Restaurants use wood chips while preparing certain foods because their smoke adds a natural aroma and flavour to the food that is hard to duplicate. Wood chips are often used in an outdoor barbecue or with a smoker to enhance meat, fish and other foods. However, you don't have to have a smoker or barbecue to be able to enjoy the delicious benefits of cooking with wood chips. With a little bit of preparation you can use wood chips in oven cooking with your regular conventional oven.
Soak the wood chips in a bowl of water for 2 to 3 hours. Drain the chips well.
Tear off a large rectangular piece of aluminium foil. The sheet of foil should be large enough to hold your wood chips when it is folded over itself twice. Heavy-duty foil works best because it is thick and durable.
Fold the aluminium foil in half so that it makes a square shape. If the square of foil is too large to fit in your oven, you can fold it again to form a smaller but thicker square.
Fold three of the four edges of the aluminium foil square up to create a pocket. Do not fold the fourth side of the square because you will need the opening to put the wood chips inside. When you have finished, you will have a shallow pocket for your wood chips.
Place your wood chips inside of the pouch until it is full and seal the last edge of the aluminium foil packet.
Poke several small holes in the top of the packet using the tines of a fork. This will allow the foil packet to release the smoke and aroma from the wood chips. When you are ready, you can place the foil packet underneath the rack that your food rests on so that you can use wood chips in oven cooking.
Wait for the packet of wood chips to begin smoking in your conventional oven before adding the food. It will usually take 10 to 20 minutes before the wood chips achieve their maximum smoking output.
Add your food to the oven after the wood chips are actively smoking. Cook your food according to the regular recipe directions. There is no need to adjust the time or temperature of your recipe as a result of cooking with wood chips. Allow the aromatic smoke to naturally permeate your food during the cooking process and enjoy.
The best place to put the aluminium foil packet is on the lowest rack of the oven. Try different varieties of wood chips to change the flavour of your food. As a general rule of thumb, you do not need to change the cooking time or temperature of your recipe to accommodate cooking with wood chips.
Do not place the aluminium foil pouch directly on top of the gas output.