Let’s learn how to smoke on a gas grill. It’s pretty easy and you don’t need very much, just a few tools and some technique. Before you know it you will be cooking beautifully smoked ribs and delicious pulled pork in no time!
What You’ll Need
- Gas grill
- Wood chips
- Aluminum foil
- Disposable aluminum foil pan
- Digital thermometer (optional)
The key to smoking any meat regardless of the type of grill or smoker we are using is your ability to cook at a constant, low temperature. Usually, we aim to smoke food around 225°F - 250°F, but that may be difficult with a gas grill. So long as you can keep it under 300°F, you should be okay.
In our last blog post, we spoke about the importance of two zone cooking. The lessons we learned there play an important part in smoking on a gas grill. Most gas grills you have at least two burners, meaning you can easily have a “cool” side to cook your food on, and a “hot” side to provide heat. You’ll need to play around with your grill to find a good combination that works for you.
Get Some Wood
Obviously, if we’re smoking we’re going to need some wood. Most any hardware store will carry bags of wood chips; these work great on a gas grill. There are lots of different types of wood you can buy, but my recommendation for anyone starting out is to stick with a mild wood like hickory, or a fruit wood like cherry or apple.
Some strongly recommend soaking your wood in water before you use it, but I disagree. Wood simply does not absorb much water (that’s why boats were made from wood for centuries), and I just feel it is an unnecessary step.
If you don’t believe me, just try smoking with soaked chips, and then dry again with dry chips. I’d wager a large sum that you don’t notice a difference.
Next, grab some aluminum foil and fold it into a pouch and add about a ½ cup of wood chips. This will be all you’ll use the first time you smoke anything. If after you’ve cooked your meal you feel that you could have used a little more smoke flavor, feel free to add more wood next time. Trust me on this one, there’s nothing worse than an over-smoked meal.
Once you have your pouch filled with the wood chips and your grill up to temp, simply lift the grill grate and place the pouch over the lit burner. The wood will catch and smolder inside the pouch, allowing smoke to escape and flavor your meat.
The Water Pan
When you get your grill up to temp it would be no surprise that it is hotter the closer you get to the heat source. By filling a pan with water and placing it underneath the grill grate on the “cool” side of your grill, you are able to heat up the water and create even heat underneath the food you are cooking.
Another added benefit is that as you cook water is slowly evaporating, helping you cook in a moist environment, and keeping the meat from drying out.
To make it easy to monitor the temperature inside your grill, I strongly recommend using a quality digital thermometer like the Thermoworks Smoke.
The beauty of a thermometer like this is that it can measure the temperature at the grill level thanks to the help of a probe with a clip that connects it to the grill grate. When you begin cooking with this device it is easy to monitor the temp inside your grill and you can simply raise or lower your temp by turning the propane up or down.
Play With Fire!
Now that you know the basics it’s time to get in some practice! Try smoking with different woods and at different temps to find out what works best for you!