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Jun 6, 2012 04:59 PM

smoke boxes on grill

wood chip boxes are advertised many places. i saw one that went directly on the crate of a grill and the meat was directly over the chips. can this be done? i was told that if that was done, the meat would taste like smoke, not smoked meat. that the meat would not be edible. is this correct? thanks

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  1. Do you mean the chip box rests on the grill surface and the meat rests directly on the wood chips?
    The Cuisinart® Wood Chip Smoker Box goes on the grill and generates smoke in the grill's enclosed environment but the meat doesn't go "on" the box.

    1. The answer to your question is "no". Not if done properly. However, if you kill it with smoke (too much smoke for too long a period of time), then yes, it will be inedible. It will move past tasting like smoke and taste way too bitter for you to eat.

      5 Replies
      1. re: 1POINT21GW

        I'm still wondering how that happens. I've pounded ribs and brisket with smoke in the past and have yet to have that happen to me. I'm sure it's real, but "too much smoke" is a phenomenon I've yet to encounter.

          1. re: Uncle Bob

            I've got a pretty simple Char-Griller Pro with a side smoke box. I usually load up the side smoke box with charcoal and just set hunks of wood on top of the charcoal. I use the vent to control the temperature and generally just cook the meats in the middle of the main grill box. Keep the temp around 225 and use a digital probe to measure the heat.

            For pork and beef, I generally use a mixture of oak and hickory. If poultry is in play, I may switch out the oak for maple and use a fruit wood like apple or cherry.

            I know you can over-smoke meat. I've just never been able to do it......Yet. Knock on wood.

            1. re: Db Cooper

              I've seen those ~ Have a friend that uses one (sans fire box) as a grill. ~~ Several years ago I reduced my inventory of cookers. Kept a few kettles, etc for quick/easy grilling and a Klose 48" cooker for ribs, butts, briskets, poultry etc. It's a pretty tight pit. As long as I keep the "exhaust pipe" wide open and use the "accelerator" (air intake) to help control the fire I don't have any problems. ~ Use a majority of Oak with some hickory burned down to coals/embers...and an occasional fruit (Cherry) wood...mostly on poultry.

              Have fun!

              1. re: Uncle Bob

                That's the nice thing about the Char-Griller. I can use it as a grill when I want to by just using the main chamber or as a smoker. It is kind of a 2 in 1. And while I know there are higher quality units available on the market, it's hard to beat value-wise as the whole unit cost less than $200 total. For those just starting out and looking to take their BBQ to the next level, I think it is the best way to go and I'd highly recommend it.

      2. I put the smoker box over the flame on one end of my grill and the meat on the other end with no heat beneath it, then smoke low and slow. Not as strong a smoke as you get in a true smoker, but definitely a good addition.

        6 Replies
          1. re: AdamD

            Yeah, I'm not sure what you mean by 'directly over the chips', but I have one of those basic little smoker box things, (looks like a paperback book made of metal, the slotted lid drops onto the box which holds the soaked chips) and I usually put the smoker box over the left-side burner (I take the grate off it) and the meat over near the right side of the grill (indirect heat, indirect smoke) and then just close the lid. Works great....maybe not so well as a dedicated smoker, but I'm very happy with it. The chips in it will usually burn to ash within ten-fifteen minutes, so you don't really get an overpowering smoke flavor unless you keep putting new chips into it as your meat cooks. The only complaint I have with it is that since you need a flame to smoke your chips, and I can't exactly turn on a 'partial' burner, I can't cold-smoke as effectively as you can with a charcoal smoker, which can make a lot more smoke for a lot less heat.

            1. re: tonifi

              I get a lot more time out of the chips by soaking them for at least an hour before use, and adding some of the fine pellets, dry, made for a Cameron stove top smoker. Hours of smoke, actually.

              1. re: mcf

                I'd recommend using a foil packet for chips as you'll get the same effect without cooling off the unit. The whole "Soak The Chips" idea has been proven to be sort of a fairy tale:

                Here's another myth busted: It is conventional wisdom that you should soak wood before using it to slow its burning. I disagree. In separate batches, I took wood chips and wood chunks labeled "apple", and soaked them 12 hours in room temp water. I weighed them on a fairly precise digital postage scale before soaking. After soaking I patted the exterior lightly with paper towels and weighed them to see just how much was actually absorbed. Chunks gained about 3% by weight and chips about 6%. I cut the chunks in half and penetration was only about 1/16". DOH! That must be why they make boats out of wood! Wood doesn't absorb much water!

                If you toss wet wood on hot coals, the small amount of water just below the surface will evaporate rapidly, negating any effect of soaking, and the wet wood will have the deleterious effect of cooling off the coals when the goal is to hold the coals at a steady temp. For charcoal grills, put the wood right on the coals. No need for foil packets or metal containers. For gas grills, scroll down for more info.


                1. re: Db Cooper

                  I think the chips being wet on the outside just stops them from flaming up and burning the outside of the meat. If you're accounting for that, or using the chips to get the charcoal going before the meat is on, I agree that there's no need to soak.

                  1. re: Db Cooper

                    I fill the box with water, I put it on the top grate and I have a strong sustained smoke fragrance for an extended period of time. YMMV.

                    I already make amazing ribs on my gas grill. ;-)