The Easiest Way to Smoke on a Gas Grill

Gas barbecues are convenient and easy to use. Controlling temperature is simple. With just a twist of the knob, you can create the best sear marks you’ve ever seen or set up for some of that good-ol’ low and slow cooking. Adding the delightful aroma and flavor of wood smoke to your meals can sound like a challenge when not using charcoal or a traditional smoker-style barbecue. But that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. Here are some of the easiest ways you can smoke on a gas barbecue.


Tools you will Need:

Smoking can be accomplished easily with or without specialty accessories for your barbecue. Naturally, you will get the best results using the tools specially built to be used for smoking on the barbecue, however, with a little creativity, you can achieve some pretty tasty results without them too.


Wood Chips

The most important factor in getting that appetizing smoky flavor when you use a grill would have to be the wood chips. The results they produce range in strength from strong and smoky to sweet and subtle. The type of wood and resulting smoke flavor should be considered when choosing the chips.




Whisky/Brandy Barrel Oak




Strong southwest flavor good for red meat and poultry

Bold and smoky, southern style BBQ, best for pork, bacon, and red meats

Mild smoky taste with a sweet finish that goes best with beef, pork, poultry, fish, fruit, cheese, and vegetables

Sweet and balanced great for pork (ham, ribs, and bacon), dessert, fruits, and poultry

Sweet and subtle – light flavors that go wonderfully with seafood, pork, poultry, cheese, and fruit

Tart and fruity flavors, ideal for venison, beef, pork, poultry, fruits, and vegetables


Napoleon Stainless Steel Smoker Box

Easy to use, this gleaming stainless steel box is filled with your favorite flavor of wood chips and replaces a sear plate directly over the burner on the barbecue. The large capacity provides plenty of wood chips to create that tempting smoky flavor you are after.

To use, soak the chosen chips well before starting. Fill the smoker box with soaked chips while the barbecue is still cold. Remove a cooking grid and a sear plate that is directly above one of your barbecue’s burners. Replace the sear plate with the smoker box and then replace the cooking grid. Light the burner directly below the wood chips and set it to the lowest it will go. Light other burners as needed to heat the barbecue depending on your recipe.

Try this delicious recipe for a Smoked Jalapeno Popper Pork Roast.

Recipe Blog - Chardonnay Smoked Salmon - Chips


Napoleon Stainless Steel Smoker Pipe

Functioning similar to the smoker box, this smoker pipe is filled with your choice of chips as well. This pipe can be placed at the juncture of two sear plates under the cooking grids or atop the cooking grids over a lit burner. Its capacity is less than the smoker box so, for longer cooks, the smoker pipe may need to be refilled. Carefully remove it from the barbecue using heat-resistant gloves and empty the spent chips into a heat-safe container until they are cold. The pipe can then be refilled.


How to Smoke Without a Box or Pipe

If you find yourself without a smoker box or smoker pipe to use, you can always get creative. Fold some tin foil into an envelope or packet around your favorite flavor of wood chips. Use a fork or knife to carefully poke holes into one side of the foil packet for smoke to escape. Place that packet on the cooking grids, directly over your lit burner. The beauty of this is that you can use this technique whether you are lightly smoking your steak and pork chops, or you can make multiple packets to use over a longer cook like when you make a roast of beef.


Napoleon Cedar and Maple Planks

You don’t have to use wood chips or chunks to infuse your meal with a savory smoky smell. Using cedar or maple planks can provide a light and woody flavor. Just remember to soak the planks well before use.

Try these lightly smoky Planked Salmon Filets

Recipe Blog - Honey Garlic Butter Salmon - Grill1


What to Smoke and Types of Smoking

There’s just something about smoked foods that many can’t get enough of. Sure, there are the typical treats like pulled pork and brisket, but did you know that there are many more foods that can be smoked? That’s right! Everything from your steak to a huge roast, the holiday turkey to cheese and chocolate can be smoked.

There are a couple of different kinds of smoking and the food that you are smoking will dictate the technique used.


Hot Smoking

Hot smoking is done at temperatures between 200° and 375°F (93° and 191°C). This is ideal for foods that you are smoking for longer periods of time, anything that will be cooked for longer than 20-minutes.

Recipe Blog - Jalapeno Popper Pork - Sear


Cold Smoking

Typically done at much cooler temperatures, cold smoking is for cured fish, cheese, chocolate, cream, seasonings and anything that could melt. The temperature should be kept quite low, you are looking for something between 68° and 86°F (20° and 30°C). The idea is to have just enough heat to ignite the smoker chips for smoke but not enough heat for cooking. The smoker box is ideal in this case because it will be close to the heat source and the chips will ignite easier. You can help to keep the temperatures lower by using a water pan filled with cold water and/or ice as well.

Recipe Blog - Chardonnay Smoked Salmon - Grill2


Tips and Tricks for Smoking on a Gas Barbecue


Soaking Wood Chips and Planks

You don’t have to soak your wood chips when smoking on a gas barbecue. They will ignite quicker, but they will also be consumed a lot faster as well. Soaking will provide you with a time-release and allow you to preheat your barbecue for hot smoking. You can take advantage of this for longer cooks by making a packet of unsoaked wood chips and a packet or two of soaked ones. Place the unsoaked and soaked chips onto the barbecue above the lit burner the unsoaked ones will smoke quickly, while the soaked ones will take longer, meaning you don’t have to change the chips out for a while.

Planks should always be soaked for at least 30 minutes to an hour before you intend to use them.


20-Minute Rule

Generally speaking, it will take 20-minutes to 2-hours for smoke to flavor food in any significant way. That means if you wish to get that smoke flavor on your steak or pork chops, they will need to be cooked gently, using indirect heat, until they are nearly cooked. This is called the reverse sear technique.


Subtle Smoke to Start

When you first start smoking, try lighter flavored woods or mix lighter flavored woods with the stronger flavors like Mesquite and Hickory as they can become overpowering and disguise the taste of the foods you were trying to enhance.


Only Use Untreated Wood Planks, Chips, and Chunks

Using wood from unfamiliar sources, wood that was once part of your deck, and even that tree you took down in the back yard may seem like a great way to recycle, however, there could be chemicals, pesticides, and preservatives in those sources that will get onto your food and leave an unpleasant flavor or cause illness.


Meat Thermometers are your Friend

Investing in a high-quality meat thermometer is not just a great idea but it will help you learn how to barbecue and smoke better. The finished temperature for meat determines the texture and enjoyability of a meal just as much as the flavor.


The easiest way to smoke on a gas barbecue is to use a metal vessel, like a box or pipe accessory or some tin foil. Now that you know how to smoke on a gas barbecue you can easily do so. And by following these tips and tricks to smoke with gas you’ll be making gourmet meals in no time. Tell us about your adventures smoking on the gas barbecue by sharing photos, recipes, and stories on our social pages like Facebook and Instagram. Use the hashtags #NapoleonEats and #FreestyleGrilling.

Happy Grilling!

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