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Modern Meets Traditional: Using Wood Chips in An Electric Smoker

Smoking meat is a practice that’s survived thousands of years within society. It’s popular among Americans for its flavorful, smoky taste and is the go-to cooking method during holidays like Independence Day or Labor Day. Grilling has come a long way since people first started cooking all cuts of meat. Now, instead of the regular coal grill, people now have something called an electric smoker.

Electric smokers use electricity to heat food. It’s made the process of smoking more convenient for many people. However, as a result, it also took away the smoky taste that smoked meat was popularly known for. Luckily, there is a way to get that smoky smell and taste back: wood chips for electric smokers.

Vertical electric smokers

Benefits of Using Woodchips with Electric Smokers

Most electric smokers give users the option to insert woodchips into the grill. Woodchips add a smoky flavor and fragrance to the meat by blanketing it in savory white smoke that slowly seeps into it as it cooks. This way, you don’t lose the delicious smokiness of smoked meat while using this type of smoker. 

The great thing about woodchips is that they come in various kinds, including cherry, apple, hickory, and oak. You can try out different woodchips to achieve unique and flavorful results with your electric smoker. If you’re interested in learning how to use woodchips to flavor your meats, you can read more details here.

wood chips for smoking meat

How to Use Woodchips with Electric Smokers

Now that you know the benefits of using woodchips with electric smokers, let’s look at how you can start using them.

There are three main techniques you can try if you want to start using woodchips with an electric smoker:

1. The Foil Pouch

An old-fashioned foil pouch should do the trick if your electric smoker doesn’t have a built-in wood chip tray. You can use this foil pouch to store your woodchips while it's inside your electric smoker.

To get started, perform the following steps:

Step 1:Get a piece of aluminum foil and cut it to size. Place it flat on a counter or table.

Step 2:Grab a handful of your chosen woodchips and place them in the middle of the foil.

Step 3:Fold the foil to cover the woodchips, ensuring they won’t fall out of the sides.

Step 4:Take a toothpick or another sharp object and use it to poke holes into the foil pouch. This will be where the smoke will come out later during smoking.

Step 5:Place the pouch inside the electric smoker and the meat.

*Note: Make a few extra foil pouches to add to the smoker throughout the process.

smoke brisket

2. With a Wood chip Tray

If you’re one of the lucky people who have a woodchip tray pre-installed in their smoker, this is how you start using woodchips:

Step 1:Clean the electric smoker and pre-heat it to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 to 40 minutes. Use a wireless meat thermometer to measure the smoker's ambient temperature and the meat's internal temperature.

Step 2:Take out the water tray and fill it with water. This keeps the moisture in the electric smoker just right. You can also add spices and herbs to the water to add more flavor to your smoked meats.

Step 3:Next, remove the woodchip tray and add your choice of woodchips. The number of woodchips you use will depend on how long you’ll be smoking meat. Remember to keep adding new woodchips to the tray every hour of cooking time to keep the flavors rich.

Step 4:Place the meat on the racks and start smoking.

smoker box

3. The Smokebox

Smokeboxes are pretty easy to make. Look for any stainless steel box and poke holes into it using a hammer and a small nail.

If a DIY smokebox isn’t your style, you can buy one from any department or home improvement store near you.

To start using a smoke box, you just:

Step 1:Preheat your electric smoker to your desired heat.

Step 2:Put your woodchips into the smokebox. Place the smokebox inside the smoker along with the meat.

Step 3:Keep the lid closed to maximize your smokebox's benefits. Keep adding woodchips to your smokebox throughout the whole smoking process to keep a consistent temperature.

And that’s how you can use woodchips with an electric smoker.

smoking meat with woood chips

How Do I Prevent Woodchips from Catching Fire in an Electric Smoker?

It’s not uncommon for woodchips to catch fire in electric smokers. To prevent this from happening, consider soaking your woodchips before using them with your electric smoker. You can also try using the foil pouch or smokebox method to prevent heat from directly contacting the wood chips.


Woodchips can improve the fragrance and flavor of all cuts of meat, such as pork butt or a rack of ribs. Now may be a great time to start if you haven’t used this cooking process.

Related Reads:

smoke meat


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