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How to Use Wood Chips in an Electric Smoker

How To Use Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker

Electric smokers are all about new technology and innovative modernized ideas. While they tend to cost more than traditional smokers, it’s no lie that they work better too. An electric smoker uses electricity to heat up the food. And they use wood chips to provide the smoke.

With smoking, you want to be extra careful. Even the minutest changes can result in food that tastes odd. Your smoker should be well-functioning, wood chips dry, and cooking skills strong. Only then can you have the perfect smoked steak.

So exactly what type of wood chips should you use? And how much? And how to use wood chips in an electric smoker to get more smoke? We’re here to answer all this and more.

What is an electric smoker?

How To Use Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker

An electric smoker uses electric power to smoke up your food. Electric smokers are powered by the electric supply in your house. Normally, these smokers cook the food at relatively high temperatures. They use a cup of water to produce the smoker and a wood chip tray at the bottom. The wood chip tray helps add flavor to the smoke and to keep the smoker burning.

Electric smokers are definitely not as cheap as traditional smokers. However, they provide more power, more control, and more versatility. With the correct recipe and wooden chips, you can get the perfect barbecue night. And if you’re wondering how to use wood chips in an electric smoker, then we have it all summarized.

How much wood chips for an electric smoker?

Wondering how to use wood chips in an electric smoker? The exact amount of wood chips you’ll need depends on your preferences. The best way to understand this is that 4 cups of wood chips will burn for 3-5 hours. So if you plan on smoking the food for 6 hours, 6-8 cups should be optimal.

This also depends on whether your smoker is designed for wood chips. Many electric smokers have trays near the bottom to keep the wood chips. However, if your smoker doesn’t have any, you can still optimize it for them.

Use an empty tin can to hold your wooden chips. You’ll have to cut the top off three-quarters of the way. Then load the tin can with the chips and place it inside the smoker. In this way, you can convert your regular smoker into a wooden chip smoker. You need to close the lid of the can, as too much air can cause the chips to burn up.

How long do wood chips last in electric smokers?

Many people don’t know how to use wood chips in an electric smoker or for how long. Wood chips inside electric smokers can last for a while. You’ll especially need to be concerned about this, as many wood chips tend to not heat up at all. This depends on the quality of the brand you’re using.

4 cups of wood chips should keep you going for up to 3-5 hours. However, in many cases, the wood chips might not last as long. This can be due to bad wooden chips or due to some error on the user’s part.

If you leave too much air in the wood chip pan, then this can cause a problem. For one thing, your wooden chips will start burning. This will reduce the smoke and increase the heat. The best way is to make sure the wood chip pan is completely sealed shut. This can also be a manufacturing fault, as some pans might not close properly.

Apart from that, wooden chips that are wet might give too much smoke. If you want that, then that’s good! Otherwise, make sure your chips are dry before putting them in. Follow the instructions on the wood chip packet very carefully. Also, make sure to use only hardwood chips. Softwood chips burn very easily and give off very little smoke. Knowing how to use wood chips in an electric smoker isn’t as important as knowing which ones you need to use.

Best ‘how to use an electric smoker‘ video

It’s never easy to read instructions from a manual. Most of the time, we need a visual demonstration of how the electric smoker works. Firstly, we recommend checking your smoker for any DVDs on how to operate it. If you have one, then it’s all good and settled.

How To Use Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker

But if you don’t, then don’t worry. We have the perfect video for you. In this, the narrator explains all about using electric smokers. She highlights some easy steps to get your cooker started. The video is short and concise and to the point. Take a look for yourself if you want to learn how to use wood chips in an electric smoker.

How to Use Wood Chips in an Electric Smoker

Electric smoker for beginners

Operating an electric smoker is not rocket science. But it’s not a child’s play either. Here’s how to use wood chips in an electric smoker.

In order to use an electric smoker, you must let it run empty for about an hour. This is to let odors, dust, and other residue to be washed out. This is known as seasoning. Then, after this, while your smoker is plugged in and turned on, add the wood chips in the chip tray. This tray or pan should be near the bottom right of your electric smoker.

Next, preheat your smoker to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the smoker like this for about 45 minutes. Preheating helps to get it ready for cooking! Once the smoker is done preheating, put in your favorite meals on the rack! Crank up the heat to however much you need, and start cooking. Look at the recipe to see how long it should take to the smoker. Usually, 3 hours is a minimum for barbecues.

How To Use Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker

How to get more smoke from an electric smoker?

The easiest way to get more smoke from an electric smoker is to use slightly damp wooden chips. The extra water will add more vapor to your cookout. Dry chips won’t work so well if you want more smoke than usual.

Or you can use a pellet tube. Pellet tubes are handy accessories that provide more smoke to your meal. These can be bought in almost every online market and hardware store. They’re a great way to add smoke to your food and maintain a nice juicy flavor.

Electric smoker wood chips - Wet or dry?

So now the big question is; should you use your wood chips wet or dry? Both have their own benefits, and it really just depends on how you want to cook. If you are fond of plank cooking, then you might want to consider soaking your wood chips. This will not only give them more smoke but also prevent the plank from burning. It should be noted that when you soak the wood, the smoke that comes from it is actually steam. This can help increase the moisture and temperature in the cooking area.

Dry wood chips are best for any other kind of cooking. Unless you want extra smoke, you’re better off with dry wood chips. In fact, some experts suggest that the wood chips should be completely dry before you use them. If the chips are slightly damp, try patting them with a soft cotton cloth to get the moisture out.


A wholesome barbecue night out with your friends is nothing without your favorite electric smoker. And an electric smoker is pretty much useless without its wooden pellets. Wood chips are your primary source of smoke and taste. They don’t provide heat, but they provide the smoke for your steaks and burgers. And without knowing how to use wood chips in an electric smoker, your cooking skills won’t even matter.

To summarize everything, one should choose wood chips very wisely. You might not realize it, but even the slightest change can cause a drastic effect. All it takes is just a bit of moisture to change your entire cooking game. There’s a reason why certain recipes call for dry wood.

With that being said, wet wood chips are still of some use. They give you extra smoke, more heat, and more moisture. So your steaks don’t come out dry and chewy. In the smoky environment, it is crucial to keep the meat soft and juicy.

So always remember to get the right kind of wood chips.

Bon appetite!

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