How To Keep Wood Chips From Burning In Smoke- Effective Preventative Measures

Are you also tired of your wood chips burning in smoke? Implement these effective preventative measures that we have listed in this article, which are a perfect solution for how to keep wood chips from burning in smoke. 

If you want to establish yourself as the master of charcoal grilling, then you need to focus on mastering the act of keeping wood chips from burning in smoke. When wood chips catch fire, your steak will be ruined long before you even get to taste it, so you must be careful.

While grilling, if wood chips catch fire, then they are going to burn too quickly and will result in producing a white, thick, and bitter smoke, which will essentially ruin the flavoring of your food. Therefore, you should learn methods for how to keep wood chips from burning in smoke. 

How To Keep Wood Chips From Burning In Smoke

We all love devouring the smoked barbecue that manifests as an outcome of the magic in a charcoal grill with wood chips. However, barbecuing is a sport that requires an individual to have a lot of practice and patience to be perfect at it. 

Even though many factors determine the cooking of the meat, such as the used sauces, cooking temperature, and time, a crucial determinant is also the wood chips used and how the fire throughout the procedure is regulated to affect the product on the grill. 

When it comes to how to keep wood chips from burning in smoke, there are multiple effective preventative measures that you can resort to, namely: soaking wood chips in water before use, choosing the suitable wood, limiting the amount of oxygen reaching the wood chips, and placing wood chips in an aluminum foil or a can. 

Effective Preventive Measures 

Soaking Wood Chips 

Before you proceed to grill meat, soak your wood chips in water  two hours for chunkier chips and at least for thirty minutes for splintery chips. The primary goal behind soaking wood chips is to maintain the wood at a combustion level and for it to smoke without a lit fire. 

The various advantages of soaking wood chips in water is that soaked chips are more efficient at producing smoke than dry chips. Remember, for tender, smoky, and juicy steak, you want the smoke to cook and infuse your steak in its meat layers, not fire. 

water soaked

Additionally, with dry wood chips, there is a likely chance for the wood chips to catch fire, but these chances are significantly minimized when wood chips are soaked in water prior to barbecuing.

Moreover, when wooden chips are soaked, the quantity of the wood chips needed for barbecuing also decreases because soaked chips take longer to burn and are more lasting compared to dry chips. 

With soaked wooden chips, you can greatly enhance your barbecuing skills and prevent the fire from burning the chips into smoke, and as an added benefit, have the meat cooked evenly without any uncalled-for interruptions. 

Choosing Right Wood 

The first and foremost consideration that you must make is choosing the right wood you will be using in your smoker. Choosing that wood that is up to your task’s standard should be your aim.

pick the right one

Unseasoned and green wood that is still fresh and young is liable to catch fire and quickly reach its point of combustion. Whereas seasoned wood is harder to control in the grill, especially when the wood has been left to be in the open air to dry out for several months, or the wood has been dried up in a kiln.

Out of the two, although seasoned wood is hard to regulate when it comes to burning, it is a better option than unseasoned wood because it is sturdy enough to hold the heat in a singular location and burn without bursting into flames. Thus, will be keen on providing smoke to the meat in the griller. 

Limiting Oxygen 

Another preventative measure that you can take to keep wood chips from burning in smoke is to limit the amount of oxygen or air that reaches the meat in the smoker. An ideal of doing this is playing around with the vents in the smoke until you find the sweet spot that provides a nice air circulation, simultaneously promoting a healthy smoke outlet for the blue smoke. 


Smoke is a secret preparatory ingredient required to barbecue your steak in the desired manner. Depriving or limiting the amount of air reaching the smoker is crucial as it would prevent the wood chips from burning while ensuring the accurate kind of smoke preparing your steak. 

One way to control the air is to open the vents and the chimney of the grill partially. Do not leave the vents closed because you want some smoke to have an outlet, the blue smoke. 

A slight opening of the vents creates a modest room for combustion that is not strong enough to transform the smoke into a fire, burning wood chips. 

Placing Wood Chips In Aluminum Foil/ Can

A remedy for preventing wooden chips from burning is to wrap them in an aluminum foil. It is an excellent option as it works well for dry and wet wood chips and keeps all the unwanted fire away from directly affecting wooden chips. 

Take a small, neatly cut-out piece of aluminum foil and place some wooden chips at the center of it. Avoid overloading the aluminum foil with wood chips, but take a moderate quantity. Then, fold the aluminum foil from all four sides to enclose the wood chips in it safely. 

Placing Wood Chips In Aluminum Foil/ Can

Next, using a sharp object like a form or a stick, poke holes on the upper side of the wrapped aluminum foil around the chips so that the smoke can keep coming out once and after they have been placed on the grill.

However, when utilizing this preventative measure, you must keep an eye out and continuously check the aluminum foil to see if it has smoked out. As soon as it smokes out, replace the foil and the wooden chips.

To save time and make your life more convenient, make multiple foldings of the wooden chips in aluminum foil before using the grill. Depending on how long the grill will be used, make aluminum foldings so you do not have to engage in the procedure over and over again when your old aluminum foil wrapping smokes out.


Now that we have stated several of the most effective preventative measures for how to keep wood chips from burning in smoke, you should be implementing these methods to cook your steak the way you want. If, in a case, one measure does not work for you, skip and try the next one because out of the four, we are certain for at least a preventative measure to be your rescue guide for grilling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do my wood chips catch fire?

Your wood chips possibly catch fire because the wood you are using is unseasoned, which is more susceptible to burning, catches fire easily, and reaches its combustion point quickly. as well if you want to prevent wood chips from catching fire, it’s important to soak them in water before use, maintain a controlled temperature, and ensure proper storage and handling.

How long do wood chips last in a smoker?

The number of wood chips you use determines the time they last in the smoker. Also, soaked wood chips in water last longer than dry wood chips. if you put stander then wood chips typically last for about 30 to 60 minutes in a smoker, depending on the temperature and type of wood used.

Should you moisten wood chips before smoking?

Yes, moistening the wooden chips before smoking has multiple advantages, such as they produce more smoke and do not burn as easily as your conventional dry chips and produce more smoke for flavoring.

How do you store wood chips for smoking?

You can store wood chips outdoors, away from any walls and a water flow because if the wood gets wet, it often becomes soggy. Also, always keep your wood chips when storing them on an elevated shelf. you can also store wood chips for smoking in a cool, dry place in an airtight container to keep them from absorbing moisture or odors.