Smoking Meat on Gas Grill: Easy Steps for Rich Flavor

by Matt

minute/s reading time

Hey BBQ lovers! Ever been stuck without your smoker? Happened to me when I moved to my new place. All I had was a gas grill, but I was dying for some smoked pork ribs. So, I tried something new – used a smoker tube and wood pellets right in my gas grill.

Guess what? It worked! Turns out, you don't always need a fancy setup to get that authentic smoky flavor. In this post, I'm going to show you how to smoke meats on a gas grill. Because let's face it, where there's a will (and some smoke), there's a way!

Can You Smoke Meat on a Gas Grill?

Absolutely, smoking meat on a gas grill is feasible. In fact, it's a technique many grill enthusiasts use to impart that sought-after smoky flavor without owning a traditional smoker. Let's dive into why a gas grill can double as a smoker and how you can achieve delicious results.

Most gas grills are designed primarily for grilling, but with a few adjustments, they can effectively smoke meat. To clarify, here are the basics you'll need to master:

  • Heat Control: Maintaining a low and constant temperature is crucial. Optimal smoking occurs between 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Smoke Production: Wood chips or pellets in a smoker box or wrapped in aluminum foil can produce ample smoke.
  • Placement: Position the meat away from the direct heat to enable slow cooking.

You may worry about the gaps around a gas grill's lid or the potential for heat and smoke to escape. However, these issues can be managed through careful monitoring and setup. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Seal Inspection: Check the seals around your gas grill's lid; they should be intact to hold in smoke.
  • Burner Control: Only use one side or a single burner to create an indirect heat zone.

For those curious, here's a table summarizing the key differences when smoking on various grill types:

Gas Grill
Charcoal Grill
Dedicated Smoker
 Heat Source
 Propane/Natural Gas
 Charcoal Briquettes/Wood
 Temperature Control
 Knob adjustments
 Vent adjustments
 Precision control systems
 Smoke Source
 Wood chips/pellets in box
 Direct addition of wood
 Built-in smoker boxes
 Setup Complexity

As someone who's always ready for a grilling challenge, I'll guide you through setting up your gas grill for smoking. The process involves crafting the right environment within the grill to slowly infuse smoky flavors into the meat. This method ensures you don't expose your centerpiece to direct flame but rather bathe it in a rich smoke that permeates throughout the cooking time. And remember, keep an eye on the temperature gauge; consistency is the key to that tender, flavorful bite we all love.

Stainless Steel Smoker Tube on a Grill, Enhancing the Flavors of Blue Cheese and Smoked Cheese with Aromatic Wood Smoke for Gourmet Bbq.

Low and Slow: Two-Zone Smoking 

Two-zone cooking on a gas grill is all about creating separate areas for direct and indirect heat. This method is crucial for smoking because it allows you to control the temperature precisely, ensuring your meat gets infused with smoky goodness without getting overcooked. Here's how I set up my grill, like my trusty Weber Genesis II, for the perfect smoke session:

  1. Identify Your Burners: First up, know your equipment. Most gas grills have multiple burners that can be controlled independently, allowing you to create hot and cool zones.
  2. Set Up the Zones: Fire up one side of the burners to create the direct heat zone. This is where you'll place your wood chips for smoke. The other side remains unlit, forming the indirect zone – the ideal stage for your meat to cook slowly and soak up all that smoky flavor.
  3. Temperature Control is Key: Aim to maintain a sweet spot between 225-250°F. It might be a bit of a balancing act at first, but with a bit of patience and practice, you'll nail it. One pro tip is to use a water pan. Place it in your grill to stabilize the temperature and add some humidity. It acts as a heat sink, absorbing excess heat without steaming the meat.
  4. Smoke Production: Now, let's talk about amping up that smoky flavor. Sure, wood chips are great, but have you ever tried pellets in a smoker tube? I'm a big fan of this method, and let me tell you, it's a game-changer.
  5. Meat Placement: Now, with smoke in the air, carefully place your meat over the indirect zone. This way, it's exposed to all that flavorful smoke without the risk of direct flame. Close the lid promptly to trap the smoke and let the magic happen.
  6. Monitoring and Adjusting: Keep an eye on that temperature gauge. Gas grills are great because making temperature adjustments is as simple as a knob turn. If you're aiming to keep the temp below 250°F, consider turning off all burners except for the one under your wood chips. Just remember, never let the temperature spike above 300°F – we're smoking here, not grilling!
  7. Smoke and Repeat: Depending on what you're smoking, you might need to replenish those wood chips/pellets to keep the smoke steady. Typically, you'll want to check every hour or so. This ensures your meat is getting a constant infusion of that sweet, smoky flavor.

By following these steps, you're not just grilling; you're transforming your standard gas grill into a smoking powerhouse. Whether it's ribs, brisket, or chicken, with this method, your backyard BBQs are about to get a whole lot smokier and a whole lot tastier. Remember, the key to perfect smoked meat is patience and precision. So take your time, control that heat, and get ready to impress with your gas grill smoking prowess!

Monitoring grill temperature

When smoking meat on a gas grill, precision is key, and monitoring grill temperature is a critical step in the process. Ideally, you'll want to invest in a dual-probe digital thermometer. This type of thermometer allows you to track both the grill's ambient temperature and the meat's internal temperature. Remember, the hood-mounted thermometer on most grills may not offer the accuracy needed for smoking meats.

