Whenever Summer comes along, it comes with the urge to go to pool parties or beach sides with our friends and family. We kinda made it our habit.
But one habit that would never go by is swinging by your friend’s porch to take a whiff of that smokey barbecue goodness and if you are lucky enough, he might invite you in for a plate.
But why go on luck? Why don’t have your barbecue session at home? Don’t have a smoker?
No worries, a gas grill would do.
It might seem impossible that a grill that’s not exactly made for barbecuing or smoking food could be used other than grilling. But it is easy.
With a few simple steps and getting hold of the basics of smoking your meat on a grill, you’ll also get to enjoy that barbecue goodness as well. Read on to find out more about it.
Basics of Smoking on a Gas Grill
Before going through the steps, we must mention the basics of using a grill or propane smoker. Understanding these simple nuances and adjustments would help you a lot while smoking on your gas grill for the first time.
Grilling with the two-zone method
If you’re reading this article, you know that your gas grill won’t be working exactly as a conventional smoking appliance. That’s why we have to make a few adjustments by ourselves. Here comes the two-zone indirect heat setup.
A regular smoker cooks the meat at a very slow yet constant temperature, however, a gas grill won’t. To make this situation work for us, we have to make zones, a hot zone, and a cool zone.
To do this, open only one burner of the gas grill and close the other one. You’ll put your meat in the cool zone which would help it to indirectly cook from the heat and smoke from the burner on the hot zone.
To maintain the heat and temperature produced by the burner, use a water pan. The water pan absorbs the excess heat, allowing the food to cook thoroughly and giving the barbecue its significant juiciness.
Maintaining the temperature
Maintaining the temperature of your propane grill is one the most important factors that you’ve to make sure is constant. That is why most of the gas grills come up with built-in thermometers. But what if we tell you those thermometers are mostly inaccurate.
Yes, most of these thermometers that you see on your grills don’t even tell the right temperature you’re cooking your meat on. This could be because of many reasons including weather, seasons, or just because it’s mostly broken.
The meatheads recommend buying your thermometer gauge as A good quality digital thermometer would go on for a longer run and you can also use it for other home chores as well.
Don’t use probe thermometers that you’ve to poke in your meat to check if it is cooked or not. The process allows a lot of smoke and heat to escape making the thermometer ultimately inaccurate.
However, if you have to use it, place it near the meat, inside the grill so neither it messes up with the temperature nor falls off while you are grilling. Check out our 10 Best Electric Smokers Reviewed.
How to Make Smoke on a Gas Grill
After knowing all these basic factors about gas grills and knowing how to maintain the temperature and smoke, here lies the question,” can you smoke meat on a gas grill?”
Except for a few highly efficient propane grills, there are usually no specially built smoker boxes to put your smoker fuel in.
Well, no worries, there are many DIYs out there that could help you achieve that classic smoke flavor in your meat while cooking on a gas grill. However, one thing that remains constant throughout the process would be the source of smoke, wood.
You can use chips, chunks, logs, or any other source of wood, it all comes down to which method you’re using to create the DIY smoker. So let’s see those methods one by one.
If you are using one of those highly efficient gas grills, you’ll notice that they do come up with their specific compartment for smoking. These are called flavorizers as they provide the meat with a significant barbecue flavor.
Put a block of wood on top of the compartment and burn it. You can use wood chips as well. However, that’s the part you’ll need to DIY for.
Smoking with wood chips
This is one of the easiest ways to smoke your food on a gas grill. The reason might be because all the things you need to get to work are already lying in your kitchen.
- Soak your wood chips for 30 minutes in water so that they don’t catch fire.
- Pat it dry with a cloth.
- Grab some heavy-duty aluminum foil and lay it flat on your counter. You can double the layer if it’s not a heavy-duty one.
- Put the chips on the foil and fold them in the form of a pouch.
- Poke holes on the top of the pouch so that air can easily flow into and out of the pouch so that the wood chips can burn and the smoke can escape.
- Place the pouch on the grill.
- It would take approximately 15-20 minutes for the chips to start smoking.
If you’re using a bigger size of meat like briskets then add more than two pouches so that the smoke covers it properly.
ere’s an extra tip, if you’re in a rush, you can directly put the aluminum foil on the grill and put your wood chips on it without soaking them. Some would call this an immature attempt to smoke meat but hey, if it does the deed, why not?
Direct smoking through wood chunks
Using wood chunks as a source of fuel is as classic as it can get. It’s easy and convenient.
- Take a block of wood and place it on the burner.
- You can cover the bottom half of it with aluminum foil if you want but it’s not that necessary. It will prevent the wood from directly catching fire.
