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Topic: Watered Down Chips . . . . From: Jeff,
Subject: Water Invested Wood Chips
My Great Great Grandpappy taught me NOT to soak wood chips since even though it slows the burn rate down it also generates SOOT. He always said it is much better to wrap the wood chunks with aluminuim foil and poke some holes in it which serves the same purpose without the SOOT. Makes sense to me but you seldom here that from a published expert. What do you think?
Just a Nebraskan that moved to Texas
We grandfathers stick together. However, the laws of physics flex neither for age nor sagacity.
Soot is the condensed result of incomplete combustion of gasses produced when wood is heated. This may be from lack of oxygen or insuficient temperature or both.
Rather than intervene in a family matter, let me explain that I recommend neither of the above. Normally, meat should not be exposed to the gasses of burning woods, but only the the heat of the coals thereof. There is more than enough smoke flavoring left in the coals. However, if you are cooking with gas or if you are broiling over poor quality charcoal and have only a few moments to add smoke flavor, I advocate a few green twigs/short pieces of small limbs from a good tree.
If you feel you need to add wood chips or chunks to your coal bed in order to achieve the taste that you want, it should not be enough that any significant amount of soot would be formed using either your GGGrandfather's or your method.
Enjoy your GGG and your cooking,