How to Make a Foil Woodchip Pack

finished woodchip pack

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Before I explain how to make a foil woodchip pack, I need to explain why this is important.

I often have folks ask me if they should soak the wood chips in water or not and my answer is always the same.. it's not necessary and in most cases is even counter productive.

Here's some things that I have discovered about wood chips:

  • Wet wood chips will cool the coals, you don't want that in most cases.
  • Wet wood chips produce a lot of steam, not so much smoke.
  • Dry wood chips smoke better and produce better smoke.
  • Soaked wood chips do not keep them from burning up.

So why does everyone in the world soak wood chips and wood chunks before using them? I have no earthly idea.. maybe because everyone else does it? Your guess is as good as mine!

Having said that, I do know that it is frustrating to throw wood chips onto the coals to produce a little smoke and they are burned up within minutes if not sooner. The answer to this problem is NOT to soak them but rather to reduce the oxygen that gets to the chips so they can produce smoke without catching on fire.

This is where wrapping the wood chips in foil comes in.

To wrap wood chips in foil, follow these instructions:

Tear off a piece of 18×18 foil (or 12×12 if you have the smaller box of foil) and lay it flat on the table or counter.

Place a handful of wood chips in the center of the foil.


Fold the four sides of the foil over on top of the wood chips to completely enclose the wood chips.

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Use a fork or other sharp object to poke about 4-8 small holes in the top of the foil pack to let the smoke out.


Place these foil packs right on top of the coals or even above the burner or coals on the grill.


Replace pack with a new one when the smoke stops coming out.

I like to make 8-10 of these ahead and have them ready for when I need them but they are easy and quick to make so you can easily make them up as needed if you so desire.

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  1. I had been using this method in my kamado style smoker/grill up until yesterday. I think I’m going to have to stop because when I removed the spent aluminum pouch for the chips this morning, I discovered that the entire bottom portion of the foil had been burned/sublimated away and therefore must have entered the smoke. Aluminum is a potential neurotoxin and if you don’t have great kidney function, your body isn’t clearing all of it out when you ingest it.

    If you do want to keep doing this, I don’t recommend putting any aluminum directly over high temperature flames and placing the pouch away from the hottest portions of your gas grill or coals/briquets.

    1. Sharyn, it may work fine if you have a good exhaust hood over your oven and place it there, otherwise, it could get too smoky in the house and cause the smoke alarms to go off.

      They make indoor stovetop smokers that work pretty well if you need that option. They don’t produce a ton of smoke but I do use mine with the exhaust hood fan on high.

    1. It depends on how close it is to the flames and the heat level but I can usually get 20-30 minutes out of a single pack. Make several ahead of time and it’s an easy change-out.

  2. I really enjoyed your comments on smokinh wirh wood chips when you show about wood chip packs.

    Let me ask you, just how effective is a pellet grill for smoking, such as ribs, brisket or chicken? I am entertaining buying a pellet grill for use as a smoker, as well as grilling. What is your opinion?

    1. Marc, it depends on the brand/model that you purchase as some of them work well and some do not. If you are interested in tech. then I recommend the REC TEC Bull RT-700. It is run by a PID controller and holds and absolute precise temperature for hours on end. It also connects to your Wi-Fi and allows you to turn it on/off, modify the temperature of the smoker, and monitor the temperature of what you are cooking via the built-in dual probes.

      If you are not interested in absolute precise temperatures or the high tech features, then I recommend the Camp Chef Woodwind SG which holds a temperature range of +/- about 20 degrees. It also has some other really nice features like hopper cleanout chute, 2nd grate comes standard, propane-powered searbox, and the ability to clean out the ashes from outside the smoker without removing the inside components. It is also a couple hundred dollars less than the REC TEC Bull.

      I have found myself using the REC TEC more and more over the last few months due to how well it cooks, the flavor that I get from it, and the ability to monitor and control the temperature from wherever I am.

      The Traeger and Pit Boss are also good brands but lack some of the features that the Camp Chef and REC TEC have.