Can I Use Wood Chips in a Pellet Smoker? (Highly Risky!)

If you’re the owner of a small-scale pellet smoker and want to try adding wood chips into your smoking process, whether for new flavors or just by way of experimentation, then this post is for you.

So, can I use wood chips in a pellet smoker? It is not recommended to use wood chips in pellet smokers, but only if you are willing to deal with their potential effects. Wood chips can ruin the quality of your pellet smoker. Wood chips will block the auger (a large screw for carrying wood pellets), and will possibly oversmoke the meat due to insufficient combustion.

If you have done this mistake and chips of wood have jammed up the auger of your pellet grill, you can check out this video on how to clean it.

Another reason for not using wood chips in pellet smokers is that they are used as a secondary fuel with wood pellets to fill the void. No, doubt wood chips will not affect the quality of food and add the smoke flavor to your meat. However, they will increase your use of fuel and decrease the efficiency of your pellet smoker. Moreover, using wood chips can cause problems such as smoke leaking out from around the door or leaving too much ash in your delicious cooked meat.

Bonus Read: Pellet Grills Under 500 Dollars

Can I use wood chips in a Pit Boss Pellet Smoker?

It is strictly not recommended to use wood chips in a Pit Boss pellet smoker. Pit Boss Pellet Smokers are not designed for replacing wood chips in the smoking process.

It is important to note that while you could fill your smoker with wood chips you will not be able to get enough heat to smoke a variety of different meats. In addition, it would be nearly impossible to maintain consistent temperature over the long and slow smoking process.

Pit Boss only recommends using its own wood pellets. They are cheaper and have better flavor than Traeger’s wood pellets. Pit Boss wood pellets just give off more dust which may cause some issues.

Can I Use wood chips in a Pellet tube?

Yes, you can use wood chips in a smoke or pellet tube to add a good flavor to the meat. But, make sure that wood chips are packed tightly for efficient burning. Pellet tubes are great to add extra smoky flavor to meat without damaging the parts of a pellet grill. You’ll have to fill the tube before lighting it on fire in order for your new mixture of wood chips and pellets to work properly.

You can use a small flame torch to light off wood chips in a smoke tube. However, one point I would like to highlight is that if you use only wood chips in a pellet tube, they could continue to produce smoke for up to 1 hour. 

Wood Chips vs Wood Pellets in a Smoker

Wood chips are the flakes of hardwood that have been sliced up to obtain different sizes and shapes. These can be used on the smoker like the regular charcoal, and also on a gas grill or other kind of grill.

Wood pellets are made from natural wood chips that are compressed into very small chunks. They can be used in your smoker, but also on a gas grill or other kinds of grill. Wood pellets have a higher calorific value i.e. they tend to burn hotter and more slowly with less consumption as compared to the wood chips.

There are many types of wood pellets out there and they use different processes to produce them. The thing about these pellets is that they have different powers, meaning that you need to be careful with their use depending on what kind of meat you’re smoking. For instance, too much power can easily make your meat taste like a smoked piece of wood. So when using them, it’s best to go for a very light smoke flavor.

The first thing you need to consider is the type of pellets that you prefer. There are two types: wood and fruit-based pellets. The first one is made from natural wood while the second one is made from compressed sawdust and fruit trees residues. These pellets are similar to ice chips when it comes to smoke control; they have a milder taste than regular woodchips.

The technique used to make these pellets will have a great impact on their quality, and therefore their results. Wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust and are very easy to use. Another advantage is that you don’t have to soak them in water or other liquids; in fact, you shouldn’t do that unless you want your grill to be ruined. This will cause some problems with the grill’s temperature and the smoke flow, plus it can damage the expensive components of the grill.

Check Out your Favorite Wood Chips!

Why Is It Needed to Soak Wood Chips in Water for Smoking?

The burning rate of wood chips is too high, due to which it can overcook the meat. Due to this, it is difficult to control the smoke of burning wood chips for its proper penetration in a cooking chamber.

A research was conducted on the effect of moisture of content in the wood chips. It was found that the wood chips with more moisture content had less heating value. This process can help to prolong the combustion and optimize the temperature necessary for the meat to cook, but on the other hand, it decreases the combustion efficiency. This results in an increase of carbon monoxide content in the surrounding air, which is dangerous for your health.

How Often to Add Wood Chips to Pellet Smoker?

You can add wood chips to the pellet smoker after every 2 to 4 hours. However, many people still use wood chips to add a strong smoky flavor to the meat. Adding more wood chips also increases the smoking time during which the food is exposed to the smoke of a wood chip.

Smoking is also a source of contamination of foodstuff with toxicants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A study was conducted to note the effect of smoking time on the concentration of toxicants. It was found that the concentration of these toxicants increased continuously with longer smoking periods.

So, the most common answer to adding wood chips to a smoker is when you don’t see any more smoke. The amount of time for adding wood chips depends on what you’re going to smoke and how much smokiness you like in your food.  As a general rule of thumb, you can add wood chips to a smoker after 30 to 45 mins, and then every 2 to 4 hrs later on.

Furthermore, you can also stop if you want as, after a few hours, the meat stops taking a smoke flavor.

Is Cedar a Recommended Smoking Wood?

No, cedar contains significant content of the resins that give off nasty-tasting soot and other carcinogens when burned.

If you’re looking for a new type of smoking wood to try out with your next batch of ribs, there are other options that may work better for you. Fruit woods like apple and cherry will infuse your meat with a mild sweetness and add some extra complexity to its flavor profile, while hickory, oak or pecan smoke with intense flavors that some people prefer for their smoky taste.