How to use smoking chips

Smoking chips are one of the easiest ways to introduce that delicious smoky flavour to your barbecuing. We’ll take you through some of the basics to help you introduce smoking chips to your repertoire.

What are smoking chips?

Smoking chips are the most commonly used and readily available option for smoked cooking. They are made from small scraps and shavings of wood. Lightweight and easy to handle, they ignite and burn quickly, which makes them ideal for all kinds of short or slow cooking on the BBQ.

Depending on what kind of food you like to cook, there is a smoking chip variety or blend to match. The great thing is you can use smoking chips on all kinds of hooded BBQs, whether you have gas or charcoal fuelled.

What different kinds of smoking chips are there?

There are a number of different woods and blends used to make smoking chips. Certain varieties of smoking chips are better suited to different types of cooking. The type or blend of smoking chips you use can make a big difference to the flavour.

Smoking chips made from a blend of fruit and nut woods, like apple, cherry, alder and mesquite, are great for cooking chicken, pork or fish. These chips give off a mild smoke that has a hint of sweetness.

Hickory smoking chips have a stronger flavour and are a great option for thicker cuts of red meats or pork. While a blend of hickory and mesquite is perfect for beef and lamb.

How do I use smoking chips?

The important thing to remember when using smoking chips is to soak them first. Otherwise they tend to burn out too quickly before they’ve had the chance to add any real flavour. The idea is to soak them first in a bowl of water for 30 minutes. The added moisture slows down the smoking time and can increase the amount of smoke released. If you are slow cooking for longer periods, you may need to soak enough chips to allow for a few top ups as you go.

You can use smoking chips in a hooded or kettle BBQs. When cooking on a gas-fuelled hooded BBQ, you need to contain the smoking chips in a smoker box. Or you can make your own container by wrapping the chips tightly in aluminium foil and poking a few holes through the top with a skewer. Once you have soaked your chips for 30 minutes, fill up the box or foil and just place it on the grill. If you have a charcoal fuelled kettle BBQ, you can simply scatter the smoking chips over the top of your coals.

Make sure you keep the lid closed for as long as possible to retain the most smoke and give your food the best chance of capturing the flavour.

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