Smoking Meat on a Gas Grill
Calling all backyard barbecue enthusiasts! If you're craving tender, smoky meat but you only have a gas grill, we've got great news. You can smoke whatever meat (and fish, cheese, and veggies too) you're hankering for using the grill you already have. While you might not achieve the same deep flavor and crusty exterior you'd get with a smoker or even a charcoal grill, you'll end up with a flavorful piece of meat that'll satisfy your cravings.
Learn all about it with our quick how-to guide. We've got all the details you need, including a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.
Benefits of Smoking Meat on a Gas Grill
Benefits? It's really a toss-up between the convenience of using what you already have and the flavor and tenderness you can coax from the meat. But that's not all. Although you'll want to keep an eye on your grill temperature, you won't need to babysit a wood-burning fire or charcoal. You also have more control over the temperature, giving you more consistent results.
Getting Started: What You Need for Smoking
You already have the most important thing: your gas grill. But you'll also need a few extras. Some grills come with built-in smoker boxes. If yours doesn't, no worries. You can buy a smoker box or even make your own using a pan covered with foil that you place a few vent holes in. You also need a good grill-surface thermometer — a must-have for keeping an eye on your grill temperatures, which you ideally want to keep around 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle? Wood. Chunks or chips — it's up to you. Use a single variety or a combination for the flavor you crave. Different varieties have varying intensities and flavor profiles:
- Hickory provides a bacon-y flavor that can be overpowering in large quantities.
- Mesquite is very strong with an earthy flavor that works with all meats.
- Oak is popular for its heavy smoke flavor that doesn't usually overpower the meat.
- Pecan offers a pronounced flavor that's milder than mesquite or hickory.
- Maple adds a slightly sweet, smoky flavor that works particularly well with ham, poultry, cheese, and vegetables.
- Peach has a fruity, sweet flavor that works well with small game, pork, and poultry.
- Apple offers a mild, slightly sweet, and fruity flavor that works well with pork, poultry, lamb, and game birds.
- Alder has a subtle, light sweetness that works well with fish, pork, and poultry.
- Cherry provides a mildly sweet and fruity flavor that works with just about anything you want to smoke.
Soak your wood chips for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to make the wood last longer and to get the most smoke out of every chip or chunk.
How to Smoke on a Gas Grill
Smoking on a gas grill really boils down to taking a few basic steps: prepping the wood, preparing the meat, setting up the grill for indirect grilling, and smoking the meat.
- Choose your wood — or blend of woods — and soak them for optimal results.
- Prepare the meat with a flavorful marinade or a dry rub of your favorite herbs and spices. Refrigerate the seasoned or marinating meat for 8 hours up to overnight.
- Set up the grill for indirect grilling by lighting one burner on a
three-burner grill or two adjacent burners on a four-burner grill. Add a drip pan under the grates over the unlit burner(s) to catch the fat
drippings that could cause a flareup.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat. Use your thermometer so you know when it reaches 225 F to 250 F.
- Add the smoker box, using heat-proof gloves and tongs to place it in the lid or beneath the grates safely.
- Once you see smoke coming out of your smoker box, place the meat on the grill over the unlit portion. Cook the meat "low and slow" until it reaches the appropriate minimum internal temperature on a meat thermometer.
Make It Yourself: Smoked Brisket
Here's proof you don't need a smoker to make lick-your-lips, luscious smoked meat on a gas grill. This Texas-inspired brisket will make your taste buds sing. Get a beautiful brisket from your favorite butcher in our Food Lion meat department, requesting one that's cut evenly.
- 1 beef brisket, trimmed to 1/4-inch-thick fat
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups hickory wood chips
- 2 cups apple wood chips
- 2 cups oak, cherry, or maple wood chips
- Soak the wood chips overnight.
- Season the brisket with salt and pepper and allow it to rest for 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the grill to medium, add a drip pan, and place the smoker box filled with soaked wood chips over a lit burner.
- Once the wood starts smoking, add the brisket, placing it with the fatty side up.
- Close the lid and allow the meat to smoke, maintaining a steady temperature between 225 F and 250 F. Adjust the temperature of the lit burner(s) as needed.
- Check the wood chips every hour, adding additional soaked chips as needed for a consistent smoke level.
- Rotate the brisket every 2 to 3 hours. Smoke it for roughly 10 to 12 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the brisket reads a minimum of 195 F.