Setting up a gas grill for smoking can be very easy, especially if the grill is equipped with a built-in smoker box; however, there is a way to create smoke even without a built-in smoker box.
1. First, start soaking wood chips in water (check the recipe for the amount you’ll need). They should soak in water for at least 30 minutes or else they are likely to light on fire and give you more flame than smoke.
2. Start the grill by preheating your grill for 10-15 minutes on high and then brushing the cooking grates clean using a stainless steel grill brush like this one.
3. Add wood chips to your smoker box. Using long-handled tongs like this one, open the lid of the smoker box. Grab some of the soaked wood chips with the tongs, let the excess water drain off, and drop the wood chips into the smoker box.
Spread out the wood chips so they cover the bottom of the box, directly exposing as many chips as possible to the burner below.
Continue to add as many wood chips as the recipe suggests. Close the lid of the smoker box.
Close the lid of the grill and wait a few minutes for smoke to pour out of the grill. Now it’s time to lower the heat of the dedicated burner under the smoker box to medium or low so that the wood will smolder slowly.
4. Start smoking your food. Arrange the food in the middle of the cooking grate, over the unlit burner(s). Close the lid as soon as possible and let the food cook.
Controlling the temperature of a gas grill is not a matter of opening and closing vents, it’s simply a matter of turning knobs. In most cases you will adjust one or two of the main burners during cooking, though if you want to smoke at very low temperatures (below 250°F), turn off all of the main burners and use just the dedicated burner under the smoker box for the heat.
Keep in mind that most of the smoke will accumulate around the smoker box. The closer your food is to the smoker box, the more smoke flavor it will absorb.
If your grill doesn't have a built-in smoker box, you still have options.
1. Order one of ours.
We offer a heavy-gauge stainless steel smoker box to sit right on top of your cooking grate.
The metal will conduct the heat of your grill to the soaked wood chips you pile inside the box. The holes in the lid will direct the fragrant smoke over your food. When the wood chips have burned out, you can simply open the lid and add more, if you like.
2. Make your own.
Place drained wood chips in a foil pan, cover with aluminum foil, and poke holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape. Place the pan directly on the bars over an unlit burner or two, preferably in a back corner.
Put the cooking grates in place. Turn on the grill, with all the burners on high, and close the lid. When smoke appears, begin cooking your food, adjusting the temperature of the grill as needed. You can’t add more chips to the pan, but at least it’s a start.
You can also use a cedar plank on your gas grill to get awesome results. Get my tips and bonus recipe here on how to use a cedar plank.