how long do wood chips last in electric smoker

How Long Do Wood Chips Last In Electric Smoker – 10 Easy Tips

If you’re a barbecue enthusiast, then you must have an idea of how long do wood chips last in electric smoker. But if you’re new to smoking meat, you must be confused about when to add wood chips. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Almost every person new to smoking faces this confusion.

Well, there are factors that decide how long do wood chips last in electric smoker, I have discussed these factors in detail and I have also added relevant queries regarding wood chips.  But in short

You Should Add 5 To 6 Wood Chips After Every Hour In Your Electric Smoker.”

how long do wood chips last in electric smoker

How Often to Add Wood Chips to an Electric Smoker?

Don’t use too much wood at once, especially if you are using a smoker for the first time, then you need to be more conscious. Whatever you are cooking, just add a few wood chips and let it smoke for an hour.

Try your meat, how was it? Was it perfect or needed to be smokier??

If yes, smoke for 90 minutes next time. If you made it too smoky reduce the time of smoking to 45 minutes.

Keep notes and records of all steps you did. The amount of wood you added, how long it smoked for, and the temperature the electrical smoker had. This will help you a lot next time when you will be smoking.

What Is The Purpose Of Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker?

First, you need to understand that wood chips in an electrical smoker are not playing any part to cook food, even you can cook food without adding these chips. These small pieces of wood are used to generate smoke. The wood chips smolder rather than burn, and the smoke that is produced adds flavor to the food.

In an electric smoker, the wood chips are placed in a tray or box above the heating element. As the element heats up, the wood chips begin to smoke. The smoke then wafts up through the chambers of the smoker and infuses the food with flavor.

how much wood chips for masterbuilt electric smoker

What Are You Cooking In Your Electric Smoker

An important factor that makes the difference is the type of meat you are smoking.

For cooking, very small and thin pieces of meat, like chicken or fish don’t need a lot of wood chips as they can be cooked in a little period of time, so just put a few wood chips in the wood tray in the beginning and it would be enough for it.

You don’t need to add more chips as chicken and fish will be cooked before the initially added wood chips stop smoking.

Similarly, cooking lamp will not require a lot of wood chips as it absorbs the smoke more than other meat. So, smoking it for just an hour will be more than enough for it. You don’t need to add wood chips to smolder for 6 to 8 hours during the whole cooking process.

Don’t make yourself confuse that smoking meat too much will make it more flavorful and tasty. Extra smoking can make it bitter and sometimes too bitter to eat.

Depends On Your Taste As Well

People have different choices and standards for the food they love, especially when it comes to smoked meat. Some would love to have a little added flavor of smoke like me. For this type of delicately smoked meat, you won’t be adding wood chips again and again. Only 45 to 50 minutes of smoke would be enough for it.

While the others will love to have the strong punch of smoke in their BBQ. In such conditions, you need to add more wood chips when needed, to get a powerful smoke flavor.

I will never say that stop experimenting with new ideas, in fact, it will help you get the most flavor out of your food. And you will learn a lot of new things.

Model Of Electric Smoker You Are Using:

There are a variety of brands making electrical smokers. If you plan to buy one, do read our guide on best smokers under 300$, it will surely help you to get the best smoker for your home.

Well, the model of your electrical smoker matters a lot in refilling wood tray as these smokers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Their wood tray also is in different sizes. If you talk about the char-broil deluxe digital smoker, it has a large box for wood. That can hold wood for 6 to 8 hours. So there is absolutely no need to refill it.

Whereas, Master built electric smoker comes with a small wooden tray that can hold wood hardly for 45 to 50 minutes. In this case, you will need to replace the wood after 45 minutes of smoking.

Maximum Hours You May Smoke:

Whatever you are cooking in your electric smoker. It may take from an hour to 16 hours of cooking. But you cannot smoke your food for all the hours it is cooking. A Maximum of 4 to 6 hours of smoking is more than enough for any kind of meat.

Cooking a large brisket that will take 16 hours of cooking can be smoked perfectly in 6 hours, but if you still feel that smoking it for 16 hours can create any difference. You can try it but it will never give you any noticeable change. In fact, you will increase your expense of extra wood to be kept in the electrical smoker.

how often to add wood chips to electric smoker

How Often to Add Wood Chips – Expert Opinion

Always read your manual instructions before anything else. It gives you a better idea of your electric smoker how many wood chips it can hold and how long will it smoke for.

Fire your smoker up and let’s dry-run it. If you using it for the first time. Season it but don’t put any food. After 2 hours add wood chips and observe the time how long it provides smoke. When it stops smoking, you will know when you have to fill the wood tray again. Note the timings of your smoker.