To ensure precision in temperature control:

  • Install the first probe in the area above the indirect zone to monitor the cooking chamber's temperature.
  • Insert the second probe into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bones or fat for an accurate reading.

A dual-probe thermometer setup ensures that I’m aware of crucial temperature changes. Since fluctuations can affect the flavor and doneness of the meat, maintaining consistent heat is essential. Aim for the sweet spot—around 225-250°F—for that perfect smoke infusion.

Here's a quick reference for optimal smoking temperatures:

Meat Type
Target Internal Temperature
 Chicken Wings
 Pulled Pork

Additionally, using a pellet tube can extend the smoking duration. Just fill the tube, light one end, and let it smolder for up to two hours. Besides, keep in mind that wood pellets in a smoking pouch may last approximately 45 minutes. Therefore, I always have extra on hand for a session that goes longer.

Moreover, I stay vigilant and adjust the burners as required to keep that temperature dialed in. Replacing wood chips every hour if needed ensures that I am consistently delivering that deep, smoky flavor.

By embracing these methods and using the right tools, I maintain the precise control needed over the course of the smoking process, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the meat. Transitioning smoothly between checking my digital readings, replacing wood chips, and adjusting the burners becomes second nature with practice, ultimately leading to mouthwatering results.

Creating Smoke with Wood Chips or Pellets

You don’t need a fancy smoker to get that deep, smoky flavor that makes your taste buds do a happy dance. Your trusty propane grill has got you covered, and I’m going to break down how to use wood chips and pellets to get the job done.

Choosing Your Ammo: Wood Chips vs. Pellets 

First off, pick your flavor. For wood chips, it’s all about those hardwoods like hickory or mesquite for a robust taste, especially with beef. Apple and cherry? They're more your chicken’s cup of tea for a lighter, sweeter smoke. Now, pellets—they're a whole different ball game. Compact, easy to use, and perfect for a smoker tube, they provide a consistent smoke that’s just right for long cooking sessions.

Wood Chips: The Traditional Route

If you’re going traditional with wood chips, here’s the deal:

  1. Prep Your Chips: You’ve got the option to soak your wood chips for about 30 minutes before you get started. This can help prevent them from burning up too quickly on the grill.
  2. Packet or Box? Wrap those soaked chips in a foil packet with some holes punched in for airflow, or use a smoker box if you’ve got one. This keeps your chips from catching fire and gives you smoke instead of flames.
  3. Heat 'Em Up: Place your packet or box over the burner that's turned on. You're looking for a smolder here, not an inferno.

Pellets: The Smoker Tube Technique

Now, if you’re rolling with pellets and a smoker tube, here’s how to play it:

  1. Fill Up: No soaking needed here. Fill that smoker tube with your chosen pellets.
  2. Light It Up: Torch the end of that tube until the pellets are lit and let it burn for a good five minutes. Then, blow out the flames and let those pellets smolder.
  3. Strategic Placement: Set the tube on the grill, preferably near the burner that’s on to keep the smoke rolling.

Keep It Steady

Whether you’re using wood chips or pellets, temperature control is your secret weapon. Aim to hover around 225-250°F for that slow and low magic. Use a reliable grill thermometer to keep tabs on the heat.

Adjust as needed, but remember, no peeking every five minutes—you’ll let the smoke out and the heat drop.

And there you have it—your guide to smoking on a propane grill using wood chips or pellets. Keep practicing, and before you know it, you’ll be serving up smoky, succulent meats that’ll have the neighbors knocking on your door. Ready, set, smoke!


And that's all I have on smoking with your gas grill. You've got the power to unlock those deep, smoky flavors traditionally reserved for charcoal aficionados. With a touch of technique and a dash of patience, your grill is now a smokin' hot companion that turns everyday BBQs into memorable, flavor-packed feasts.

Remember, it's all about the low and slow — keeping that temperature just right and letting the smoke work its wonders. Your grill, once a mere backyard fixture, is now your ticket to culinary acclaim. So next time you're firing up the burners, know that you've got everything you need to wow the crowd with your smoky creations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I smoke meat on a gas grill?

Yes, you can smoke meat on a gas grill. Although typically associated with charcoal grills, with the right setup, your gas grill can be used to smoke meats and vegetables, infusing them with a rich, smoky flavor.

Do you keep adding wood chips when smoking?

Yes, you should keep adding wood chips to the grill roughly every hour during the smoking process to maintain a consistent level of smoke and flavor.

Where do you put a smoker box in a gas grill?

The smoker box should be placed directly on top of the burner that will be on during the smoking process. Ensure it's close enough to the flame to allow the wood chips inside to smolder and produce smoke.

How do you smoke a brisket on a gas grill?

To smoke a brisket on a gas grill:

  • Season it with salt and pepper.

  • Create and place a foil smoker packet on the grill, using this guide.

  • Smoke the brisket on low heat for two hours.

  • After two hours, wrap the brisket in heavy-duty foil to finish cooking.

What are the hardest meats to smoke?

Beef brisket is considered the hardest meat to smoke due to its lean nature and lower fat content. Proper technique is required to achieve a tender and juicy outcome.

About the Author

Matt Barrell

Hi, Matt Barrell here. A BBQ and Smoked meat enthusiast. I love grilling and smoking meat, it is not just my hobby its my passion. My goal is to share my passion with as many other like-minded people as possible.