Putting Wood Chips in a Smoker

Electric smokers can be used to smoke meats, poultry, fish and even cheese. While generally simple to operate, issues such as a lack of smoke from the wood chips is a common problem.

Wood Chips

Hickory and mesquite wood chips are a common choice for smoking food. To ensure a good amount of smoke, chips should be soaked in liquid until completely saturated before use. Dry chips will burn but produce less smoke. While water is the most commonly used liquid, wine, juice or even meat stock can also be used.


In order to produce smoke from wet wood chips and cook food, a temperature between 225 - 285 degrees Fahrenheit is commonly used. If no smoke, or a low volume of smoke, is produced, check to ensure that the electric heating element is working correctly and evenly.

Air Circulation

Proper ventilation and air circulation is required to produce smoke and move it through the smoker. Electric smokers typically utilize an adjustable door near the bottom of the smoker, as well as one at the top to allow proper ventilation. Adjust these doors to provide enough air to allow the chips to burn and move the smoke.