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What’s the difference between wood chips and wood chunks?

Wood chips are used to add a smoky flavor when grilling. Deciding whether to use wood chips or chunks depends on what you’re cooking and how long you’re cooking. Wood chips are small pieces of wood and (even when wet) will burn very quickly, so these are best when cooking for a short amount of time, or if you’re just looking to get a little bit of smoky flavor in your meats.

Wood chunks, on the other hand, are great for creating smoke for a long period of time, also known as “low and slow” style cooking (like ribs or whole chickens). With both wood chips and chunks, you want to be sure not to let them burn too quickly. This will cause large bursts of smoke and make your food taste bitter. To keep this from happening, soak the chips (for 15 minutes) and chunks (for 30 minutes) in water. Make sure to let the wood drip dry for a few minutes, as you want the wood to be moist before adding to the fire, not soaking wet.

NOTE: Check the instructions on gas or electric smokers, as some smokers can only handle wood chips. Some models also allow you to mix the fuel types.

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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