One of the most critical questions facing any griller is what fuel source to use. If you’re looking for ease and convenience, there’s no shame in using a gas grill. But if you have the time, energy, and space, and you really prefer that charcoal grill flavor (as I do), there is no substitute for grilling over charcoal.
One of the best things about cooking with charcoal and wood chips is they impart that wonderful smoky flavor everyone’s after. Gas grills aren’t able to achieve the same level of smoke and always feel lacking.
It’s also far easier to use wood chips in a charcoal grill as opposed to gas. You can put them directly on the charcoal or separately in a smoker box.
How To Grill With Charcoal And Wood Chips?
Using a smoker isn’t the only way to infuse your food with a great, smoky flavor; you can get achieve similar results by smoking wood chips on gas and charcoal grills. Let’s discuss this in detail and you can also get a full guide of How To Use A Weber Charcoal Grill Vents.
How To Use Wood Instead Of Charcoal?
You can also do grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal as cooking over wood is perhaps the most timeless tradition in human history. Despite the modern conveniences of microwaves, ovens, and gas grills, cooking over wood has returned to popularity because it’s fun and provides incredible flavor.
Grilling with charcoal and wood is great fun. Using wood when grilling or BBQing instead of charcoal is easy. Simply add your wood to the grill, light on fire. When your wood coals are smoldering instead of on fire, it’s time to just add your food and cook as desired!
Also, Read Full Reviews Of Best Charcoal Grill Under $200
Grilling With Wood VS. Charcoal
Grilling With Charcoal
- Easy to Control: You can control spots of direct and indirect heat, which is helpful for larger cuts of meat that need to be cooked for longer times. It also helps keep them tender and juicy, rather than charred.
- Low Cost: You can buy a hefty bag of charcoal briquettes for less than $20. It’s easy to find at grocery stores or home improvement stores, too.
- Extra Mess: With both wood and charcoal, you’ll have to clean grease, smoke and ash from the grill. But handling charcoal can also be a messy endeavor and can permanently stain clothes.
Grilling With Wood
- Flavor: You can choose the right type of wood to perfectly flavor what you’re cooking. Hickory wood imparts a mild, smoky flavor that isn’t too overpowering. Mesquite has a sweet scent and can be used for any type of meat. Pecan is best for low-and-slow cooking, particularly briskets and other large cuts of beef. Apple wood has a subtle sweetness that’s best for high-fat meat, like pork. Oak is a popular option in the South and produces denser, powerful smoke. It’s best suited for beef and pork.
- No Additives: Unlike some types of charcoal, which can contain artificial additives, wood is free of chemicals. This makes your food safer to consume—and the flavor will be rich and won’t be affected by any surprise ingredients.
- Difficult to Master: You’ll need to monitor the level of smoke: too much, and your food will be overwhelmed with wood flavor. Wood can also burn faster than charcoal, so you’ll have to replenish your chips more often.
- Slow to Heat: Flavor-packed BBQ comes at a price—it can take longer for the wood chips to heat up and longer for the food to cook, making it less practical for those who are hosting barbecues or want food prepared quickly. Expect up to an hour for the wood to heat up, and then up to two hours for your meal to be ready.
7 Steps To Smoking With Wood Chips On a Charcoal Grill
Here is my recommended method of smoking with wood chips on charcoal grill:
- Pick the wood chips flavor that will compliment your food (such as cherry, hickory, mesquite or others).
- Grab a bag of your favorite quality charcoal or briquettes.
- Put some charcoal in the chimney and light it.
- Create a pouch using several layers of aluminum foil, fill it with the wood chips, seal it and poke some holes for the smoke to escape and to let in air.
- Pour the charcoal from the chimney, basically mixing wood chips with charcoal and start the fire.
- Place your cooking grate over the fire followed by the meat.
- Cover the grill. If you are grilling and don’t have dampers, leave a lid gap about an inch to let the air in but don’t lift it, you need the smoke.
How To Use Wood Chips On a Weber Charcoal Grill?
The main query which came in mind is how to use wood chips for smoking? Weber charcoal grill is the best grill for grilling purposes. First you have to heat the grill by adding coals in it. When your grill heat up, add damp wood chips in it and place your food and enjoy the meal.
If you want to save money by making your own wood chips, then you must have to know how to make wood chips for smoking? Just a handful of twigs or leaves will often be better than some tree trunk chipped up. New growth has more “flavor” than old wood or old bark.
The other way is to make the sticks into wood chips first, and cut the bigger pieces into (roughly) fist-sized chunks. You will then need to season (thoroughly dry) your wood before using it for smoking. The easiest way to do this is to store the wood in an environment that will allow it to dry without molding, for a long period of time. It’s a time-consuming process, but not one that requires a lot of active effort.
Can Wood Chips Be Use In Gas Grills?
Yes, you can. But first you must know how to use wood chips on a gas grill. What you can do, however, is purchase a smoker box to keep the wood contained. When using a smoker box, fill it about half full with the wood chips of your choice. Dampen the wood chips before putting them in the smoke box. This will make them last longer and will also help you avoid large bursts of smoke.
Gas grills are often used for their efficient cooking capabilities, and it takes time for meats to absorb the smoke flavor. If you plan on using wood chips to derive the smoky flavor, be sure to cook your meat on a lower temperature for at least 30 minutes.
How To Select The Right Wood?
Not any kind of wood is perfect for your grill. Remember that you are trying to avoid fire. You also want to get a delicious product after the process. Using wood that is not ripe will inevitably bring about combustion problems. The green or unseasoned wood can result in a fire. The texture of your food also changes in the process.
You need mature wood chips for the charcoal grill. This is a sector that most people fail to remember or understand that later affects the entire grill process.
How To Keep Wood Chips From Burning In Smoker?
Wood chips are one of the major things that you need to focus on to establish yourself as a charcoal grill master. However, you must be careful with wood chips because they might catch fire, and you do not want to ruin your steak before you try it.
There are multiple options to prevent your wood chips from catching fire while using them in a charcoal grill. The most common techniques are:
- Soaking the wood chips in water
- Putting the wood chips in a can or aluminum foil
- Limiting the amount of air getting to the wood chips.
- Do not over adjust your temperature
- Add only the right amount of wood chips
Seasoned hardwood is a priority for most experts. Try it out and enjoy tasty barbecued food. Using recommended wood above also prevents the chances of the occurrence of a fire in the process.
In order to master the skills of both smoking and barbecuing, you need to practice. No one is going to do it well the first time. Sometimes barbecue is about using what you have on-hand to make the most of a meal. But for perfect grilling, first you have to consider all the tips and techniques about how to grill with wood chips and charcoal.
For instance, wood chunks are the ideal size for a charcoal grill. However, using wood chips with the vessel method or a smoker box will allow for a great way to introduce smoky flavor to a charcoal grill.
By following the tips included in this guide, you should have no problem turning out meat that’s smoked to perfection and loaded with flavor.
Enjoy smoky treats!