If you look around the internet for tutorials that will teach you how to create smoke in your grill, most of them will tell you to soak your wood chips in water under the justification that it ensures that the wood does not combust while you’re cooking. Essentially, this method is supposed to prevent pungent smoke. The truth is, there are other better ways to do that. Let’s find out how to create the most effective smoke in your grill.
If you’re new to grilling, let us catch you up to speed. In order to add smoke to your grill, you add wood chips on top of the coals or gas burner. The wood chips will create smoke when they burn. To do that on a gas grill, you wrap them in two or three layers of aluminum foil, puncture the packet to let out the smell, and insert your wood chip packet into the back of the grill while it’s heating up.
In coal grills, just sprinkle the wood chips on top of the coals. If you’re slow cooking, we would recommend going for the snake method - arrange the coals in a snake-shape around the grill 2 briquettes high and 2 briquettes wide. Sprinkle the wood chips on top. The fire will progress slowly throughout the day around the snake. Sprinkle more chips at the beginning of the snake.
Burning soaked wood will simply not result in smoke. When you burn soaked wood, it lets off steam. It can take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour until all the water evaporates, and only then will the wood be able to reach temperatures high enough for smoke, essentially making soaking useless.
In addition to the steam, soaked wood lowers the temperature inside the grill or the smoker. We want hotter temperatures for even, deep cooking, and quality smoke.
Not convinced yet? Let Ryan from Grill Top Experience walk you through the science of good and bad smoke. He will share his tips on how to reach the good type of smoke, which is called blue smoke. It is almost transparent, but it carries a very distinctive aroma.