Soaking or not soaking the wood chips is a frequent question
that most of the barbeque lovers get to hear and discuss much often. Soaking
wood chips is an approach that may vary depending on the particular type of
smoker, and even this may vary between different electric smokers as well.
Here, we will specifically talk about the Masterbuilt electric smoker and will
find out whether we should soak wood chips before putting them in an electric
smoker or not.
What Masterbuilt has to say about soaking wood chips?
Masterbuilt first recommends to use wood chips or the wood
pellets and the flavoring could be as per your own choice. Fruitwood chips or the nit trees type wood
chips are highly preferable for such smoker. So things till here are flexible
and all in your hands to be adjusted as per your liking. But, moving on, the
state of the wood chips to be used is recommended by Masterbuilt to be the
soaked ones. They suggest soaking wood
chips for at least 12 hours before using them in the electric smoker.
The success of smoking majorly depends on your smoking
approach, which ideally has to be the low heat used for several hours when
cooking whole chickens, roasts or the ribs. The benefit that you will get from
the wet wood chips is that it will go on to maintain a lot more sustained and
much regular heating. It is because of the reason that the wet wood chips are
known for generating a lot more smoke, which eventually caps the oxygen inside
the electric smoker and also controls the unwanted temperature spikes and the
heat flare-ups, which obviously you would not like to have.
In case, you still see some unwanted high heat being
developing inside the Masterbuilt electric smoker or inside the offset firebox,
then you should add in a cup or two of some more wet wood chips, which will
control the temperature hikes or uneven extra heat being produced. Alongside,
you should also lower the temperature inside the electric smoker in order to
even out the heat and to bring it back in your best control for ideal smoking
of the meat.
Continuing the wet vs dry wood chips debate:
It is absolutely simple physics that the solid wood pieces
are not known for absorbing excess water,
no matter you soak them for several hours. The water only penetrates deep
through the crevices and cracks, otherwise, there is just minimal moisture
penetration just till the top surface layer. There is no straightaway
smoldering of the wood chips when you put it right in the electric smoker.
Rather, water starts to evaporate at the boiling point and turn into steam. So,
only when the water would evaporate completely, then only the wood chips would
go on to reach the point, where smoke could be
produced and help in enhancing the flavor of your food. This means, that
soaking wood chips helps only to a certain level
until all the water is evaporated and turned into steam inside.
The variation of soaking or not soaking wood chips is only for the hot
smoking recipes. For cold smoking, the wood chips should never be soaked. It is
because you will need to dry the food in case of cold smoking and having wet
wood chips would not allow achieving this
state at all.
The wet wood chips should ideally be of 3 to 4 inches long and
thickness should never be more than an inch. You may soak the wood
chips in water for any time between 1 hour and 12 hours. However, the thing
that matters the most is that the wet wood chips should always be wrapped inside
an aluminum foil and small holes should be pierced all through the aluminum
This will also ensure even dispersion of smoked heat throughout the electric smoker, giving many desirable results.
Cooking methods alone is not enough to give you the best flavor when you are cooking in one of your electric smokers. Best wood chips for smoking are required too. It’s obvious that a wide range of woodchips produce a