How to Grill With Hickory Chips

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

How to Grill With Hickory Chips. Grilling with hickory chips can add a new flavor and exciting twist to the usual dishes you make for friends and family. Hickory chips can be used on a charcoal or gas grill by using a variety of grilling techniques to achieve different smoked flavors.

Use a Charcoal Grill

Soak hickory chips in water while you are heating up the charcoal. This helps extend their life while in the grill.

Heat the charcoal either in the grill or in a starter can and place it in the grill when hot.

Spread a few handfuls of hickory chips directly on top of the hot charcoal a few minutes before placing the food on the grill.

Place your food on the grill rack and cook.

Use a Gas Grill

Soak hickory chips in water or another liquid.

Place the soaked chips in a metal pan specifically for your gas grill, or use a disposable rectangle aluminum pan.

Put the pan directly over the heating element under the grates on one side of the grill. Turn the heat on for that side only after replacing the grill grates.

Cook your food by placing it on the opposite side of the grill on the rack so it gets indirect smoke and heat.

Smoke Food Using Hickory Chips

Soak the hickory chips in a 2-quart metal bowl or pan with at least 2 cups of water. Place the metal bowl into your charcoal grill, setting it in the center of the grill.

Pile charcoal coals around the bowl, and then light the charcoal.

Put your food on the grill grates in the center directly above the bowl of hickory chips when the grill gets hot.

Shut the lid and let the food smoke making sure the temperature stays around 190 degrees F. Add more coals and water as needed about every hour.


  • Hickory chips are best used for shorter cooking times under 15 minutes. If you're grilling items for a longer time try to find chunks or you will need to restock chips after 15 minutes. Try flavoring the chips by soaking in apple juice, wine, brandy or any other liquid to add a different flavor with the hickory. Your food cooks at a slower rate of time when using this method; check it for proper temperature before eating. When the hickory chips begin to smoke, the grill is hot and it's time to put your food on for smoking. Make sure all the vents are closed on the top or bottom of the grill.

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