Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: July 27, 2023

The difference between the wood chunks, wood chips, and their use in a smoker lies in size.

Our smoking experts all agree that wood chips and wood chunks give what is inside the smoker a great smoky taste; wood chips just burn out faster.

Here are the main differences between smoking wood chips and chunks.

Quick Summary

  • The size difference between wood chips and wood chunks impacts their use in smoking, with chips burning out faster.
  • Wood chunks burn longer than chips, affecting the amount of smoke and the duration of smoking.
  • User preference varies, with some smokers preferring chips for their immediate smoke production and others favoring chunks for their longer burn time.

According to experts, some smokers are manufactured to take only smoking chips, while others can accommodate both chunks and chips [1].

This article contains expert opinions on the differences between smoking chips or chunks, and the first part will look at size differences.

Smoking Wood- The Size Difference Between Chips And Chunks

We will look at the size difference between smoking wood chips and smoking wood chunks in more detail in this section of this article.

We will discuss each one under its own subheading.

Smoking Wood Chips

wood chips

Wood chips for smoking are small pieces of hardwood that are used in most smokers that are manufactured to take only wood chips.

Experts suggest soaking wood chips to prevent them from burning to ash too fast.

Wood chips can start producing smoke almost immediately after being brought into contact with the hot coals.

To soak the wood chips requires a big enough container filled with water.

Soak the wood chips in the water for 30 minutes before using them in the smoker.

Wood chips are used mainly for personal use as smoking wood chunks or logs are preferred commercially.

Related: How To Use Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker - Guide

Smoking Wood Chunks

Wood chunks are bigger pieces of hardwood used in smokers that were manufactured to accommodate bigger chunks of wood; because of the size difference compared to chips, they don't have to be soaked in water.

Wood chunks take a little more time to produce smoke but will smoke much longer than wood chips.

Wood chunks are a popular choice for commercial use. Keep in mind that if certain foods, fruit, or vegetables are left smoking for too long, it gets a funny taste, especially when using the wrong type of wood, so smoking with wood chunks takes a bit of getting used to.

Experts bring out smoking recipes to make smoking with chunks easier.

Time Difference- Burning Time Of Chips And Chunks In Smoker

wood burning

The burning times of Wood chips for smoking and wood chunks for smoking are completely different because of the size difference.

In reference to the previous point in this post, we can see that wood chips are much smaller in size than wood chunks, causing the chips to burn out faster than the chunks.

Attempting to make wood chips last longer by soaking them in water does help, but chunks still last an average of about an hour longer than the wood chips.

It means that wood chips are perfect for small cuts, whereas the chunks will get the bigger cuts smoked successfully.

Experts can get the job done whether they use smoking chips or chunks.

Difference In The Amount Of Smoke From Chips And Chunks

wood chips getting smoked

When using a smoker, it makes sense to use wood chips or chunks that create a good amount of smoke to get the best results.

We can see that wood chunks will produce smoke for a longer duration because it burns longer.

A smoke ring on cuts of meat is a good indication of the correct amount of smoke; here is a link from an expert [2].

But some cuts do not need as much smoking, which means that the smoke from wood chips gives the desired outcome when the recipe from an expert is followed correctly.

Things start to go south when they are not done right, and that is why some people are just great at smoking meat, fruit, vegetables, and fish.

Smoker Users- Differences In Opinions About Chips And Chunks

wood chips in hands

Through research, we found that both wood chips and chunks are popular choices in smoking circles to get the perfect finished product.

Beginner smokers start off using wood chips but eventually also start to use wood chunks as their skills improve.

Using wood chips in a smoker requires a bit of know-how to get the correct amount of smoke to reduce the chance of having a different outcome as you would when using wood chunks, so here is a step-by-step guide on how to smoke using wood chips [3].

Some experts believe that wood chunks are the best option for smoking needs.

One expert who loves to use wood chunks for grilling and smoking is the same person who has published books like Project Fire and had tv shows by the same name and Project Smoke. He is a master at grilling and smoking.

Can you guess who this expert is yet?

This expert wrote a piece in 2019 stating, 'Whether you’re a barbecue or a griller; whether you cook on a grill or smoker, over charcoal or propane, hardwood chunks will make your food taste better.’ It is none other than Steven Raichlen.

Here is a link to his opinion on smoking with wood chunks and grilling with wood chunks as well [4].

Related Articles:


There is no disputing which type of smoking wood will have a vote as the best option for smoking, but that is not what this post is about.

So, in conclusion, all the differences between smoking wood chips and smoking wood chunks stem from the size of the wood pieces.

Expert smokers can get the same outcome from both chips and chunks, but they have their favorites.

Some smokers are made only to take wood chips, which makes it a great option for beginner smokers.

It was great to write this post about the difference between smoking chips and chunks; thank you for reading.


  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/difference-wood-chips-and-chunks-336236
  2.  https://www.seriouseats.com/cooking-out-how-to-grill-barbecue-or-smoke-meat-with-wood-chips-chunks-and-logs
  3.  https://www.stepbystep.com/how-to-use-smoker-with-wood-chips-84450/
  4.  https://barbecuebible.com/2019/11/05/how-to-use-wood-chunks-for-smoking-and-grilling/
Was this article helpful?

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *