How to add smoke to a gas grill

How to add smoke to a gas grill

Some of today’s gas grills come equipped with a metal smoker box that sits on top of a dedicated burner. 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, too.

If your gas grill doesn’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. 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.

How to add smoke to a gas grill

You can also make your own smoker box. Here’s how: 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.

Add Authentic Smoke Flavor to Your Grilling

How to add smoke to a gas grill

Shortly after that first prehistoric cookout, someone must have noticed that burning different woods created different flavors in food. Some flavors were good and some flavors were not so good. Of course, we know that hardwoods, like oak, hickory, and mesquite and fruit woods, like cherry, apple or even pecan are much more desirable for making smoke.

When you slow smoke a piece of meat you give it plenty of time and smoke so that it can absorb the flavor of the smoke. However when you grill foods there isn’t a lot of time to introduce smoke to the food. The first rule is not to waste your time and wood on things that simply won’t benefit from the smoky flavor. Typically these are foods that cook quickly.

Case in point, the charcoal versus gas argument. Taste tests show that while the average person can tell the difference between steaks cooked over gas versus steaks cooked over charcoal, they can’t tell with a hamburger. Reason? The hamburger doesn’t spend enough time on the grill to pick up enough of the smoke and flavor produced by the burning charcoal. So, soaking wood chips for a hot dog cookout is probably a waste of time and wood. However, if you are grilling a leg of lamb or a prime rib roast then go ahead and get the smoke going.

Do you want to use wood chunks to make smoke if you use a charcoal grill? If you are using the standard, off the shelf charcoal briquettes, then yes you do. If you go the extra mile to find lump charcoal then probably wouldn’t need the extra smoke, unless you like it that way.

To add extra smoke to your grilling start by placing your hardwood chunks in water. The wood should be saturated with water but not dripping wet when you add it to the fire so once you remove it from the water, let it drain until it stops dripping. If you are using a charcoal grill you can add the wood directly to the coals once the fire has died down. Always add smoking wood when you are ready to cook. There’s no point making smoke for the sake of smoke.

If you are adding smoking wood to a gas grill then you need to arrange to keep the wood isolated from the fire. You don’t want the wood to burn too fast and you don’t want the ash to collect in your gas grill. There are several devices on the market for holding smoking wood chips in your gas grill; the most common is a cast iron box that fits under the cooking grate and above the burners. However, the easiest and cheapest unit is a sheet of foil. Take your soaked wood and place in on a piece of foil, fold to enclose it and then punch a couple holes through the foil to let the smoke through. This method works great and all you have to do is throw out the foil packet once it’s cooled down.

The great thing about cooking with smoke is all the experimentation it allows you to do. There all kinds of different woods you can use in different combinations. I suggest you start with oak, it’s a good mild wood that won’t overpower your cooking and will get you started on the journey of cooking with smoke. Good luck.

It’s all in the wood chips

How to add smoke to a gas grill

The biggest difference between gas grills and charcoal grills? The ones powered by gas don’t impart any smoky flavor to the food that is cooked on them.

That smoky flavor is one of the many reasons food cooked on a charcoal grill is so appetizing and appealing.

So what can you do if you own a gas grill and don’t want to get a wood one? Here are a few tips and guidelines for hacking your current set up.

Grilling With Smoke Vs. Smoking

First of all, smoking is a distinct cooking technique from grilling with smoke. Smoking involves cooking bigger cuts of meat for long times at low temperatures by using chunks of hardwood to generate hot smoke. With smoking, the heat of the smoke itself cooks the food.

The technique we’re discussing here, on the other hand, is grilling, which calls for cooking food quickly at a much higher temperature using hot air generated by the coals.

How to Grill With Wood Chips

The primary way of getting smoky flavor on a gas grill is by using wood chips. These are available at the supermarket, hardware or barbecue stores, as well as online. Different woods produce different flavors of smoke, but the most common types (especially in chip form) that produce the most moderate smoke flavors are hickory, oak and maple. These are good all-purpose woods for everything from poultry, beef and pork, as well as game birds and other wild game.

To Soak or Not to Soak?

Some backyard grillers like to soak their wood chips before using them because they think it produces more smoke. And while it’s true that burning unseasoned (aka “green”) wood in your fireplace will produce more smoke, the same is not true for cooking with wood chips.

Whole logs are larger and denser, so moisture trapped deep inside will indeed cause the wood to burn at a lower temperature, thus producing more smoke.

But wood chips are small, and the amount of water they can absorb is quickly boiled off by the heat of the grill, so it’s merely producing a small amount of steam prior to smoking. In other words, whether you soak your wood chips or not makes no difference whatsoever.

What Meats Work Best?

Grilling with wood chips works best with foods that have longer cooking times. With a grilled steak, your goal is to get the meat on and off as quickly as possible. And because it takes time for smoke to penetrate a piece of meat, trying to use smoke while cooking a steak is actually counterproductive.

This is also (though to a lesser extent) true for cooking burgers, which you should cook all the way through (as opposed to steaks which are best cooked medium-rare or at most medium), but which still have a fairly sort cooking time.

But chicken (especially whole chickens or bone-in chicken pieces), as well as larger cuts of beef and pork offer the best opportunity for cooking with smoke.

It is possible to add too much smoke, however, which can cause the flavor to overpower the flavor of the food itself, and this is not what you want. To avoid this, stick to this basic rule of thumb, which is to use smoke only for half of the cooking time. So if your item takes 30 minutes on the grill, use smoke for 15 minutes.

How to add smoke to a gas grill

Methods for Grilling With Wood Chips

The main methods for grilling with wood chips on a gas grill are to use a foil pouch or a smoker box. Some gas grills are already equipped with a smoker box, so if yours has one, use it.

Otherwise, the easiest method is to wrap your wood chips loosely in aluminum foil, creating a small pouch. Punch a few holes at the top of the pouch to let the smoke out and place the packet directly on the grill grate above a burner. It might take 15 minutes for it to start smoking, so you should get it started before you add the food. And then remember to remove it halfway through the cooking time.

A smoker box is basically a perforated box that you can use over and over. Some types sit on the grill grate and others go below. Other than that, they work the same way (although the below-grate kind are harder to remove during cooking).

And while it should go without saying, remember to keep the lid of your grill closed to hold the smoke in!

So there you have it. With these simple techniques, you’ll find it easy to get delicious smoky flavor on your gas grill.

How to add smoke to a gas grill

[#image: /photos/57d96c185a14a530086ef6b5]|||(Credit: Courtesy Viking)|||

Gas grills: lots of people have them. They’re easy to start, they’re usually pretty big (translation: they can cook 40 burgers at once), and their heat can be tweaked with a flick of the wrist. The only problem? They can’t impart the smoky flavor of charcoal.

Although you’ll never get that exact charred taste without the real thing, there are some tricks that will get you pretty darn close. Below, BA Associate Food Editor
Chris Morocco tells us how to take your gas grill to the next level. –Danielle Walsh

We love charcoal for its natural ability to provide temperature zones–extreme heat directly over coals and more moderate heat away from the coals. Try to mimic the heat output with your gas grill by putting part of it on high, (as high as it will go–don’t be scared) and part on low or even turned off. This will create more maillard (browning) reactions in proteins, which translates to flavor.

Using a smoker box, which uses wood chips, (like this one from Weber) adds great flavor. Place it on the grill, throw down your meat and veggies, shut the grill’s cover, and let the smoke work its magic.

Before searing that steak, throw tinfoil or an old baking sheet over the grate to build up extra heat for a really amazing char. The blast of heat only lasts for about 30 seconds, so be at the ready–slip your meat on the grate right as you remove the foil–and it will result in an unmatched sear.

Whereas keeping the cover on a charcoal grill reduces its heat output (it thrives on airflow) the cover helps build and maintain heat on a gas grill. Remember, it’s all about the heat when it comes to a good char, so keep that cover on as much as possible–plus it helps build more smoke, which you want.

The conclusion? The convenience of a propane-powered grill is incredible. In the Test Kitchen, we have used one for 12-hour smoking projects and were able to sleep through the night with it set to low, putting out just the right amount of heat. But if I have a $50 ribeye, I am going charcoal all the way. –Chris Morocco

How to add smoke to a gas grill

In Texas, barbecue is about beef: specifically brisket, the cut by which any joint is judged. Brisket has become a favorite of restaurant chefs, too, hence the smoke ribbons and Hank Williams songs drifting out of restaurants as far away as Brooklyn. But can great brisket be made at home? I devoted a weekend to the task and learned hat with a few key ingredients—salt, pepper, patience, and advice from Aaron Franklin, my neighbor and the pitmaster at Franklin Barbecue in Austin—swoonworthy results are doable. You just have to take the time—12 smoky hours.

Brisket (from the cow’s breast or lower chest) is rich in connective tissue, so it requires a low-and-slow process to relax the muscle into tender goodness–a pleasure that can’t be achieved with a quicker method.

Luckily, those first unforgettable bites are worth the weekend. So let’s get started.

You’ll have to special-order your brisket ahead of time (the brisket already sold at the meat counter is typically not whole). You should be able to do this at almost any butcher shop or at a grocery store meat counter. Ask for a brisket that is as evenly thick as possible, with the surrounding fat trimmed to 1/4″ thick (this protects the meat from drying out while cooking).

An hour before preparing the grill, place brisket on a rimmed baking sheet. Mix salt and pepper in a small bowl and season the meat all over (it should look like sand stuck to wet skin but without being cakey). Let meat sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Need a cheat? If you just don’t want to spend your whole day at the grill, here’s a fail-safe, Aaron Franklin-endorsed alternate method that will deliver similarly glorious results: Smoke brisket on grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of meat registers 150-170 degrees, 5-6 hours. Wrap brisket in foil, place on a baking sheet, and cook in a 250-degree oven until meat reaches the same 195-205 degrees internal temperature, 4-6 hours longer. What’s important is getting that smoky flavor into the meat, and 5-6 hours on the grill should do it. After that point, you’re simply getting the meat cooked through.

DO AHEAD: Brisket is best shortly off the grill, but you can still get good results smoking it up to 3 days ahead. Let cool for an hour before wrapping in foil and chilling. To serve, reheat meat, still wrapped, in a 325-degree oven until warmed through.

Need a cheat? If you just don’t want to spend your whole day at the grill, here’s a fail-safe Aaron Franklin-endorsed alternate method that will deliver similarly glorious results: Smoke brisket on grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of meat registers 150-170 degrees, 5-6 hours. Wrap brisket in foil, place on a baking sheet, and cook in a 250-degree oven until meat reaches the same 195-205 degrees internal temperature, 4-6 hours longer. What’s important is getting that smoky flavor into the meat, and 5-6 hours on the grill should do it. After that point, you’re simply getting the meat cooked through.

How to add smoke to a gas grill

Smoking meats and vegetables is a great way to add new flavors to old favorites. And you can do it right on your gas grill.

Smoke everything from a pork butt to a salmon filet on your gas grill. Great candidates for smoking are fish, chicken breasts and thin-cut pork chops. If you’re up for a larger cut of meat and longer time commitment, then try a beef brisket.

Like fine wine, there are some woods that go better with certain meats. Alder wood, apple and cherry produces a delicate flavor as does pecan. Hickory and oak are more assertive. Mesquite is strong and full-bodied and is really only suitable for beef brisket. Aromatics, such as herbs, fruit peels or cinnamon sticks, also can be added to produce even more flavor. Aromatics with high oil content, like rosemary, will produce a stronger flavor.

WOOD CHUNKS

Wood chunks burn more slowly that chips. Often a chunk or two, about the size of an egg or weighing two to four ounces, is all that is necessary. Chunks are a slow, steady source of smoke, and are in many ways, the most desirable for smoking. When you use chunks, you can add one or two at the start of the cooking cycle.

WOOD CHIPS

Wood chips are about the size of coins and generally easy to find. They burn quickly and you may find that you need to add them more than once during the cooking cycle. Chips are fine for short cooks. But for long cooks, chunks are better. Wood chips will begin to smoke more quickly than wood chunks so choose accordingly.

PELLETS

Pellets are made by compressing wet sawdust into small rods, about a half an inch long. Food-grade pellets contain no binders, glue or adhesives, and when they get wet they revert to sawdust immediately. Some smokers use pellets as the main fuel. For both flavor and heat, pellets do well, especially in competition barbeque. That’s because they can be fed into the fire in a very controlled manner, usually by an auger. Pellet cookers can be regulated with a thermostat, making them very controllable. They also burn very hot and clean.

SMOKING PACKET

Making a smoker packet is simple. Take a square of heavy-duty aluminum foil and put a fist full of wood chips in the center. Completely close the foil around the chips and then poke a few holes in the top with a fork to allow the smoke to escape the packet.

SMOKER BOXES

If you are a big-time smoker, you may want to invest in a smoker box. There are variety of smoker boxes, grilling chambers, aluminum smoker packets and more on CharBroil.com.

It’s a hotly contested topic on whether or not to soak wood chips – in wine, beer or water – before using. Wet wood takes longer to smoke. If you put chips in a pan of water, you’ll see steam before you see any smoke. If you are worried about chips catching on fire when you add them directly to the grill, make a smoke packet by wrapping the wood in foil and poking holes in the foil. Or switch to chunks.

If you are smoking a pork shoulder or ribs, which will take several hours, a good rule of thumb is to add a new smoker pack with a handful of wood every 30 minutes. You can also add wood chips directly to any TRU-Infrared grill. Two to three handfuls of wood chips will smoke for about an hour.

To preheat the grill, turn one side of your grill to high and leave the other off. Place the wood chips on the hot side. When they begin to smoke, turn the burners down to low. Then place the meat on the unlit side of the grill. The temperature range for smoking is 230°F to 250°F. You can measure the heat of the grill surface with a digital probe thermometer.

