How To Use Wood Chips On A Charcoal Grill

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Everyone becomes cheerful when it comes to grilling. From lighting up the grill to eating delicious food: we all try to make it perfect. No doubt, sauces, and seasonings add flavour to your food. But there is another way to enhance the flavour of your meal – by using wood chips on a charcoal grill.

How To Use Wood Chips On A Charcoal Grill

Over 75% of U.S homes own a grill. A gas grill is the most utilized one; however, the charcoal grill continues to stay supreme. For a barbeque, people prefer charcoal grill over gas and electric one. Most BBQ reviews and experts consider a charcoal grill better than any other. The best thing about using wood chips on a charcoal grill is they impart a smokey flavour to the food.

It is more comfortable to use wood chips on a charcoal grill rather than a gas grill. You can add them directly to the burning charcoal or separately in a smoker box.If you do not have grill yet and can not afford expensive grill then you can there are many options that are many grills are available to choose from.

Charcoal Grill and Wood Chips:

You might be thinking, why charcoal? You can add wood chips to any other grill, but we recommend charcoal. The charcoal grills are easy to use in any event, plus it is user-friendly. Adding wood chips on burning charcoal will take the smoky flavor to the next level with just a little effort.

There are two types of charcoal grills: one with a smoker box while the other without it. The grill with the smoker box holds the chips in it and directs the smoke to the cooking chamber. You can place the wood chips directly on the charcoal if you have the other one. Both give a similar result.

Besides these, all charcoal grills reach a higher temperature than a gas grill which helps to achieve a nice sear on the meat. Higher heat is the key to get a delicious smokey taste. A charcoal grill will be more lenient on your pocket as charcoal grills are less costly than a gas grill.After using your grill it is very important to clean the grill properly so that you do not get bad flavours when you use grill next time.

Different Types of Wood Chips :

Wood chips are of small to medium-sized pieces of wood shaped by cutting the large branches of wood. The larger size is called wood chunks. They are natural heat insulators. However, to get the best smoky flavour, one needs to select the best chips of wood. Choosing the perfect type of wood means a big step towards a successful party.

You must be thinking, why not grab some wood chunks from the backyard and use them but here is a hidden truth. Not every wood is suitable for smoking. There are some selected types which will suggest you get a good smoke.

Let’s start with the applewood chips. They create a mellow flavour and usually best while grilling seafood. Beef is best grilled with Oakwood. It gives a smoky taste. To add the fruity flavour, go with Cherrywood. Are you looking for a powerful smoky flavour? Go with Mesquite wood. Hickorywood is used to add a Savoury, bacon-like taste.

Tip: Don’t try to experience unknown wood because it could be tainted with poison, and secondly, it may not give the smoke you are looking for. We suggest purchasing it from a dedicated shop. Fortunately, you can order them online as well.

Soaking Wood Chips:

Some people prefer to soak the wood before adding it to the grill, while others don’t. Should you soak the wood chips or not? Let’s look at some facts about it.  

First of all, it doesn’t provide any change. If you want to feel any variation, it needs extended hours of soaking because the wood has to absorb water far enough to make any difference.

Secondly, with the wet chips, it will take longer to get smoke. Even if your wood has not absorbed enough water, it will cool off your burning charcoal and produce steam rather than smoke.

Tip: If you want to use your charcoal and wood for a long time, try using the foil. The foil will act as a layer between wood and charcoal, and it lets them burn more slowing imparting the intense smoke flavor.

Getting Maximum Flavour Out of Wood

Charcoal grill already gives a good flavour, but what else makes it even better? Using wood chips will do that. No doubt, using wood chips on a charcoal grill adds a smoky flavour, but how to maximize it? You can get maximum flavour by adding some beer, wine, or any juice to it. When the liquid will start evaporating, then the wood chips will start giving an additional smoke flavour.

How Much Wood Will You Need?

To maintain the best smoky flavour, you need to add chips every half hour. It may also depend on the quantity you are grilling. If you are serving for two to three-person, a handful of chips will be required.

How To Use Wood Chips On A Charcoal Grill

  1. Light the fire 

Before everything, you will need to light up your charcoals. You can use either a chimney starter or lighter fluid. Some people use match-light briquettes, but we don’t recommend it. The reason for this is the chemical used in their composition gets mixed with your meat during cooking.

To light up your coals with a chimney starter, take some old newspapers and roll it like a tight ring shape. 

Fill the chimney with charcoal and light up the paper’s bottom with a stick lighter, and wait for them to pass over on coals. This act will light up your charcoals and then you can easily go into the cooking area using heat proof gloves.o light up your charcoals with the lighter fluid. Add all your charcoals into the cooking chamber, pour some liquid over it, and light it up with the help of a stick lighter. Be careful while doing this because it may raise a high flame.

  1. Making of the Foil Packets

This step is optional, but famous chefs recommend it. To make a foil packet, take a handful of wood chips and wrap them in a double layer of aluminium foil. Take a pointed skewer and make several holes into the pack, then set it aside with coals.

  1. Charcoal grill with a smoker box

A charcoal grill with a smoker box makes your process even faster. It is commonly used with a gas grill to smoke; however, it can also be used with a charcoal grill just the same.

Using a smoker box is simple; add the wood chips to the box and place them on the burning coals. Wait for the smoke to pour out, and then you are ready to cook.

  1. Charcoal grill without a smoker box

A grill without a smoker box requires some different methods. You can directly place the wood chips on the coal. For this, you probably have to replace them more often.

Another method is to make a foil packet—the foil packet acts as a barrier between wood and coal. The aluminium foil restricts the oxygen, which turns the wood into charcoal while releasing the full smoke. Place the packet on the fire and enjoy grilling.

  1. Happy Grilling

You are all set to place your meat on the lid, but don’t forget to put it closed as much as possible to allow the smoke to reach the cooking chamber. Never light a charcoal grill indoor. Raising smoke may cause you harm. Don’t forget to take safety precautions.

The Things You Must Know

Let’s have a view on some minor points which will contribute towards bringing the best taste. You need to use minimum charcoal and burn it until the charcoal is white, then add your wood chips. Wait until wood chips develop smoke, then add your meat.

Remember to keep adding a handful of wood chips into the grill to maintain the level of smoke. It is also essential to ensure the proper airflow; otherwise, the wood will burn too fast, and the meat will have a bitter taste, and the thick white smoke is the signal for it.


Grilling is like sports. The more you practice, the better it results. If you are a Barbeque lover, I know you can’t wait to fire up the grill. Let’s try something different this year. All you need is a charcoal grill, best-sized wood chips, aluminium foil, and meat. Let’s impress your guest by offering them a smoky flavour barbeque party. The charcoal is preferred best for BBQs parties because of its smoky flavour. The dry heat from charcoals and smoke from wood quickly sears the meat.

Till now, you must be clear about the charcoal grill and wood chips. If you follow all the above advice, you should grill delicious food using wood chips on a charcoal grill. All your friends and guests would love to eat tasty food and wait to be invited again. Happy Grilling.

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