Gas grills aren’t just for burgers and steaks anymore. With a few tricks, you can mimic the indirect low and slow heat of a traditional smoker. This will lead you to produce quality cuts of slow-smoked barbecue. In this post, we will teach you how to smoke on your gas grill for great low and slow cooking with smoking.
Firstly, you are going to experiment a little with your grill set up. You need to know how to get a steady low grill surface temperature in an area reserved for indirect heat. Also, make sure you have enough gas.
Learn how to smoke on a gas grill
Some of today’s gas grills come equipped with a metal smoker box that sits on top of a dedicated burner. If you’re lucky, your grill has built-in a smoke box. If not, you have a couple of options.
In case you own a gas grill with a metal smoke box, just turn on the burner and add as many damp wood chips as you like. You can control how quickly they smoke by turning the knob of the burner higher or lower. Some of the boxes have a separate compartment for water, which will provide a steaming effect on the food.
BBQ Tip: Steam’s maximum temperature is 212 F, just like water! Once water is heated past the 212 F mark, it stops being water and turns into steam. Did you know steaming has an advantage over methods such as boiling or even simmering in that there is no agitation involved, so it’s gentler on delicate items like seafood? This cooking method cooks your food relatively quickly.
Getting a steel smoker box
If you don’t have a dedicated smoker box, you can purchase a heavy-gauge stainless steel smoker box to sit right on top of your cooking grate. Now in stock this Broil King smoker box for just 20€! Note the metal will conduct the heat of your gas grill to the soaked wood chips you previously pile inside the box.
The holes in the lid will direct the fragrant smoke over your food. When the wood chips or chunks have burned out, you can simply open the lid and add more.
Making your own smoker box
You can also make your own smoker box by placing drained wood chips in a foil pan, cover with aluminium foil, and poke holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape. After this first step, place the pan directly on the bars over an unlit burner or two, preferably in a back corner.
Put the cooking grates in place. Then, turn on the grill, with all the burners on high, and close the lid. When smoke appears, begin cooking your steaks, adjusting the temperature of the grill as needed.
Smoking on a gas grill: Using wood chips or chunks?
Adding wood to your fire is the only way to get that true smoke flavour in your smoker. It doesn’t matter if you have an electric, gas, or charcoal smoker, you can always add wood for the authentic barbecue flavour. Fortunately, wood chips and wood chunks come prepackaged for your convenience, but which should you use?
You should know either will do nicely. The main difference is that chips burn faster than chunks. Wood chips will burn up pretty fast, create smoke, and then disappear. Take notice that if you are smoking for a very long period, you might want to prefer wood chunks. These pieces are better at creating smoke for extended periods. You’ll get more smoke throughout your cooking time without having to run out and add more every 30 minutes.
If you plan to add just a handful or two of chips for a light smoke over 20 minutes or so, then the burn rate is not a real issue. But if you want to smoke your food for an hour or more, it might be more convenient to use chunks.
According to Weber grills, if you soak chips in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the fire (no need to soak wood chunks), you will prolong their burn significantly and they will smoulder more than flame. Just be sure to drain the wood of water first so you don’t extinguish the fire.
Don’t over smoke
If this is your first time smoking meat, one word of caution: don’t use too much wood. It may be tempting to use half a bag of wood chips or chunks. Trust us, there is nothing worse than over smoked meat. You’re better off just using a half cup of wood chips or pellets. In another case, you can use a single small chunk of hardwood your first time around.
After you’ve cooked your meal you can decide if you would like more smoke flavour or not. If you think your meat could have been a little smokier, just remember to use a little more wood next time.
Have you seen that there are several easy and quick ways that allow you to add smoke to a gas grill and turn it into a decent smoker?
Remember you’ll need the right tools depending on the method. If you wish to smoke your food on a gas grill much more often, we suggest the smoker box method.
Ready to add some smoky flavour to your grilled food? Try these recipes and follow the steps above to add some awesome smoked flavour to your tasty meats. You can also share your thoughts with us on Instagram!