If you have meticulous taste buds, you will readily figure out the difference between a steak cooked using charcoal and wood chips and a steak cooked using electric grills. And thus, you would surely prefer the steaks cooked on charcoal because it has an exquisite taste. Moreover, different hardwood types also bring in varying flavors that readily complement the type of meat being cooked. So, if you are using an offset smoker to cook your food, you should know how to use wood chips in a smoker.
Steps on Using Wood Chips in a Smoker
If you want to enhance your skills in smoking food, you need to know how to use wood chips in your smoker. First, you should prepare your smoker for smoking food. You should season your smoker if it is your first time using your smoker or if it is new.
Seasoning the smoker involves wiping down the whole smoker with lathery water. Afterward, you can rinse it with water to wash away grease or dust. Dry the smoker before you spritz vegetable oil on the cooking chamber. Leave the smoker’s vents open as you light a fire inside the firebox. Let the fire burn for thirty minutes while the vents are still open. Once the fire smolders away, you can cool offset smoker and you can use it afterward.
What Do Wood Chips Impart?
Wood chips, when added to the burning charcoals, add flavor to the food. Additionally, if you use different types of hardwood chips, you can produce varying flavors for specific meats. So, you should carefully choose the wood chips that you would use for your food. You should also prepare the chips. You can do this by dumping the wood chips into a bucket, and then soaking them with beer, wine, or water for an hour before cooking.
Starting the Offset Smoker
As you start the offset smoker, you should let the air intake vent open. The fire needs a whiff of oxygen to stay burning. Moreover, you need to keep the chimney vent open to release smoke. Thirty minutes prior to smoking, you need to build a small fire using charcoal in the firebox. You can use an electric charcoal starter or a chimney starter to start the fire. This fire should be maintained throughout the smoking process.
The Smoking Process
To start off the smoking process, you should position the cured meat on the grill’s rack or inside the smoking chamber. Then, gently close the lid. The lid should be tightly sealed to ensure a stable temperature within the chamber. Once the meats are all set, you can take a handful of wood chips and add them to the hot coals every thirty minutes. This is to ensure that the meats are slowly seasoned with hardwood smoke. You should also add 2 handfuls of charcoal each hour, depending on the amount of wind outside the offset smoker. The windier it is, the faster will the charcoal burn.
Spread the Charcoal inside the Firebox
As the fire burns, you can add wood chips. Your options with regards to wood chips include mesquite, hickory, maple, or apple. You should refrain from overstuffing the firebox with wood chips. This is because you will find it hard to regulate the fire if you do so. You should monitor the temperature within the cooking chamber. You should also keep the firebox’s lid closed while you cook. Refrain from adding more wood chips if you have already achieved the ideal temperature inside the chamber.
Add Wood Chips Every 30 Minutes!
The recommended interval for adding wood chips is every 30 minutes. Place the wood chips near the fire. Allow it to smolder instead of letting them burn. You should also prevent the wood chips from heavily burning. There is definitely no specific rule as to when you should add wood chips into the firebox. But the trick is you should consider the smoke’s quality.
It would be a good thing to keep a tab of the frequency you add wood chips so that you can use this log as a reference every time you use the offset smoker. Another tip is that if the smoke that comes out of the chimney is thinner, then, you should replace the current chips. Lastly, how to use wood chips in a smoker needs not be a trial-and-error process as long as you follow the above-mentioned tips.