Generally speaking, smoking involves allowing the meat to be exposed to low heat as smoke from smoldering wood becomes impregnated with the taste and smell of the wood.
Grilling is when the meat is cooked over a hotter fire, gas charcoal or wood, usually flavored artificially, or served with its natural flavor.
When grilling, wood chips can be added to the fire to give the meat the taste of smoked meats. The most common BBQ smoker chips used for grills are hickory and maple.
Hickory is the old standby that offers a somewhat pungent flavor, most often used in smoked bacon and other pork products. Mesquite has a strong earth tastes and is best used with beef.
There are two ways BBQ smoker chips can be used when grilling. The easiest method is typically used with a charcoal grill.
The chips can be added to the charcoal and as they burn slowly, they will add flavor to the meat. The second method can also be used with charcoal, but is most commonly used when cooking on a gas grill.
The BBQ smoker chips are wrapped in aluminum foil and wet down.
They do not have to be soaked, but they do need to be wet. Holes are punctured in the foil and then the whole package is placed near the flame of the grill. As it heats, steam from the bag will allow the flavor of the smoldering wood chips to permeate the meat.
Many other types of wood are used as BBQ smoker chips but remember not all tastes are for everyone and the type of wood may work well with one type of meat and not another. For example, apple wood offers a dense fruit smoke but may be too sweet for use with many red meats, including lamb.
Hickory may taste pretty good with pork but not so much with fish. Mostly it is a matter of personal taste but users may want to try a small amount of meat and BBQ smoker chips first, before using the chips on several pounds of meat and then find out they do not like them.