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Getting wood chips to smoke

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Getting wood chips to smoke

Eric Shamow | Jul 8, 2004 10:08 PM

I'm attempting to barbecue using a Weber Gas Grill, and am somewhat frustrated by the results. I understand that there are better ways to barbecue, but I'm working with what I have and I suspect I'm doing something wrong...

The Weber grill I'm using uses flavorizer bars as heat diffusers. I fill a cast iron box with wood chips (I used to flip one of the bars over and fill it with a pouch of chips, as is often suggested, but bought the box a while back in the hope that this would solve my problem). I set this box over the front burner in the corner nearest the cross-igniter, underneath the grilling surface. It's extremely difficult to get the chips to smoke -- I've tried a variety of different chips, soaked and unsoaked -- and the best I can usually do is to push the burner to "high" for about half an hour, which gets the chips to smolder nicely.

However doing this, even with just one burner on, pushes the temperature inside the grill to around 400 degrees. Since even soaked chips only last so long, when I'm barbecuing for hours I must change the chips several times, meaning that the grill must spend a *lot* of time cranked up to high. This is gilling my food rather than smoking it -- I've been advised to keep the grill temperature between 200 and 250 as much of the time as possible.

I've given some thought to getting the replacement pouch of chips to smolder on my stovetop, and then bringing it out, but this strikes me as unnecessarily dangerous -- I don't want that much smoke indoors and I don't want to carry the chips across my living room to get out to the grill.

Any suggestions for keeping the smoke going in my grill? I'd imagine that, as no search I've done has turned up an answer to this problem (or many people experiencing it), I'm doing something wrong...but what?

Thanks in advance.

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