How often to add wood chips to an electric smoker?

Apple Wood Chips for Smoker

Wood chips should be added to an Electric Smoker every 45 minutes. Two handfuls, approximately 30g of wood chips should be added each time.  This will allow for a thin layer to form on the smoking tray which will allow the wood chips to smoke faster than a thicker layer of wood chips. While the wood chips are smoking, preheat the next batch by leaving the wood chips on the surface of the smoker.  This will allow the wood chips to smolder quicker once in the smoking pan.

Wood chips now come in a wide variety of flavors, such as strawberry, apple, hickory, maple, mulberry, oak, and mesquite, to name a few. All add different nodes to your food, depending upon the particular type of food being smoked. For example, you can consider maple wood chips for smoking vegetables, steak, and cheese etc. Mesquite wood chips could be ideal for the majority of meats, particularly beef. Then there is an option of Mulberry wood chips as well, which is known for its suitability with poultry and ham. Finally, the oak wood chips are extremely preferable and suitable for the fish and red meat smoking. If you go well with the selection of the right wood chips as per the type of food you are cooking, then you can think about the quantity to add in different intervals for getting the best results.

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All you need to know
about adding wood chips in an electric smoker at different intervals:

This will hold true for most electric smoker brands such as Masterbuilt, Landmann, Char-Broil, Little Chief and Bradley smokers. You will have to play around with it in the beginning to see your flavor preferences.

Add wood chips at different intervals during smoking is not a clear cut job. Rather, you need to watch the amount of smoke being produced. When the wood chips start to smolder, a thick white cloud of smoke will be produced.  After that, it will become a clearer “blue smoke” that will be almost so faint that you can’t see it.  Then finally the wood chips are completely spent and there is no smoke produced.  In my experience, it’s usually 45 minutes from start to finish at 225.  If you are using a higher temperature or can no longer see smoke being produced.  Feel free to add wood chips in shorter intervals.

There is also an alternative for the above method, where you could go by wrapping in the wood chips into a foil. This should be followed by poking some holes throughout the foil paper so that maximum could span throughout the smoking area inside.

Depending upon the case that, whether you are going for a direct or indirect smoking approach, the need would be to add in more chips every now and then. For an indirect smoking approach, you should feed the smoker with at least two handfuls of wood chips of your preference after an interval of every 45 minutes.

You can get the best-smoked meat of your choice if you know the art of choosing the most suitable flavored wood chips for the meat that you are cooking. You can refer to the top section in order to get a better insight into this.

Moving on with the preferred flavored wood chips, you can also consider the cherry or maple chips when cooking poultry or pork, as that adds a bit of sweetness in the smoked meat, which usually people likes to have in such meat. Applewood chips is another option that is known to add some sweet smoke flavor as well. This particular wood chips added after every 45 minutes or so would complement the pork and chicken meat quite well.

Another authentic answer to know about the time to add more wood chips in an electric smoker is to do it at half the cook time for your preferred meat being cooked. In other words, you may also add wood chips when you see the meat being smoked has reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees F or so.

In case you notice that your preferred added wood chips are burning up too quickly, then a good approach could be to let them soak in water for good 30 to 60 minutes, before adding them in the electric smoker.

There could be no definite rule for how often to add wood chips in an electric smoker, but still, a good rule to follow is to go for changing the wood chips as per the condition of the existing wood chips. There are some people who add new wood chips on top of the existing ones, while some people prefer replacing the old one altogether. Both approaches are fine and the most critical thing is to check the quality of the smoke that you are getting out of the wood chips.