Backyard Barbecue Tips: How to Smoke on a Gas Grill

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in Food & Cooking |


There’s nothing better than the smoke drenched taste of home cooked barbecue. The smell of charcoal burning under the black dome is enough to whisk me back to long summer evenings of walking barefoot, sticky marshmallow covered fingers and falling asleep with the smoke smell still lingering in my hair.

Woodchips ready for the gas grill

Discover how to recreate that distinct smoky flavor on a gas grill for your next cookout!

I love the romantic nostalgia of a charcoal grill along with the smoky flavor it imparts. But what do you do if you love the smoke but only have a gas grill? Well, first of all you start soaking some wood chips…

Getting started

Smoking on a gas grill is really simple. The reward is a deep, clean, smoky flavor along with all the ease the comes from cooking on a gas grill.

First, get some wood chips. The type of chips is up to you and depends on what you are smoking. The most popular types are apply, cherry, oak, mesquite and hickory. Apple and cherry woods tend to have a lighter, sweeter flavor great for chicken, fish or vegetables. Mesquite and hickory have a bold smoky flavor that pairs well with beef and pork. Oak is a great middle ground.

Soak the wood chips in water for at least one hour. Preferably a couple of hours. This will keep the chips from immediately burning up when you add them to the grill.

Fill the bottom an aluminum disposable tray with the soaked wood chips. You can fashion your own tray with multiple layers of aluminum foil if you don’t have the pre-made trays.

If you are smoking for multiple hours, create an aluminum pouch with the foil then poke holes in the top so that the smoke releases slowly throughout the entire grilling time. If you are using the tray simply cover the top with foil then poke some holes.

Prepping your gas grill

Smoking on a gas grill

Ready to smoke

Remove the grill grate from the left side of the grill. Place the aluminum foil tray or pouch directly over the burner in the far left corner.

Preheat the grill by turner all the burners on high. Close the lid and let it heat up for 15-20 minutes. You should start to see smoke coming from the grill along with that unmistakable smell.

After 15-20 minutes. Open up the lid and turn all the burners off except the one where the wood chips are.

Place the meat or vegetables that you are grilling on the right side of the grill away from the heat and smoke. You never want to place your food directly over the smoke as the flavor would be too intensely smoky.

We’re using indirect heat here because we want sufficient time for the smoke to infuse into the food.

For steaks, chicken or some vegetables, I like to smoke it initially then remove the food from the grill, turn the heat on high and give it a quick sear so there’s a nice contrast in texture along with a deep smoky flavor.

That’s it. While it may not be quite the same as a charcoal grill, it comes pretty close. Plus, you don’t have to wait for the briquettes to light.

Smoked and grilled barbecue chicken

Smoked grilled chicken on a gas grill

Discover more barbecue know-how and be on your way to becoming master of the grill in the Craftsy cooking class Fire Up the Fish with Weber grill cookbook writer David Bonom.

Have you tried this method before? What are your favorite wood chips to use?