Making Woodchip Foil Paks

For grill smoking, woodchip foil paks are easy to make and easy to use. Use them in gas or charcoal grills or in your meat smokers. The wood chips can be used dry or soaked in water first. Dry chips will start smoking quicker, and produce thicker smoke for a short time. Soaked chips will take longer to start smoking, and produce less dense smoke for a longer time.

Use dry chips for smaller cuts of meat, fish and other seafood, or vegetables. These don't require a lot of smoking time, so it's important that the smoke is produced quickly. Soaked chips are best when smoking big cuts of meat like briskets, pork roast, ribs and whole chickens, which need to be smoked for hours. If soaking chips, just place them in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave them for 30 minutes or so.

How to Make Woodchip Foil Paks

First, tear off a square of aluminum foil and pile on a handful of soaked or dry woodchips. Place them off center a bit, so the foil can be wrapped around easily.

Begin wrapping the foil around the chips. Leave a couple of inches of space on the ends so they can be sealed easily.

Continue wrapping, flattening the ends and folding up over, towards the center of the paks.

Prick a couple of holes in the top of the foil pak, so the smoke can escape easily. It's important that the holes are on top. If the smoke escapes from the bottom it usually ignites, burning the smoke away and increasing the temperature of the grill.

Place the woodchip foil paks directly over the burning charcoal, or over a lit gas burner. When the wood has given up all its smoke, replace with a fresh packet of woodchips.

How many foil paks to use? A general guideline is to smoke foods for the first half of the total cooking time. Things like fish, pork chops or chicken breasts will need just one, maybe two paks of chips. A brisket, taking much longer to smoke will need 6 or 8 foil paks to impart the level of smoke flavor required.