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. And you can learn how to smoke on a gas grill to get that amazing smell in your backyard.
Discover how to smoke on a gas grill and that distinct smoky flavor 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?
Learning how to smoke 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.
Selecting your wood
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 apple, 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 a disposable, aluminum tray with the soaked wood chips. You can fashion your own tray with multiple layers of aluminum foil if you don’t have a pre-made tray.
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 a tray, simply cover the top with foil then poke some holes.
Ready to smoke
Remove the grill grate from one 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 off all the burners except the one below the wood chips.
Place the meat or vegetables that you're grilling on the other 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.
Let's get grilling! Check out these classes & recipes, and fire up the grill.
- A Mouthwatering Guide to Classic Barbecue Pairings from Craftsy blogger Jessie Oleson Moore
- Fire Up the Fish with cookbook writer David Bonom
- 10+ Vegetarian Grilling Recipes for Your Next Barbecue from Craftsy blogger Ashley McLaughlin
- 25 Essential Grilling Techniques with Brendan McDermott
- License to Grill: Easy and Delicious Grilled Dessert Ideas from CakeSpy author Jessie Oleson Moore