluminum foil using a fork. It will let the smoke out.

Finally, place the food in the middle of the grates and start cooking. Light the fire. Place the smoker box or pouch on the grill.

You have to add new wood chips every 30 minutes. Take a new aluminum boil if the previous one burns up.

Use a high-quality meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

How To Use Wood Chips On A Charcoal Grill

The term using wood chips on a charcoal grill may seem unknown to most one.

But it is the fact that using wood chips on charcoal as an alternative fuel multiply the food taste.

how to use wood chips on a charcoal grill

Moreover, it is more convenient to use wood chips on a charcoal grill than on a gas grill or electric grill. 

Either you have to place the chips directly on the charcoal or use a smoker box to place them. Don’t worry.

To bring an extraordinary smokey flavor to food with wood chips on charcoal, follow the below instructions:

1. Grab The Wood Chips First

The first step is to pick the perfect quality wood chips. Collect such wood chips which will be completely compatible with your food.

Otherwise, it will fail to enhance the aromas of the smoke on the food. You can use cherry, hickory, or mesquite.

2. Light The Fire

Before cooking, you need to light up your charcoals. But before that, grab quality charcoal briquettes.

But many users don’t like to use briquettes because it contains a chemical that may be mixed with meat during cooking.

Now collect some old newspapers and roll them in a circular motion. Place the roles at the bottom, and then fill the chimney with charcoal.

Now light the paper’s bottom and wait until the charcoal starts to light.

3. Place The Wood Chips

To place the wood chips, you need to create a pouch of aluminum foil. The step is needed if your grill has not a built-in smoker box.

Anyway, take some wood chips on the double layer of aluminum foil and wrap them tightly. Now make several holes into the packet using any pointed skewer or fork.

If there is a smoker box, then you will not need to make the foil, and the process is quite simple than before.

4. Ready For Grilling

Finally, pour the charcoal from the chimney into the barbecue grill grates. Start the fire with the help of a stick lighter.

Use heatproof gloves for safety precautions. And set the coals packet on one side.

If you want, you may put them directly on the charcoal. Now, you are ready for grilling. 

Here, watching this video will be helpful for you.


Do I soak wood chips before putting them in the smoker?

You need to soak the wood chips before grilling only when you are planning for longer cooking. Soak chips in water for at least 30 minutes, which will prolong the burning. Otherwise, soaked wood chips aren’t necessary if you want chips to burn out quickly. It will naturally slow down the process.

Can I over Soak wood chips for smoking?

If you are planning to grill and soak wood chips for cooking, you need to give time a maximum of 30 minutes. In the case of over-soaked wood chips, longer than 24 hours, it will impart off food flavors and dry out the food. 

Can I soak my wood chips in whiskey?

You can soak the wood for grilling in virtually any liquid. Even if you are using other liquids rather than water, it will impart a unique flavor to food. Soaking chips in whisky will add an intense and smokiness flavor.

How long to smoke wood chips for smokers?

If you want significant smoke flavor on your food, you will need to smoke wood chips for the smoker. After placing the wood chips on the snooker, start the fire. Then, it will take up to 20-25 minutes to start smoking. If the amount of chips is big, it takes about 1 hour. 

Should wood chips burn when smoking?

There is not necessary to burn the wood chips completely. As you will know, total burned wood will produce high heat and reduce the chance of good smoking. It will be better to reduce the flame to let the chips burn slowly. 

How often do you need to add wood chips to a smoker?

There are no rules or limitations in adding wood chips. It depends on the wood chips and burns quality. But basically, a cup of wood lasts up to 4 hours. So add chips during that period by noticing the smoke level.  

Why are my wood chips not smoking?

If your wood chips are not smoking, there is a lack of airflow on the smoker. They may have stuck dirt and debris in the heating element. Also, you may have soaked the wood chips for longer or used over-dried chips.  

At what temperature do wood chips start smoking?

The fact depends on the wood chips’ quality. But normally, the wood chips start smoking when the temperature reaches between 570 and 750 °F or 300-400 degrees Celsius.

How do I prevent a smoker from catching fire?

The best way to prevent wood chips from catching fire is to soak the wood for a while. It will also be better to warp the chips in aluminum foils or cans and then place them in the grates.

Which are the best cook woods?

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

Which are the best electric smokers brands?

Masterbuilt, Traeger, and Landmann Electric Smokers are the most popular and the best smoker. Besides, Landmann and Masterbuilt Smokers, Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker, Camp Chef, PK grill, Big Green Egg, Weber, and 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 pellet smokers.


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

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

About William

William is the founder of He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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