- Make sure that the meat isn’t directly in contact with the wood or else it would either trap the burnt flavor from the wood or will get burned from the flames.
- Place the wood close enough to the meat so that it doesn’t burn but also provide enough smoke required for that perfect barbecue session.
- Make sure that the wood doesn’t catch actual fire, as it would destroy your meat as well as your entire gas grill.
Producing smoke with pellet tubes
Pellet tubes are easily available online. They are kind of a diffuser that produces smoke. You can use it for both hot and cold smoking.
- Fill the pellet tube with wood chips or also known as wood cooking pellets, leaving an inch of space from the top.
- Place it under the grill grates.
- Light the tube from one end using a lighter or a match.
- Let it burn for about 5 minutes.
- Blow the flame out and let the smoke give your food that amazing smoky flavor.
Pellet tubes come in different sizes and lengths. Choose any size that fits your gas grill. You can also use it for smoking your meat, which we would discuss shortly below.
Using a smoker box
Depending on what brand of gas grill you are using your grill may or may not have a built-in smoker box. If you don’t have one, you can also buy it for yourself. A smoker box is an easy recommendation due to its durability and runs longer-term than the aluminum pouch.
- Fill the box up with wood chips, soaked or not, your choice.
- Place it directly over the burner.
- It would take more than 10 minutes to heat the box.
- After more than 15 minutes, the smoke would start coming out.
- Let the released smoke, give your meat the significant barbecue flavor.
The smoker box releases smoke within a few minutes and you don’t have to worry about it catching fire. The stainless steel adds durability to the box and distributes heat evenly so that the chips burn quickly and provide the good kind of smoke required for barbecue.
If your smoker box is not producing smoke, then it means that your wood chips don’t have the proper moisture content. You can either soak them beforehand or buy ones that already have that moisture added to them.
Step by Step Guide for Smoking on a Gas Grill
Smoking on a gas grill is not as difficult as one might assume. You just have to know the basics and keep it simple. Here are a few steps and tips to get done with your first grill session on a gas grill.
Step1: Get done with the preparations
Before starting, make sure that everything is ready beforehand. From ribs to fuel, every tiny thing that we have mentioned above should be ready before you open your grill up.
Make sure that the meat is marinated, the sauces are done, the wood chips are soaked, and the fuel is ready. Most gas grills are propane grills, so don’t forget to take a look at the tank before starting. You don’t want to be running around a mid barbecue session and tryna find where you put the rubs or if there’s any more propane left if the tank got empty.
The DIYs that are used to provide smoke in the gas grill should also be ready before your smoking session.
Step2: Light your gas grill up
Turn on the burner of your gas grill. You’ve to make sure that you reach a temperature of about 225 F( 107 celsius) – 250 F( 121 celsius) and then try your best to maintain it.
The digital thermometer here comes in handy. Maintain the temperature for about more than 20 minutes on medium heat.
Reaching the desired temperature is also a tricky part. If you can’t reach 225 F, give your grill a boost of fire by turning it on in high heat mode. If it’s still taking time then turn the other burners on the grill if you have. You’ll need a bit more practice than usual to handle this but after a few tries, you’ll get the grip on heat.
Step3: Add your fuel
After preheating your grill, now place the source of fuel or smoke you feel comfortable with. Use a pair of tongs to remove the grill grate and add on your desired source of fuel, wood chips, chunks, or aluminum pouch anything you’ve in your hand.
If you’re using pellet tubes then place it beside the grill and wait for about 15-20 minutes or until smoke starts coming out of it.
Step4: Start smoking
Place your meat on the opposite side of the grill and allow the indirect heat to cook it. Depending on how bigger the meat is or how much it takes to cook it you’ll probably need more chips or wood chunks ready beforehand.
You’ll also have to attach the temperature and the settings on your grill here and there, so always keep a look at your gas grill and the smoking meat.
When you’re done with your smoking session you’ll notice that the barbecue doesn’t exactly have that flavor that you might get from a conventional grill. However, the smokiness, tenderness, and juiciness you were craving would still be there.
Smoking on a gas grill might seem simple, but when you see a propane grill for yourself you realize that there’s no way that you can smoke your food on it. No built-in adjustments are there that could help you with your urge to have a barbecue session with your family.
Well, no worries this guide would get you through all the simple steps and tricks from DIYs to understand the basic adjustments of how a propane grill works, and at the end of the day, you’ll learn that basic meatheads trick of how to smoke meat on a gas grill when you don’t have your conventional heavy-duty grill in hand.