Remember when you couldn’t be happy with your gas grill even though it cooked well enough. I can recall a few days when I had cravings for a more intense taste, say – a crusty, crimson barbecue with a smoky smell, but my 495-dollar unit wouldn’t give me that. My grandpa came to save me the third occasion handing me a 12.5-inch smoker box and filling me in on the details. I discovered a new level of grilling satiety.
Since then, I kept on experimenting, sometimes with like-minded people only to enrich my BBQ knowledge and share my stories with whoever feels the interest. Today, I’m going to give you my original thoughts on the best smoker box for gas grill so that you can have a way around this particular grilling fun without investing a lot.
What is a Smoker Box?
It’s typically a rectangular or square container made of stainless steel or cast iron having a lid with uniformly spaced punctured holes and a flat or V-W-shaped bottom which fits on the heat/flame deflector/diffuser bars of a grill.
As the chips start getting heated up, smoke rises out through those holes/vents and reaches the meat. Placed over the flame or on the grates, the box itself doesn’t produce the smoke, but the wood chips or pellets do.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Smoke Box?
Would you believe if I said, “A smoke box is just the affordable alternative to a smoker”? You don’t have to give up on smokers if you’re really big on them. But, you could always use a handy tool that costs $10-$30 and gives you something close to your favorite smoky ring. With the price aside, a smoker box offers other advantages.
Should you like a gas grill and prefer grilling to smoke, a box allows greater chances, plus you’re using a compact, lightweight, and portable appliance instead of a bulky unit. With these perks come the ease of use and hassle-free maintenance.
Are Smoker Boxes for Gas Grills Only?
On the off chance, you ask the most appropriate use of a smoker box, I would answer: yes, smoker boxes are meant for gas grills. However, you can’t deny yourself the privilege of having one of them in use for your electric grill because an electric unit, like its gas counterpart, doesn’t add anything of smoky characteristics to the meat being grilled.
Best Smoker Box for Gas Grill Review for 2019
Over the good twelve years of my grilling adventure, I’ve learned only as much about the different appliances as I’ve tested myself or observed someone (among my buddies) using them. It’s true for the smoker box too. Don’t think less of its role since you’re not relying on a smoker this time. Whatever I’m going to explain to you is based on my personal findings.
#1. Cave Tools Smoker Box for Gas Barbecue
When something has a good look, it doesn’t have to work hard to win. The thought crossed my mind when I looked at this Cave Tools smoker box. But, in my experience, the ‘not hardworking’ factor turns out to be wrong. Let me explain why I consider it the best grill smoker box.
- Material: My version of the description is, “A stainless steel box with a beautiful finish to soothe your eyes even from underneath the cooking grates.” One strong reason why I like it so much is its least susceptibility to warping, which is a rare thing to come by.
- Design and Shape: Although I’ve used this box under the grates on most occasions, my experience seeing it work as a grill top smoker box isn’t bad at all. Only ten equally spaced holes are there to let the smoke pass. A complete box with no rough corners, this one is slightly longer and heavier than Grillaholics wood chip box for gas grill.
- Accessibility and Capacity: The lid opens and closes quickly letting you add wood chips up to the box’s full capacity. The smooth interior doesn’t get stained too easily.
- Thick steel construction
- Lightweight and stylish design inspiring two-way placement (under and on the grates)
- Less likely to warp
- Not essentially cheap but good value for the money (considering the material and durability)
- Quick use and cleaning
- Added Bonus: 25 professional BBQ recipes
- Depending on the heat, it may take at least 15 minutes to get smoke coming. So, you should use dry chips and slightly higher heat settings.
I only wish that the holes were a little smaller because on one occasion only, I found the wood chips caught fire and stopped producing the smoke. However, that didn’t change anything about my user experience.
#2. Charcoal Companion V-Shape Smoker Box For Gas Grill
Since a smoker box is made to serve just one purpose – bringing a smoky flavor to the grilled meat, this stainless steel smoker box for gas grill leaves you few things to disapprove of.
- Material: Everything put on and around a grill is exposed to a lot of heat, and you know it. The average temps run between 145°F and 500°F or even higher, which necessitate the need for high-strength material. Stainless steel happens to be the right choice. Don’t you think?
