Understanding Your Fuel: Sawdust & Wood Chips

Smoking Tips

Understanding Your Fuel: Sawdust & Wood Chips

When it comes to enhancing the flavors of your smoked meats, the type of fuel  you use can make all the difference. While many smokers and grills utilize gas, charcoal or pellets for fuel, the Pro Series Home Smokehouses utilize sawdust or wood chips.  Sawdust and fine woodchips add natural and even smoke flavor and color while producing very little heat, making it great for smoking at lower temperatures. 

This guide will walk you through the basics of using sawdust or wood chips in your Pro Smoke smokehouse. 

Why Sawdust? 

Sawdust is the ideal way to get that "Old World Pit House" flavor without maintaining an actual fire. It burns slow with little heat so you can use it for both cold and hot smoking. The fine grain of the particles ensures an even consistent burn, with a robust natural smoke flavor. 

More economical than charcoal and pellets, sawdust provides smoke without using it as the primary heat source in your smoker. So you can add smoke at any point in your cook with far less fuel consumed. Made from 100% natural raw timber that is kiln dried to provide the highest quality smoke, our sawdust is available in Hickory, Cherrywood, Applewood, Mesquite or a Mixed Hardware blend of Oak and Maple. 

Sawdust vs Wood Chips

Similar to sawdust, wood chips provide a natural, wood smoke flavor to your smoked meats and cheeses. Finer woodchips can be used in the Pro Series smokehouses, but require a difference process for smoking. 

Wood chips burn faster than sawdust or pellets, so they may need to be replaced more often. Soaking wood chips in water for about 30 minutes generates steam that adds moisture and heat to the smoking process. This method also prolongs burning time. The key with wood chips is to deny the wood of oxygen so it smolders and smokes. Burnt wood chips will generate a bitter smoke.

Using Sawdust in Your Smoker

To use sawdust in your Pro Series smokehouse, start by filling your sawdust pan approximately 3/4 full of sawdust (this will be about 5 cups). Dampen with water and mix; the consistency should be similar to oatmeal (about 2-3 cups of water). Using your hand, create a funnel shape with the lowest point in the center of the sawdust pan. Place your sawdust pan on the heating element, and make sure your smokehouse is set to at least 110 deg F on the Smoke (lower watt) setting. 

Meat absorbs smoke flavor between the temperature ranges of 95 and 135 F. We recommend setting your smoker to Smoke mode when your meat is between this internal temperature. If continued cooking is necessary, we recommend switching your smoker to Cook mode, so as not to risk burning out your sawdust or sawdust pan. 

Using Woodchips in Your Smoker

There are two different techniques for smoking with wood chips in your Pro Series smokehouse. For regular smoking, fill your sawdust pan about 3/4 full with wood chips (about 5 cups). Cover the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and seal the edges. Using a pen, knife or other utensil, poke several holes in the foil to allow some airflow then place on the heating element to smoke. 

For a lighter and longer smoke, you can soak your woodchips in water. Fill pan about 3/4 of the way with chips, then cover completely with water. Allow chips to soak for 30 minutes then strain the excess water. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and seal the edges, poking holes in the foil for airflow. Place on the heating element and use Smoke mode at at least 110 deg F to get your chips smoldering. 

Can I Use Pellets? 

No! Wood pellets cannot be used in the Pro Series Home Smoker line. Wood pellets are made from finely ground hardwood that has been pressed and formed into a cylinder shape, then cut into small pellets. Due to the compressed nature of wood pellets, the pressure created during burning can cause an unstable environment in your smokehouse, leading to spontaneous combustion or fires. Always use Pro Smoker approved sawdust or woodchips in your smoker. 


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