How to Smoke on a Gas Grill (3 Different Methods)

Do you have a gas grill, but want to smoke some meat?

Not only is it possible, but we’ll also show you 3 easy ways you can make it happen. 

In this guide, you will learn:

  • How to smoke on a gas grill
  • Expert tips for smoking food
  • And much more!

What You Need to Know About Smoking on a Gas Grill

Many people purchase gas grills because of their ease of cooking, thinking they are giving up the opportunity to smoke some amazing meats. The truth is, you can still smoke some amazing items using your gas grill–you just need a few extra tools! 

To smoke on a gas grill, you will need to buy a product like a smoker box, as well as some wood chips to go inside it. You can also make your own variation of a smoker box using some tin foil. Either way, with the right method, you can smoke on your gas grill. 

Read on to learn all about what you need to smoke on your gas grill and some tips for helping your meat come out amazing.

Why You Should Smoke On Your Gas Grill

While a gas grill isn’t a smoker, it can be used to smoke different meats using a smoker box. This is great for beginner smokers who aren’t sure they actually want to buy a smoker yet. 

Having a smoker and a grill really is the best way to be able to both smoke and grill meats when needed. But buying a smoker is a big decision, and it’s better to get a taste of the types of things you like to smoke before you decide to buy one. 

This is why it is a great idea to smoke on your gas grill in the meantime. Buying a smoker box isn’t expensive, and it can really show you want smoked meat is like, and you can begin to learn some skills. 

Then, once you’ve fallen in love with smoking (as we are sure you will), then, you can purchase a smoker. But, for now, let’s just focus on getting you to smoke some amazing meats in your gas grill! 

wood chips in a smoke box

What You Need to Smoke on a Gas Grill

There are a few different methods for smoking on a gas grill, and the method you choose will dictate whether or not you need all of these supplies. Either way, you will need some of the following to smoke on your gas grill. 

  • Smoker box
  • Aluminum foil
  • Wood chips
  • Cedar plank
  • Grilling tongs

Related >> 7 Best Grill Tongs for Effortless Grilling

Once you’ve got some of these on hand, it’s time to start smoking.

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How to Smoke on a Gas Grill (Smoker Box Method)

The smoker box method is the easiest way to smoke on a gas grill, and here is how you do it. 

Step 1: Soak Your Wood Chips

When working with wood chips on a gas grill, smoking them is a must. Soak them for at least 30 minutes in water. (More experienced smokers can soak their wood chips in whiskey, apple juice, or wine).

Step 2: Preheat Your Grill

While the wood chips are soaking, preheat your grill to high and ensure the grates are clean. 

Step 3: Fill a Smoker Box

Fill your smoker box with the soaked wood chips. If your smoker box is attached to your grill, you’ll need to use the tongs for this. Spread the chips out as thin as possible. 

Step 4: Place the Smoker Box on the Grill

Place the smoker box on the grill and close the lid. Once you see smoke coming out of the top or side of the grill, you can lower the heat to your desired setting. 

Step 5: Start Cooking

Arrange your food on the grill so that the smoke is going toward the food. It’s recommended to place the smoker box below the food if possible. If you are scared that the smoke flavor is too strong, then offset the smoke to one side. 

Then, just follow the directions for the piece of meat you are making and enjoy the amazing smoky flavor of the meat! 

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How to Smoke on a Gas Grill (Aluminum Foil Method)

If you don’t have a smoker box, you can use aluminum foil to make your own, it just takes a bit more work. 

Step 1: Soak Your Wood Chips

Start by soaking your wood chips in water (or your preferred beverage for 30 minutes. 

Step 2: Preheat Your Grill

Set your grill to high and let it preheat. 

Step 3: Prepare Your Aluminum

Fold your aluminum into pouch-like shapes, leaving an opening where you can insert the wood chips.

Step 4: Prepare Your Pouches

Stuff the pouches with the soaked wood chips. Close the end, but then use a fork to poke holes for the smoke to escape from the pouch. You can also use a foil pan for this. 

Step 5: Place on the Grill

Use the tongs to put your smoker pouches in place. You may need more than one, depending on how long you plan to smoke. 

Step 6: Wait

Close the lid and wait for smoke to begin to pour out of the sides or top. 

Step 7: Start Cooking

Once smoke is pouring out, you can start cooking your meat! Feel free to move the pouches around to smoke directly or to use offset smoking. Then follow the directions found in your recipe to smoke your meat. Enjoy! 

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How to Smoke on a Gas Grill (Cedar Plank Method)

The cedar plank method is a great way to smoke on your gas grill without needing to do extra work! 

Step 1: Soak the Plank

Start by soaking the plank in water for at least one hour. You may need a large metal pan or cooler depending on the size of your plank.

Step 2: Preheat the Grill

Turn your grill to medium heat and let it preheat.

Step 3: Place Your Plank

Use tongs to put the plank on the grill right where you plan to grill your meat.

Step 4: Wait

Close the lid and wait until smoke starts coming out of the sides or top of the grill. It should take 5-10 minutes. 

Step 5: Flip the Plank

Flip the plank over using the tongs. 

Step 6: Start Cooking

Place your food on the charred side of the plank and start cooking. You will want to ensure you follow the appropriate cedar plank recipe when using a cedar plank for smoking, as this is different from the other two methods. 

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Tips for Smoking on a Gas Grill

Now that you’ve got a few methods under your belt let’s look at some tips for smoking on your gas grill. 

1. Keep the Lid Closed

Smoking only works when the meat is allowed time to absorb the smoke. This will not happen if you have your grill hanging open. Try your best to keep the grill closed and check on it as infrequently as possible.

2. Experiment With Different Woods

Using different wood chips in your smoker box will yield different results. If you didn’t like your first experience with smoked meats, consider trying a lighter wood like cherry or apple, as these tend to be a bit sweeter than hickory or maple.

3. Know Your Smoke Time

Some recipes require you to smoke meat for hours, while others it may be only 45 minutes. You need to know this in advance so you know how far to fill your smoker box, or how many smoking pouches you need. Trying to add wood chips in the middle of the cooking process is a huge hassle, so planning in advance is key. 

4. Temp Your Meat

If you are following a recipe for a smoked brisket (or similar), the person who wrote the recipe likely used a smoker. Because you are using a gas grill instead of a smoker, it’s important that you use temperature to know when your meat is done. This is because there could be a variation in cooking times due to the different method of smoking. 

5. Play With Smoke Position

As mentioned above, a smoker box or smoking pouches allow you to play with direct smoking as well as offset smoking. If this is your first experience smoking on a gas grill, you might want to offset smoke just until you know how much of a smoky flavor your meat will have. 

Final Thoughts on How to Smoke on a Gas Grill

Overall, smoking on a gas grill is a piece of cake as long as you have read this guide. Whether you have decided to buy a smoker box or make your own pouches, you can’t go wrong when you start smoking meats! 

Just remember to play around with the wood type and smoke location until you get the hang of it. If you find you truly love smoking meats, then it may be time to look into purchasing a full smoker to give you even more smoking options! 

Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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