How To Use Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker (2022 Guide)

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Even if your smoker isn’t built for it, learning how to use wood chips in an electric smoker is always helpful, since wood chips lend a smoky touch to the dish.

Electric smokers are all about cutting-edge technology and cutting-edge ideas. While they are more expensive than regular smokes, they are undeniably more effective. The food is heated by electricity in an electric smoker that utilizes wood chips to create smoke.


When it comes to smoking, you need to be especially cautious. Even the tiniest modifications can result in strange-tasting food. Your smoker should be in good working order, the wood chips should be dry, and your cooking abilities should be excellent. Only then will you be able to enjoy the ultimate smoked steak.

So, which kind of wood chips should you use? And how can you get more smoke out of an electric smoker by using wood chips? We’re here to help with all of these questions and more.

What Is An Electric Smoker?

An electric smoker is an outdoor cooking appliance that utilizes hot electric rods to smoke food. These smokers are cleaner to run than their charcoal-burning counterparts and can handle a larger range of designs. Almost all are made of cast iron or stainless steel.

A water tray, heating element, smoking chamber, and sometimes a wood chips tray are generally included. Electric smokers are powered by a regular outlet. The heating rod generates heat, which is used to smolder wood chips in the wood chip tray. Electric smokers provide the same amount of heat as traditional smokers, but they are considerably easier to operate.

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How Does An Electric Smoker Work?

An electric smoker can smoke meat with a surprisingly small number of components. It operates by heating a cooking chamber in which air circulates, convectively heating food. 

A cooking chamber, an electric heating element, grill racks, a water pan, and the possibility to burn wood alongside the electric heaters to give the meat its smoky flavor are all included in a unit.

How Much Wood Chips Do You Need?

Do you have any questions on how to use wood chips in an electric smoker? The amount of wood chips you’ll require is determined by your preferences. 4 cups of wood chips will burn for 3-5 hours is the easiest way to grasp this. So, if you’re going to smoke the food for six hours, 6-8 cups should suffice.

This is also dependent on whether or not your smoker is equipped to handle wood chips. Wood chips are kept in trays near the bottom of many electric smokers. If your smoker doesn’t have any, though, you can still make it work for them.


To store your wood chips, use an empty tin can. The top will have to be chopped off three-quarters of the way. After that, fill the tin can with chips and set it into the smoker. You may turn your standard smoker into a wood chip smoker this way. However, because too much air can cause the chips to burn, you must close the can’s lid.

3 Ways To Use Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker

Wood Chip Tray Method

Step 1

This method works best with an electric smoker that has a wood chip pan. The first step is to get your smoker ready by ensuring it’s clean and ready to use. Next, use the electric start ignition to start your smoker—Preheat the oven to roughly 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 C).

Step 2

Fill the water tray in your smoker with water to keep the food wet. To boost the moisture and flavor of the smoking chamber environment, add herbs and other spices to the water.

Step 3

Now it’s time to add the smoking wood chips. Remove the wood chip tray from the smoker and fill the bottom with dry wood chips. The number of wood chips you use will depend on your preferences and how long you plan to cook.

You may want to add enough to last the entire cooking time. If this is the case, we recommend filling the tray with dry wood until it is full. Always make sure the tray is stocked after enough time has passed for your food to be ready.

Allow 30 to 45 minutes for the temperature to rise. To assist you in measuring and adjusting your smoker’s internal temperature, you should utilize a thermometer probe.

Step 4

Once it begins to smoke, place your meal on the grilling racks. Every time you check on the wood chunks, open and close the vents to monitor the smoke emission. Check the tray regularly and add chips as needed.

This video will show you how:


Foil Pouch Method

Step 1

This strategy is excellent for smokers who don’t have access to a tray. However, you must first prepare your grill by plugging it in and increasing the heat. Next, fill the water pan with water to let moisture enter the chamber.

Step 2

Remove a piece of aluminum foil from the package and place it flat on the counter. You may have to cut the foil down to size. Then, fill the center of the foil with a handful of wood bits, about 1 cup.

Step 3

Crimp the edges of the foil and fold it around the wood chips. The wood chunks will stay inside the foil pouch while smoking this way. Next, poke holes in the top of the bag to allow an even amount of smoke to escape. Depending on how long you want to smoke, you may want to produce as many extra pouches as you desire.

Step 4

On your electric smoker, place the pouch directly above the heating element. The element should heat the bag, and smoke should begin to emerge gradually. Check the pouch every couple of hours, if possible.

Smoker Box Method

Step 1 

To achieve the most outstanding results with this method, you may wish to purchase a smoker box, but you can also create one yourself. A smoker box is a compact cast iron or stainless steel container used to store wood bits. A tin can can also be used.

The first step is to turn on your electric smoker and make sure it reaches the temperature you want.

Step 2

We’ll show you how to build a long-lasting smoker box. You can create a stainless steel one by poking holes in practically any form of stainless steel pan or container. Of course, you could choose the do-it-yourself method, in which case you’ll need an old tin can with no cover.

Step 3

Using a hammer, poke a few holes in the bottom of the tin can to allow oxygen to enter the wood chip area. To make a square, connect all of the holes with a hacksaw or other cutting tool. This tip will allow you to cook the meat with wood chips.

Step 4

Fill the tin container with wood chips once your electric smoker is heated. Depending on how long you plan to smoke, you can put as many as you like. Check the tin can regularly to see whether additional needs to be added.

Step 5

Cover the heating element with the DIY smoker box. As the electric smoker heating rod heats the dry wood, it will begin to smoke. To ensure that smoke stays within your electric smoker, keep the door shut most of the time.


7 Tips For Using An Electric Smoker To Cook Meat

  1. Prepare your grill by seasoning it. It would help if you seasoned an electric smoker before using it for the first time. The goal is to burn off any residue developed on the cooking racks, chip tray, or stainless steel housing throughout the production process.
  2. Use a temperature probe that you have on hand. Although many electric smokers have a built-in thermostat, it is often one of the lowest-quality parts of the device.
  3. Preheat the oven to the correct temperature. Each sort of meat smokes best at a different temperature range.
  4. Experiment with several types of hardwoods. Although not every modern electric smoker has a wood-burning option, the top smokers nearly invariably have. You can make your own bespoke wood blend in addition to a custom dry rub, marinade, or wet brine (which all the top outdoor cooks have).
  5. Mind your time. Electric smokers cook meat at a far lower temperature than a conventional charcoal or gas grill. so you may have to wait longer.
  6. Make sure you have enough room to cook. While you don’t want your smoker to take up too much space on your patio, make sure it has a large enough cooking area so you can roast your meats precisely.
  7. Maintain the cleanliness of your smoker. Electric smokers are appealing because they burn cleanly.


Without your preferred electric smoker, a healthy BBQ night out with friends is a waste of time. The primary source of smoke and flavor comes from wood chips. They don’t create heat, but they do give your steaks and burgers a nice smokey flavor. 

Anyway, to summarize, choosing wood chips should be done with caution. The slightest change can have a significant impact, even if you don’t realize it.

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