While the meat is smoking, resist the urge to take off the cover and check it frequently because the smoke will escape. You also will extend the cooking time every time you remove the cover.

HOT TIP: Always use a thermometer to check the internal temperature before serving smoked meats. Start with meats that are at room temperature before placing them on the smoker.

Add Authentic Smoke Flavor to Your Grilling

How to add smoke to a gas grill

Shortly after that first prehistoric cookout, someone must have noticed that burning different woods created different flavors in food. Some flavors were good and some flavors were not so good. Of course, we know that hardwoods, like oak, hickory, and mesquite and fruit woods, like cherry, apple or even pecan are much more desirable for making smoke.

When you slow smoke a piece of meat you give it plenty of time and smoke so that it can absorb the flavor of the smoke. However when you grill foods there isn’t a lot of time to introduce smoke to the food. The first rule is not to waste your time and wood on things that simply won’t benefit from the smoky flavor. Typically these are foods that cook quickly.

Case in point, the charcoal versus gas argument. Taste tests show that while the average person can tell the difference between steaks cooked over gas versus steaks cooked over charcoal, they can’t tell with a hamburger. Reason? The hamburger doesn’t spend enough time on the grill to pick up enough of the smoke and flavor produced by the burning charcoal. So, soaking wood chips for a hot dog cookout is probably a waste of time and wood. However, if you are grilling a leg of lamb or a prime rib roast then go ahead and get the smoke going.

Do you want to use wood chunks to make smoke if you use a charcoal grill? If you are using the standard, off the shelf charcoal briquettes, then yes you do. If you go the extra mile to find lump charcoal then probably wouldn’t need the extra smoke, unless you like it that way.

To add extra smoke to your grilling start by placing your hardwood chunks in water. The wood should be saturated with water but not dripping wet when you add it to the fire so once you remove it from the water, let it drain until it stops dripping. If you are using a charcoal grill you can add the wood directly to the coals once the fire has died down. Always add smoking wood when you are ready to cook. There’s no point making smoke for the sake of smoke.

If you are adding smoking wood to a gas grill then you need to arrange to keep the wood isolated from the fire. You don’t want the wood to burn too fast and you don’t want the ash to collect in your gas grill. There are several devices on the market for holding smoking wood chips in your gas grill; the most common is a cast iron box that fits under the cooking grate and above the burners. However, the easiest and cheapest unit is a sheet of foil. Take your soaked wood and place in on a piece of foil, fold to enclose it and then punch a couple holes through the foil to let the smoke through. This method works great and all you have to do is throw out the foil packet once it’s cooled down.

The great thing about cooking with smoke is all the experimentation it allows you to do. There all kinds of different woods you can use in different combinations. I suggest you start with oak, it’s a good mild wood that won’t overpower your cooking and will get you started on the journey of cooking with smoke. Good luck.

How to add smoke to a gas grill

[#image: /photos/57d96c185a14a530086ef6b5]|||(Credit: Courtesy Viking)|||

Gas grills: lots of people have them. They’re easy to start, they’re usually pretty big (translation: they can cook 40 burgers at once), and their heat can be tweaked with a flick of the wrist. The only problem? They can’t impart the smoky flavor of charcoal.

Although you’ll never get that exact charred taste without the real thing, there are some tricks that will get you pretty darn close. Below, BA Associate Food Editor
Chris Morocco tells us how to take your gas grill to the next level. –Danielle Walsh

We love charcoal for its natural ability to provide temperature zones–extreme heat directly over coals and more moderate heat away from the coals. Try to mimic the heat output with your gas grill by putting part of it on high, (as high as it will go–don’t be scared) and part on low or even turned off. This will create more maillard (browning) reactions in proteins, which translates to flavor.

Using a smoker box, which uses wood chips, (like this one from Weber) adds great flavor. Place it on the grill, throw down your meat and veggies, shut the grill’s cover, and let the smoke work its magic.

Before searing that steak, throw tinfoil or an old baking sheet over the grate to build up extra heat for a really amazing char. The blast of heat only lasts for about 30 seconds, so be at the ready–slip your meat on the grate right as you remove the foil–and it will result in an unmatched sear.

Whereas keeping the cover on a charcoal grill reduces its heat output (it thrives on airflow) the cover helps build and maintain heat on a gas grill. Remember, it’s all about the heat when it comes to a good char, so keep that cover on as much as possible–plus it helps build more smoke, which you want.

The conclusion? The convenience of a propane-powered grill is incredible. In the Test Kitchen, we have used one for 12-hour smoking projects and were able to sleep through the night with it set to low, putting out just the right amount of heat. But if I have a $50 ribeye, I am going charcoal all the way. –Chris Morocco