Wood Chunks vs Wood Sawdust: Which Is Better for Smoking?

Wood Chunks vs Wood Sawdust: Which Is Better for Smoking?

Posted on: January 12, 2023

Smoking foods is actually an old time tradition that was once used mainly to preserve meats.

Smoking foods is actually an old time tradition that was once used mainly to preserve meats. Through various techniques smoking has expanded into a method of adding rich, penetrating smoke flavor to various foods. This process can be done using a food smoker nowadays, but the concept remains the same. Let’s settle the question of “Wood Chunks vs Wood Sawdust: Which Is Better for Smoking?” once and for all!

A key component when smoking is the form of wood being used. Depending on what foods you are smoking and the type of equipment you are working with, it’s important to know the distinctions between the choices of wood.

Wood Chunks vs Wood Sawdust: Which Is Better for Smoking?

Wood Chunks

Wood chunks texture, wooden background, top view.

Running hardwood through a shredder breaks the wood into consistently sized pieces. These wood pieces or “chips” provide a burst of natural smoke flavor to foods and come in a variety of flavors. Wood chips burn faster than sawdust or pellets. 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 smoulders and smokes. Burnt wood chips will generate a bitter smoke.

May Be Used In:

  • Smoke houses
  • Electric, gas & charcoal grills
  • Smoke boxes

Although wood chunks are one of the most popular options, they might add acidity as you can’t control its temperature and you’ll have no control over the amount of smoke you’ll have during your preparation.


Natural wood sawdust background. Waste wood processing in the workshop.

Sawdust is raw material used for smoking. It burns more slowly than wood chips, but faster than wood pellets. Sawdust is used for hot or cold smoking, which produces a nice, even smoke. However, sawdust offers less heat than chips or pellets. They are replenished fairly often and often used for smoking sausage, fish and various meat cuts.

Pro tip: Make sure the sawdust is dry before using.

Extra Pro Tip: Do not use repurposed or reused wood to produce sawdust for food smoking. Only use natural wood that you can track the source of. This is how you can guarantee avoiding unwanted chemicals. (We only use full trees, never reused wood for bisquettes to guarantee they don’t have harmful chemicals).

Used In:

  • Portable smokers
  • Electric & gas smokers
  • Smoke boxes

Keep in the mind that the type of wood you choose may depend on the model smoker and rate of burn you require in order to get the intensity of smoke you want to achieve. You also have a choice flavors ranging from light woods containing fruit essence, to dark woods that provide a more rich smoke flavor. If you are less experienced, be sure to do some research and preparation before beginning the smoking process.

How to Tell the Difference Between Wood Chips and Chunks

Pro tip: Wood chips are the same as sawdust.

Wood chunks and chips both usually come from hardwood trees, and people use both to smoke meats and veggies. The main difference is size, which makes it very easy to distinguish between wood chips and wood chunks.

Wood chips are very thin, with most chips measuring less than 0.25 inches thick. In comparison, wood chunks from Cutting Edge Firewood can measure up to 4 inches thick. Wood chips are essentially wood thin shavings, whereas wood chunks are thicker blocks of wood. By inspecting the thickness, you should be able to tell whether a piece of smoking wood is a wood chip or wood chunk.

Why you should use Bradley Bisquettes

Our Bisquettes are the secret to the Bradley Smoker. The bisquettes have a unique design burning at consistent temperatures and for controlled periods of time. They consist of precise quantities of hardwood chips, coupled with controlled pressures and wood densities.

Perfect, Consistent Results Every Time

Using the Bradley Bisquettes, you don’t have to worry about your chips burning too hot for too long, and giving your food an off-taste. They’ll give you perfect results! The same results that Bradley users have been enjoying for years.

Part of the excitement of food smoking is experimenting with different hardwoods. Try out till you find that perfect woody flavour for your food.

The Bradley Flavour Bisquettes use hardwood chippings bound together with precise quantities at controlled pressures and densities, the flavour of the smoke determined by the variety of wood burnt.

For instance, alder and maple give a rich and distinct flavour commonly used with seafood, hams and bacon. Apple and cherry impart a sweeter, milder smoke flavour, commonly used with poultry and wild game meat.

Find the best quality smoking bisquettes by visiting our website today.

The best food deserves the best flavor!