Do You Soak Wood Chips For Electric Smokers?

Electric smokers are a great alternative to traditional wood-fired smokers. These smokers use electricity to heat up the smoking chamber which can be used in a variety of ways.

Electric smokers often don’t need wood chips, but many models are designed to be compatible with them.

The smoker uses wood chips to create a unique flavor that you can’t get with any other cooking method. Wood chips give your food the “authentic barbecue” feel every good chef strives for. Wood chips can be used for smoking even when you use electric smokers.

Well with electric smokers you might find yourself asking, ”Do You Soak Wood Chips For Electric Smoker?, How long should you soak them? 

In this guide we will cover:

  • Whether or not you should soak wood chips to use in an electric smoker.
  • How long to soak wood chips for an electric smoker?
  •   And much more!
 Do You Soak Wood Chips for Electric Smoker

Why Do You Soak Wood Chips for Electric Smoker?

Wood chips will provide a smoky flavor and provide heat for the smoker.

Pre-soaking wood chips has been a popular practice among smokers to reduce the high potential burning temperatures of wood.
Smoking is meant to be a slow-cooking process that requires low temperatures maintained over an extended period.

However, with electric smokers, the need to soak wood chips has become less crucial.
Since electric smokers have inbuilt temperature controls, that ensure consistent heat levels. So the need for pre-soaking becomes unnecessary.

Soaking wood chips for smoking create a denser smoke

Some people still prefer to soak their wood chips for a more robust smoky flavor and longer burn time. Soaking wood chips beforehand adds moisture to the wood, which then turns to steam when heated.

This steam mixes with the smoke and permeates the meat, giving it a richer and more dense smoky flavor.

Ultimately, whether or not to soak wood chips for electric smokers comes down to personal preference and the type of smoking experience you want to achieve.

The soaked chips take longer to start smoking, potentially delaying the cooking process.

Despite the tradition of soaking wood chips, it is not necessary for electric smokers with precise temperature regulation.

Do you soak wood chips for charcoal smoker?

It’s recommended that you soak wood chips in your traditional charcoal smoker to help prevent them from burning quickly.

Smoking meat requires exposing them to low temperatures over a long period of time and it is believed that doing so with the wood chips will last longer.

When you add soaked wood chips to a charcoal smoker, they will start to smolder and produce smoke.
This smoke will impart a robust smokey taste to the food.

It may be more difficult to get the food to have a crispy exterior when we add wet wood chips to a charcoal smoker since they will produce more steam.

Due to the wood chips’ water content, adding soaked wood chips to a charcoal smoker may briefly put out the fire.

Because the wood chips must first dry out and evaporate their water before they can burn and emit smoke.
The smoker’s temperature may consequently briefly dip until the wood chips start to smolder and emit smoke.

This is generally not a major concern, as the heat from the charcoal will eventually dry out the wood chips and cause them to start smoking.

In fact, some people believe that adding soaked wood chips to a charcoal smoker can help to regulate the temperature and prevent the food from becoming overcooked or burnt.

People who want well-smoked juicier meats recommend using soaked wood chips in water to add moisture before cooking.

Water or Wine? Choosing the Best Soaking Liquid for Wood Chips in Electric Smokers

Wood chips are usually soaked in water. When it comes to adding more flavor to your food, you have a lot of different options.

You can use wood chips that are soaked in liquids(whisky, wine) other than water, which can enhance the flavors of the food.

It’s crucial to soak the wood chips in clean water. Avoid using hot water because it can cause the wood chips to release tannins, which will give off an unpleasant flavor.

This gives you more freedom to choose what kind of flavors go into your blend.

For centuries, wood was used to provide a smoky flame when it was burned.

It wasn’t until the 1800’s that people began to realize that soaking wet wood in creosote would create more smoke.

People started soaking their wood in paint thinner, which would make the wood produce even more smoke.

However, woodchips already come in different types and flavors like Oak and Hickory wood chips, both are famous for producing a lot of smoke.

But not everyone recommends soaking wood chips for electric smoker.

Some say it’s not worth the time it’ll take, while others will say that you should only do that if you’re looking for a specific type of flavor in your smoke.

How long to soak wood chips for electric smoker

How long you need to soak wood chips depends on the size of the wood chips.

If you’re using smaller wood chips that are less than the size of a quarter, they should be soaked for 1 to 8 hours.
Larger wood chips should be soaked for 24 hours to ensure they are properly hydrated before use.

It’s generally recommended not to soak wood chips for longer than 24 hours, as they can become waterlogged and produce less smoke.

How to use Wood Chips on Electrical Smoker?

Most electric smokers allow you to add wood chips. Like Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30″ has wood chips loading system that allows adding wood chips without opening the door.

If you want to use wood chips and find your smoker doesn’t do this, it’s not a problem!

For slower smoke put wood chips in aluminum foil and poke some holes. This gives the food a smoky flavor as it slowly cooks over a long period of time.

Or you can use wood chunks instead of wood chips.

One of the most popular ways is to use a tin. Take an empty tin can, put wood chips inside it and drill a series of holes across the lid.

Place it between the heating coils of an electric smoker and you are good to go.

You can also use a smoker box’ or a pellet smoker tube. People use both types of smokers, pellet tube smokers, and smoker boxes, for different purposes. Wood pellets are used for pellet tube smokers while wood chips are placed into a “smoker-box”.

Because these smoker boxes are durable, you can leave them in the bottom of your smoker permanently. Also, they provide great ventilation for your smoke.

“Less Is More” Technique

People generally think that wood chips always mean more smoke, but this isn’t the case. Too much of the smoke flavor will become overwhelming for some foods, and whatever item you’re smoking will lose its flavor and ruin it.

Wood chips are generally used for flavoring, not smoking. There’s only a small amount of smoke needed to make food flavorful and delicious.

When it comes to barbecuing, there are a lot of factors that go into the process. For example, you need to know what type of meat to use and how long to cook it.

You also need to find the perfect wood chip and smoker combo. This is because there’s a wide range of flavors and textures that can be produced depending on the conditions.


Do you soak wood chips for an electric smoker?

One of the things that makes electric smokers so much easier to use is the fact that they are powered by electricity. This means you can use soaked wood chips in your smoker with no worry of safety issues or other complications.

Deciding whether or not to soak your wood chips before use is completely up to you and your needs. Soaking wood chips for smoker in advance leads to a longer cook time and an added layer of flavor from the steam.

If you soak the wood chips too long, it will cause an uneven distribution of heat, which will result in burning certain parts before the rest is cooked.

Additionally, if your woodchips are soaked for an excessively long amount of time it can also ruin the flavoring that was carefully crafted by using the chips.


What should I soak wood chips in?

One of the most popular liquids to soak wood chips in is whiskey.
People have also soaked their wood chips in different liquids ranging from beer, wine, and brandy, to water.
It is important to dry them as thoroughly as you can before using them.

Can I soak wood chips in apple juice?

Yes, you can soak wood chips in any liquid, but it is important to remember that the liquids you choose will create different flavors.
Using fire-safe liquids like broth, wine, or fruit juice will allow for your wood chips to last longer.

Can I reuse soaked wood chips?

Yes, you can reuse them to smoke once they dry out. Spread your chips out on a dry surface and let them dry up in the sun.
Your chips will be fine! Don’t stack them too close together… they might mold up quickly.

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