How To Smoke Food on a Gas Grill
That great smoky flavor is something all grill aficionados love. But it's hard to replicate on a gas grill. While they are great for convenience, gas grills don't deliver the same experience as charcoal grills do. You can capture the taste of food smoked over charcoal or wood on your gas grill, and we’ll tell you how.
Getting That Smoky Flavor
In a gas grill, you can obtain that smoky flavor by using wood chips. Hickory and fruit woods like apple or cherry are very popular and work well on gas grills. Mesquite chips deliver flavors reminiscent of the Southwest. You can even find specialty chips with their own unique flavor. Our Mesquite Wood Chips are great at adding that bold smoke flavor meats, cheeses, and even veggies.
If you're going to cook with wood chips you'll need to do a little advance planning. First, decide the best pairing of wood to the food you are smoking, then set the chips to soak. They need to soak in water, beer, or juice for at least 30 minutes prior to use. Soaking helps the chips smolder rather than burn up quickly. This slow smolder is what imparts the smoky flavor into food. Once soaked and the grill preheated, place the chips into a Napoleon Smoker Pipe, a foil packet, or into the integrated smoker tray (Prestige PRO™ Model Grills), and over the lit burner.
Fully cooking meat using smoke takes patience and time. A properly smoked brisket or pulled pork takes upwards of 12 hours or more. This is due to the low temperature. Low and slow is where it’s at for smoking. Using the technique above for a full smoke is not ideal, you will have more success using a charcoal smoker like our Apollo® Series Smokers for a very long cook like when you do brisket. Smoking on a gas grill doesn't need to take a long time. It is ideal for faster grilling like when you reverse sear a steak and want a little extra smoky flavor.
Tools You'll Need
Obviously, you can't just toss wet wood chips into the bottom of your gas grill. You need to contain them in something like Napoleon's Smoker Pipe. A container will hold the wet chips in place, collect the ash that inevitably falls from them, and give you the means to move the chips around and out of the grill easily. Smoker tubes or pipes, as they are sometimes called, also restrict airflow so your chips don't burn out too fast.
That's all there is to it! It's not very difficult to recreate the smoky flavor of charcoal or wood cooking on a gas grill once you understand the basics. Now you're ready for the fun part - experimenting with different wood and food combinations!