When To Add More Wood Chips In Tray

“Additional chips should not be added until any previously added chips have ceased generating smoke.”

Masterbuilt‘s instruction manual says:

Remember one thing, never put new wood chips on the wood that is already smoldering. Let the wood burn completely.

You have to be quick while adding the wood chips during cooking. Open the door of the electrical smoker, put more wood in the tray and close the door quickly. Otherwise, it will release the amount of heat in the smoker and then you will need to wait for more for your food to be done. 

How To Add More Chips In Tray

While adding wood chips, keep in mind that do not overfill the tray otherwise wood chips may fall on the heating element, which is dangerous and can catch fire.

Do empty your wood tray after every use. It will give you complete space to add wood chips for the next time. Otherwise, the remaining ashes of wood will take up space in the tray and you will be able to add only fewer chips for smoking.

Solution To Filling Wood Tray Again And Again:

­­­­Now different brands have introduced smoker boxes that can be fixed in most of smokers or grills. They are small in size and provide the facility of smoking for about 8 to 12 hours using their pellets.

These can be used for both cold smoking and hot smoking.

Tips For Using Wood Chips In An Electric Smoker?

One of the great things about smoking food is that you can experiment with different flavors by adding wood chips to the smoker.

While there are many different types of wood chips available, hickory and mesquite are two of the most popular options. When using wood chips in an electric smoker, it’s important to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the smoker.

This will help to prevent the chips from burning too quickly and creating excess smoke. In addition, it’s a good idea to add new wood chips every hour or so to maintain a consistent level of smoke.

The chips should also be of a uniform size, as larger pieces will burn for a longer period of time. As a general rule, expect to get about 30 minutes of smoking time from a single load of wood chips. However, this can vary depending on the specific smoker and the type of wood used. Experimenting with different woods will help you find the flavor profile that best suits your taste.

What Kind Of Wood Chips Should You Use In An Electric Smoker?

Wood chips are small pieces of hardwood that are used to create smoke in electric smokers. Unlike charcoal or gas smokers, electric smokers do not produce enough smoke on their own. They rely on a heating element that heats up the wood chips and makes them smolder.

There are a variety of wood chips that can be used in an electric smoker, and the best type of wood to use will depend on the flavor you are trying to achieve.

For a milder flavor, try using hickory wood chips. If you want a more intense smoke flavor, mesquite is a good choice.

If you are smoking fish or poultry, alder is a good option because it imparts a light, delicate flavor.

masterbuilt chip tray upgrade


So, it’s time to get smoking! Experiment with different recipes but remember how long do wood chips last in electric smoker doesn’t depend on one factor. Normally you should add 5 wood chips after every 50 to 60 minutes.

You should know about your smoker model, the size of the wood tray, and the food you are cooking also plays a role, always keep an eye on the condition of the wood chips so you can replace them when necessary.

With these tips in hand, smoking delicious food is not a big deal. Do share with us, how was your experience with your electric smoker. We would love to know that.


1. How do I choose the right wood chips for my electric smoker?

If you do a lot of smoking. I would recommend you go for high-quality wood. Most people use hickory and oak for strong flavor, these are the two most common wood used for electrical smokers. Mesquite has a bit different flavor. It is also used by electrical smokers.

2. How do I store wood chips for my electric smoker?

Wood chips can be stored in anything like plastic boxes, wood boxes, or metallic boxes. You need to keep them in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. You can use a sealed container or a ziplock bag to store your wood chips. You can also label them with the date and type of wood chips for easy identification.

3. Do you preheat the electric smoker with wood chips?

You may preheat, but there is no need to do so. Set the smoker at the highest setting and fill the wood tray. It will take 15 minutes and will reach the required temperature.

4. How Do You Make Wood Chips Last Longer in an Electric Smoker?

when to add wood chips to smoker

I use these tricks and they help me make my wood chips last longer in an electric smoker. Soaking wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before using them in an electric smoker.
Another helpful tip is to wrap the wood chips in foil before adding them to the smoker. This will help to shield them from direct contact with the heat source, which will also help to prevent them from burning up too quickly. By following these simple tips, you can make your wood chips last longer and enjoy delicious smoked food more often.

5. How Often Do I Need to Add Wood Chips to My Electric Smoker?

Depending on the size of the wood chips, you may need to add new ones every few hours or so. If you’re smoking for extended periods of time, it’s a good idea to check the wood chips every hour or so to make sure they’re still performing properly.

Leave a Reply

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