How Often To Add Wood To Smoker? An Ultimate Guide For BBQ Lovers

Smoked meats mixed with fresh veggies are a delectable complement to any meal and give every dish a distinct rich flavor. The method of smoking meat has been around for quite some time.

Whether you are a novice or an expert, you will soon realize that wood is an essential component in the smoking technique, regardless of the smoker you intend to use.

How often to add wood to the smoker? The answer varies depending on several factors, including the type, capacity of the smoker, and the type of wood. The general rule of thumb for refilling is every 35 to 40 minutes on average.

Need an in-depth explanation? Let’s dive into this article from Sunset Bar and Grill to learn more!

How Often To Add Wood To The Smoker? 

Here are some of the most famous smokers and their exact times to refill wood. Let’s take a closer look!

Electric Smoker

If your equipment is an electric smoker, you should add timber at 45-minute intervals as a general rule. Remember to refill at least two cups at the same time.

If your chips tend to burn too quickly, it’s better to soak them in water for approximately between 30 and 60 minutes before putting them inside the device. This action will help slow down the burning rate.

Electric equipment

Electric equipment

Offset Smoker

This model may be a little different from others, so the way you add chips is also not precisely similar.

Soaking wood in water is not suitable for this type. For others, it’s ideal for slowing down the burning speed, but this tip doesn’t work well with this machine.

Don’t add the chips right from the start. Instead, wait until the temp hits around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. At that time, you can refill more chips inside.

You need to add around 4 ounces in intervals of 10 minutes. This approach is somewhat more time-consuming and involves using a professional kitchen scale. Yet, the flavor and taste are worth it.

Gas Smoker

When it comes to this machine, you can add or change wood every 5 or 6 hours. In other words, you can choose to replace all burnt timber or refill two cups on the surface of used chips inside.

Charcoal Smoker

The frequency to add timber for this type is approximately every 30 to 60 minutes. Instead of using wood, you can consider briquettes because they burn slower.

For instance, a charcoal block with 15 pounds can burn more than 15 hours. This is suitable to smoke or grill a brisket.

If you are looking for some tips to use wood chips on a charcoal grill, you can watch this video:

Pellet Grill Smoker

Typically, this smoker burns from 1 to 3 pounds of pellets every hour. If you use this model, it’s necessary to put more wood inside every 5 to 6 hours.

Propane Smoker

For this type, you also do not need to soak the chips in water before putting them inside. Every time the smoke goes out, you can refill about 1/4 cup of timber.

For instance, if you smoke 1 pound of meat at 225°F, adding chips every 75 minutes is appropriate.

Masterbuilt Smoker

This is a straightforward option to use. You have to pour a couple of chips every 4 hours to keep it fueled when you start it.

It’s necessary to notice that you shouldn’t use pellets and soak the wood before adding to the equipment because of its design.

Stick Burners

The stick burner, also called the reverse flow smoker, only uses timber to operate.

You must supervise the heat of this smoker after 15 minutes while it is in use. You can replace the wood every 45 minutes when they tear down or when the temperature is low.

Stick burner

Stick burner

What To Consider Before Adding Wood To The Smoker?

Apart from the type of equipment you plan to use, there are two primary factors you must turn over your mind before putting more timber inside your device:

  • The size and capacity of the smoker
  • The type of wood.

The Size And Capacity Of The Smoker

How often you need to reload the timber depends on the size and capacity of your model. A large dive will need more fuel consumption without a doubt.

Assume you’re using the extra space to barbecue more giant meat at once. If you use a larger smoker, this implies the initial amount of fuel may need to be considerably higher.

Some individuals suppose that only a few bunches of chips are all enough to get the fire burning. It might also be two to four bits of hardwood if you are utilizing chunks.

This, again, will vary based on the amount of the smoker’s container and its capacity. Electric or pellet equipment is suitable for inexperienced people to operate.

In this way, you don’t need to worry about timber refill while getting adequately smoked meat.

The Type Of Wood

The wood will also affect how often to replenish the smoker’s wood supply. Hardwood is one of the most common varieties.

That said, the hardwood itself also varies widely in taste and composition. In particular, chips will burn much faster than chunks.

Moreover, each variety will suit each type of meat you intend to cook. For example, if you barbecue lamb, some kinds like cherry or mulberry will be the best choice to give good flavor.

The quality of wood will affect the taste and quality of your food. Also, high-quality timber means you don’t need to refill many times.

Wood chunks

Wood chunks

What Are The Greatest Types Of Wood For Smoking?

If you are looking for the best types of timber for smoking, here are the most highly recommended options among BBQ lovers:

1. Maple

It is a preferred gentle wood that emits a pleasant, sweet odor. It imparts a trademark dark, polished burgundy hue to more tender foods such as chicken, veggies, and sometimes smoky mozzarella.

2. Alder

It emits a light, pleasant aroma. It goes nicely with chicken and seafood, particularly when cooking salmon, frequently barbecued over alder boards.

3. Pecan

The flavor is moderate and sweet, but it won’t sear as long as hickory and oak. It’s ideal for quick-cooking foods, including salmon, ribs, or chicken.

4. Fruit

This type burns more quickly than hickory or oak and releases smoke with a slight fruity flavor. Because of these factors, it isn’t the ultimate pick for brisket; nonetheless, it is excellent for seafood, chicken, and pig.

5. Hickory

It’s among the most common options for red meat that needs to be cooked for a long time. It burns cleanly, like oak, but boasts a somewhat more fantastic taste and smokiness, similar to bacon.

6. Oak

When you barbeque with white or post oak, you’ll find that the smoke imparts a mild taste, slightly sweet flavor to your meat, like Kentucky whiskey.

7. Mesquite

This sort burns fast and robust, releases a lot of smoke, and brings a delectable, earthy aroma to your meat. It’s great for rapid cooking, such as steak.

Wood logs

Wood logs


Can You Use Mixed Wood To Smoke Meat?

Yes! In fact, some combinations may create your desired flavor!

To increase the taste of your food, you can blend chips. The only thing to remember is that not all types are suitable for smoking.

How Long Do You Need To Add Wood Chips For Smoking?

To maintain the smokey flavor lasting for longer smokes, use a bag of chips every 30 minutes. When 2–3 fistfuls of chips are put on high heat for approximately an hour, they will smoke.

How Long Do Chunks Last In A Smoker?

The answer is around 20-30 minutes! Quality cooking pieces will ignite rapidly and burn gently, delivering a smoky taste right away and continuing for the duration of your dish.

What Wood Should You Avoid When Smoking?

Not all types of timber are suitable for smoking. It would be best to avoid some varieties, including spruce, redwood, cypress, fir, and cedar.

That’s because these trees contain a high amount of terpenes and sap, leading to food poisoning.

Spruce logs

Spruce logs

In A Nutshell

This article has eventually reached the bottom of the commonly asked question: how often to add wood to the smoker? To sum up, the answer depends on several factors, but the general rule is every 35 to 40 minutes.

Besides, you should be aware of some types of wood that are not suitable for smoking meat. Hopefully, this article will be helpful for you.

If you have any further questions, you can ask us in the comment below. Thanks for reading, and see you in the next post!

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