How To Use A Smoker Box On A Gas Grill (5 Simple Steps)

 Want to try smoking meat but don’t have a smoker?

You can use a smoker box on your grill to give a delicious smoky flavor to any type of food!

I have done it with steaks, chicken, pork chops, prime ribs, and vegetables.

It can be tricky to set it up properly, so follow my basic steps to smoking on a gas grill with a smoker box

What Is a Smoker Box?

A smoker box is a small metal box with holes in it. You place your wood chips it in and just place it on the grill to smolder.

It’s also a great addition to an outdoor grill or propane gas grill because it adds a smokey flavor to food.

Smoke Tube Is An Alternative for a Smoke Box

You can also use a smoke tube to generate smoke in a gas grill.

It works similar to a smoke box.

See how to use a smoke tube here.

Char Broil Cast Iron Smoke Box

How to Use a Smoker on a Gas Grill

Here are some basic steps to take when using a smoker box on a gas grill.

Preheat Your Gas Grill

Before you start smoking your food, preheat your grill first. You can use a gas grill or charcoal grill as your heat source. 

If you want your grill to heat fast, switch on all the burners and turn them up to a high temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

After your grill reaches the correct temperature, shut off some burners. And if you worry about your grill overheating, just set the burners to medium and low heat.

However, if the heat is low or medium, the wood chips take a long time to ignite, but not to worry, heating your grill helps save time before you start cooking.

Choose the Wood Chips You Want to Use

Now that you have a smoker box, choose the wood chips you want to enhance the taste and add a smoke flavor to your food.

The type of wood chips you choose determines the smoke output of your smoker.

Here is a list of wood chips people use in the smoking and the types of meat you can pair them with for the best smoky flavor. 

Hickory wood chips are great for red meat, and you can use them on pork, beef, lamb, and other types of red meat.

Mesquite wood has a strong flavor and is good for red meat. Avoid using too much of it because of the intense flavor.

Applewood is mild, sweet, and mellow. For the best result blend it with other woods. It’s great for smoking poultry, seafood, and pork. 

Cherry wood is great for all types of meat, red and white like wild game, beef, or poultry. It’s sweet, has a mild flavor, and blends well with other types of wood for additional flavor. And it gives the meat a rich mahogany color.

Alder wood is good for smoking fish and poultry. It’s mild, subtly sweet, and delicate.

soak wood chunks for smoking

Get The Smoker Box Ready

Get your smoker box ready by loading it with charcoal, smoking chunks, or dry wood chips and closing it up. 

But first, do you know that you can make your simple smoker box? Yes, you can by using an aluminum foil lid and pan. 

Also, you can create an aluminum ball with wood chips inside and poke holes on the top for smoke escape. So if you don’t have a smoker box, try making one and see how it goes.

Instead of going through the trouble, buy commercial BBQ smoker boxes because they are made from the best materials. You can make a choice between a grill smoker box, a pellet smoker box, or a wood chip smoker box when shopping for your smoker.

There are major departments stores you can buy a smoker box from like, amazon. Go to Amazon or a store of choice in the grill and BBQ section and weigh your options.

Can you Soak Wood Chips/ Chunks?

Great question, but does it matter? Well, some chefs argue that soaking wood or placing your chips in water produces more smoke.

But think about it, wet wood chips take time to light up. Water evaporates at a boiling point of 212°F, and wood burns at 500°F when all the water dries up.

So if you soak your wood chips, cooking takes time and delays the smoking process.

Setup Your Grill For Smoking

Now that your gas grill is hot and you’ve added wood to your smoker box, turn your gas burners off for indirect cooking.

Turning off the burners under the food allows the food to cook with the temperature in the grill. Avoid using direct heat or a direct flame when smoking.

Setting up your grill burners depends on the number of burners you have. For example, if you have a three-burner grill, you can turn off the right and middle burner and leave the left one burning. So check out your instructions manual and see how to set up your type of gas grill.

After you set up your burners, place your smoker box over the burning burner( the left one from the example). And close the lid to allow the grill to settle in the ambient temperature.

To add your food, adjust the burners up and down to reach a grill temperature of 225°F to 250°F. Also, allow the temp to be stable. If you follow these steps, your smoker box will be producing smoke and be ready for cooking.

It’s Time To Cook

After achieving a temperature of within 225°F to 250°F, place your food on the unlit burner and close the cover.

If you’re cooking poultry aim for a temp of 250°F to 300°F.

The required internal temperature varies for each cut. For example, you want pulled pork to reach an internal temperature of 204°F before you take it off the heat.

I have a comprehensive list of required internal temperatures of cuts so it’s safe for consumption here.

It’s Time To Cook

After achieving a temperature of within 225°F to 250°F, place your food on the unlit burner and close the cover.

If you’re cooking poultry aim for a temp of 250°F to 300°F.

The required internal temperature varies for each cut. For example, you want pulled pork to reach an internal temperature of 204°F before you take it off the heat.

I have a comprehensive list of required internal temperatures of cuts so it’s safe for consumption here.

Don’t Have a Smoker Box?

You don’t have to have a smoker box to smoke on a grill.

You can create a smoking pouch from foil.

Just get an A4-size piece of foil. Place a handful of wood chips in the middle, then fold up like a present.

Then poke 8-10 holes in it. I like to make 3-4 of these for each smoke session. Them you can just throw another one in the grill when the other is all burnt out.

Se an example of a smoking pouch below I made.

my smoke pouch filled with wood chips for gas grill

What You Should Know When Choosing A Smoker Box

There are different types of smokers available, and they use different fuel types. For example, you can choose between a grill smoker box, pellet smoker, or pellet smoker tube.

Make sure to choose a smoker box that meets your needs and fits inside your grill.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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