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Lesson 6: How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill

Sarah Breckenridge; Video by Bruce Becker and Dariusz Kanarek; Editing by Cari Delahanty. Shot on location at the Dana Holcombe House, Newtown, CT.
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Lesson 6: How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill

Whether you’re already an accomplished griller or just a novice, grilling cookbook author Fred Thompson will turn you into a grill master in ten short episodes.

It’s a long-persistent myth that grilling on gas means you can’t develop smoky flavor in your food. But it’s actually very easy to add smoke to any gas grill, all you need are some wood chips. If your grill is equipped with a smoker box, you can add wood chips directly to it. If not, you can create your own homemade version with a few sheets of foil.

Recipes for Smoking on the Gas Grill
Smoked Chicken Halves with Lemon-Ginger Barbecue Sauce Tea-Smoked Salmon Whole Smoke-Grilled Mountain Trout Smoked Heirloom Tomato Relish with Corn and Beans
Smoked Chicken Halves with Lemon-Ginger Barbecue Sauce Tea-Smoked Salmon with Citrus-Cucumber Relish Whole Smoke-Grilled Mountain Trout Smoked Heirloom Tomato Relish with Corn & Beans

Creating Foil Packets
These days, you’ll find lots of different wood chip varieties, like oak, apple wood, and hickory, and they all impart different flavors to your food. To create smoky flavor, you need to soak your wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes to an hour. That way, they’ll smolder and smoke when they go on the fire, instead of just incinerating. For extra flavor, you can also soak the wood in beer, wine, or juice.

Stack two sheets of foil, each about 14 inches square. Place about 1 cup of soaked wood chips in the center, fold it up into a rectangular packet, and poke a few holes in the foil. Each one of these packets will produce smoke for about 20 minutes, so depending on how long you want to smoke your meat for, you’ll need to make a few of them.

Preparing your grill to smoke
Before you preheat the grill, put the foil packet under the cooking grate, on whatever’s the hottest spot of the grill. Allow plenty of time; it’ll take at least 30 minutes for the chips to start to smoke.

For long-cooking items (more than 30 minutes), set a pan of liquid on the cooking grate: smoking tends to dry food out, so this will keep things moist. Put this pan of liquid in the cooler area of the grill.

Smoking your food
Once the chips have begun to smoke and smolder, it’s time to add your food. How long to smoke? Depends on what you’re cooking. Too much smoke makes the food taste like an ashtray. Smaller pieces of protein like a whole trout only need to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, so one packet of chips will produce enough smoke for the whole cooking time.

Big cuts like a brisket or pork shoulder can smoke for 1-1/2 to 2 hours (still, bear in mind that’s only a fraction of their total cooking time). Every 20 minutes or so, as the smoke dies down, add a new packet of wood chips to the fire. But work quickly, because every time you lift the lid, you lose heat and smoke.

More smoking recipes
Whole Smoke-Grilled Mountain Trout
Fred’s Ultimate Smoked Pork Shoulder
Smoked Heirloom Tomato Relish with Corn & Beans
Apple-Bacon Barbecued Ribs
Hoisin Barbecued Ribs

Related articles
How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill
Smoky, Tender Barbecued Pork
Worth Owning: The Big Green Egg Smoker

Other lessons in this series
Classic Ultimate Burgers New York Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter How to Start a Charcoal Fire
Lesson 1: The Perfect Burger
Lesson 2: Great Steaks on the Grill Lesson 3: How to Start a Charcoal Fire
The Two-Zone Fire Buttermilk Brined Chicken Breasts How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill
Lesson 4: The Two-Zone Fire Lesson 5: How to Grill Bone-In Chicken Parts Lesson 6: How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill
Grilled Fish Tacos Lump vs. Briquette Charcoal Fred's Ultimate Smoked Pork Shoulder
Lesson 7: How to Grill Fish Lesson 8: Lump vs. Briquette Charcoal Lesson 9: Slow-Smoked Pork Shoulder
Fred's Finest Baby Back Ribs
Lesson 10: Real Barbecued Ribs


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