Thursday, April 29, 2021


Tom did pay attention to our tips on how to store wood chips!
Tom did pay attention to our tips on how to store wood chips!

 It is one of our top questions. Wood storage. Where to store wood, how to store wood, temperature ideal for storing wood, shelf life of stored wood. If you are an avid follower of our readings, you are likely familiar with our two cartoon characters, Tom and Bert. Thru these characters, SmokinLicious® has been able to guide millions of home grilling and smoking enthusiasts on techniques and tips to make every wood-fired cooking event a success.

Here are some great lessons to learn from Tom’s wood storage mistakes.

Tip #1

Tom having issues lighting his fire

Tom is using a traditional charcoal grill. One of the first tips concerns the charcoal. Be sure it is super hot (gray in color) and that once you add the wood chunks or chips to the hot coals, you have your lid ready to go on.

This is when the difference between hardwood that has some measurable moisture versus one that is too dry to register determines if smoke vapor will be produced. No moisture means no smolder. That in turn means no smoke vapor to infuse your foods.

Tip #2

image of wood chips on the open picnic table

Tom admits that he did nothing special to store his extra wood chips. He made the mistake of leaving the leftover chips exposed to the elements – sun, rain, air. These elements can cause the wood to lose moisture much faster, especial when the product is a wood chip.

Moisture depletes much faster in chips than in chunks. All wood needs to be stored under proper conditions regardless of the size of the pieces. Cooler temperatures like those in your refrigerator are best which is why many people find garages and basements to be ideal.

Tip #3

Chef Bert upset that Tom left his wood chips outside

Tom’s friend, Bert, is quick to point out that wood does require proper storage. If you want to be sure any extra wood will be good material for your next grilling/smoking event, take the time to store it properly.

A cool, dark, dry location is ideal. If you are considering a garage or basement, be sure the wood is not set directly on any cement flooring or additional moisture can be drawn in from the cement making the wood too wet. That is when mold can set in!

You can use just about anything to store the wood: cardboard box, plastic crate with air holes, metal crate or basket, wood box.

Tip #4

Chef Bert discussing how to store wood chips properly

When you want to use hardwood for flavor essence infusion, moisture is important. Without any measurable water level in the hardwood, what was intended to be used as a flavor enhancer literally becomes a fuel wood.

Just like the seasoned firewood used in the home fireplace or wood stove, wood that dries out too much produces more heat with less aromatic. Dry wood added to charcoal equipment will become fuel, just like the charcoal. No long burst of smoke will result as the dry wood burns up too quickly. This is not the outcome you want when hot smoking food.

Learn from Tom’s mistakes and properly store your hardwood chunk and/or chip investment. By taking the time to store the wood correctly, you get the longest value from your purchase.

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