View Full Version : Chip soaking water in the water pan?

11-25-2011, 08:54 AM
Every time I pour off the water from chips I've been soaking, I think -- I should just throw this in the water pan and be done with it. I've never actually done it though. I don't think it would result in anything bad, but I never want to risk it.

Has anybody tried it? Maybe I'm the only one in the world NOT doing that.

11-25-2011, 09:05 AM
Back when I soaked chips (don't bother anymore), I did that from time to time for giggles. Never really noticed any difference in the end product either way.

11-25-2011, 10:23 AM
On the water pan cookers we use, that's what rises to add moisture and flavor. If you would want to drink or eat that water then use it in the pan. I don't think it sounds very tasty. We quit soaking many years ago. We now get smoking wood that is of better quality than the hard, dry pieces found in the box stores. Much less flareups, heat fluctuatuion and much better flavor. Steve.

Lake Dogs
11-25-2011, 10:53 AM
Strain the water from the chips into the water pan and place the water pan in the smoker. Throw the chips away as they're now almost ruined except for lining the flower bed outside. Put in charcoal and new fresh DRY wood chips (or chunks) and light the fire. When your smoker is up to temps and there's thin sweet blue smoke (not the billowy white smoke produced by wet wood chips) put the meat in the smoker.

11-25-2011, 03:01 PM
Don't soak your chips. problem solved.

11-25-2011, 03:49 PM
OK, well there you have it. I'll stop soaking! I've always been a soaker and never really considered not soaking. I've been thinking of switching to chunks anyhow and this would pretty much solve this issue altogether!

11-25-2011, 04:42 PM
When I use chips, I make a double thick foil pouch. Put the chips in, seal it, then punch a few holes to let the smoke escape. Then, toss it in. I rarely use chips though, chunks are the way to go.

I used to soak my wood chips also, I'd be willing to bet there aren't too many of us here, that haven't.


11-25-2011, 04:48 PM
Im with mike just skip the soaking, its really a waste of time.

11-25-2011, 04:58 PM
I agree that the wood you buy at box stores sucks. I would think that in Colorado, real wood would be easy to come by. Check craigslist.


11-25-2011, 05:01 PM
I have a plank of wood from sonnys that I plan on chopping up and using it for chunk .. My problem with wood chips must be I don't let them burn before I close the lid? Just seems often my smoke isn't clean...

El Ropo
11-25-2011, 05:45 PM

No soaking, and try to use chunks instead of chips. If the smoke coming out of the exhaust is not thin blue to invisible, you are farking up.

Lake Dogs
11-25-2011, 06:51 PM
Often a picture is worth a thousand words. With that I'll show you what thin blue smoke looks like (it's ALLLLLMOST invisible). Really. White smoke; bad. Billowy smoke; bad. Blackish smoke; horrendous bad. Most instructions on most smokers frankly are wrong.

Here's a pic or two:

Seriously, the temps on the smoker (surface temp) was right at 250. The wood used in these pics was hickory. Good smokin' smoke is thin and has a light blue hue to it.

An old example pic of bad and good. Bad on the left (produced by using wet wood), good on the right. The wood applied to the fire was already warmed and dry. This is right before it got very thin, but it's still that light blueish hue:


jason p
11-25-2011, 09:42 PM
I was watching alton brown or americas test kitchen and they did a study on soaking wood chunks for twenty four hours and the water only soaked into the wood about a sixteenth of a inch. I do not soak wood at all, the wood will only smolder if they air flow is controlled.

11-26-2011, 08:49 PM
The BTU's needed to heat the soaked wood up to evaporate will just lower your pit temp unless you increase air flow. Chunks are the way to go. Chips can be used if that is all you have. Just wrap tight in foil and poke a couple holes to let air in and smoke out. They will smoke for quite a while this way!

11-28-2011, 05:00 PM
I've always had a ton of chips hangingf around as it seems every smoker I bought came with a abg or two. In my UDS I put a handful in the ashpan under my charcoal basket. Hot coals and ash dropping through create enough smoulder to produce nice blue smoke

11-28-2011, 07:48 PM
I use chunks also. With my setup the fuel goes in a bowl not a basket. I put in some charcoal then some wood chunks then more charcoal on top.

My setup uses an electric hot plate under the fuel bowl. The chunks just smolder with blue smoke once the charcoal is up and running.

When it is time for more fuel, I add charcoal but not additional wood chunks. By the time I may need more fuel, the smoke has already been absorbed into the meat ... no need for more.

11-28-2011, 08:51 PM
chips are for gassers. buy chunks. dont soak

11-28-2011, 09:09 PM
no need for me to chime in. they covered it

11-28-2011, 09:15 PM
Like others have said, I do not soak my wood. And, in 20-plus years of trying different liquids in my water bowl, I have NEVER tasted any difference in the meat.

By all means do it, and tell your friends that it is your secret to good BBQ. It will impress them, and you can have a good laugh at their expense. That is honestly part of the fun of making good Que -- making people who can't cook anything beyond toast think you have a secret that they are one of the few people on earth that know about. :becky:


11-28-2011, 09:31 PM
On tasting, it's all in the cooker, meaning design. Not selling, just saying. Steve.