- Design and Shape: The heat diffuser bars may not fit just any gas BBQ smoker box, which is why a standard shape is not an option but a necessity, and the V-shape adds some value to the box in this regard. Its length (13 ¾ inches) goes well with most grills these days.
- Accessibility and Capacity: You’ll have a hinged lid that allows quick access to whatever you put in. The steel smoker box holds as much wood chips as you need for multiple sessions of cooking. Maintenance’s a breeze as the ashes don’t fly off.
- Good placement (right under the food) for enhanced flavor
- Stainless steel construction
- 32 circular, neatly spaced vents for providing adequate smoke
- Convenient shape and length
- Easy to access, clean, and preserve; thanks to the ‘ash-remain-in-the-box’ system!
- The steel might get a little rusty unless you keep it from catching the dripping liquid from the grilling meat.
Also, the vents could be smaller to let less oxygen pass through, so there would be no chances of the wood catching fire instead of delivering smoke.
#3. Skyflame Universal Smoker Box For Gas Grill
Considering the length, you may call it a small BBQ smoker box, but the unique vent design compensates by adding a more pronounced smoky flavor. Let’s roll eyes on this gas grill smoke box for more critical details.
- Material: The same material (stainless steel) but a thicker and thus a stronger make! You won’t be complaining about its strength when it comes to withstanding the high grilling temperatures.
- Design and Shape: The W-shape gives the metal smoker box added stability as you position it on the flame deflector bars and fill it in with wood chips. The vent system lends somewhat an artistic look; the wavy design that ensures the smooth distribution of smoke.
- Accessibility and Capacity: The lid design isn’t complicated, just a little more intuitive version of a hinged lid. Besides, the ashes won’t be a problem, a typical advantage that requires no explaining.
- Durable and strong body
- Stable placement underneath the cooking grates
- Ready to hold different types of wood chips instead of just one or two
- Dense and wavy vent for spreading smoke evenly and less likelihood of catching fire
- Easy access and maintenance
- The box may warp too soon because of overexposure to extreme heat.
It’s not really a troublemaker if you’re a little careful every time while cooking. Try to keep the level of heat below 350°F unless you really have to hit higher.
#4. Grillaholics Smoker Box on Gas Grill
In terms of the design and shape, this BBQ smoker box is unlike the other two I’ve discussed so far. It easily makes the best smoker box when you want some flexibility as to the placement and usability.
- Material: The use of stainless steel has been mingled with an exclusive engineering process (stamping) to make a heavy-duty grill smoke box, but the practicality about its time-worn condition may not be all positive.
- Design and Shape: It’s another freestanding box which works whether you’re interested in a table top smoker box or a good accessory for your backyard grill. So, put it under or on the grates. The vents are on all sides and precisely arranged. Why you would love to call it a small smoker box is its length, only 8.8 inches.
- Accessibility and Capacity: Pop this open and close it comfortably as the hinged lid won’t cause a problem. The ashes can’t come out too. The small size may appear to be a setback, but in practice, you can fill it with your desired wood chips and go on smoking the meat for several sessions.
- Freestanding design for flexible placement
- Made of thick stainless steel
- Lightweight and stylish design to match any steel grill
- Straightforward maintenance
- A little overpriced for a backyard grill smoker box
- The box may warp due to frequent exposure to extreme temps.
Since this box allows you more freedom, you may sometimes want to keep it over the flame/on the grates. It’s okay, but don’t touch it with bare hands while it’s hot.
#5. Charcoal Companion Large Nonstick V-Shaped Smoker Box for Gas Grills
You’re not cooking anything in a wood chip box. So, it wouldn’t be unsafe to say the idea of stickiness has little to do with a smoke box for smoker or grill. But, there’s more to the story when only the best smoker box satisfies you. Perhaps, the nonstick metal is all Charcoal Companion has wanted to advertise!
- Material: The steel box boasts nonstick surface. The black finish does look great even when your grill is too much of shiny steel.
- Design and Shape: Unless yours is an exclusively designed grill, the V-shaped bottom won’t be much of a problem. I think you didn’t miss what I said about it while discussing the Charcoal Companion box. The hinged lid is quite typical of a barbeque smoker box. Also, I didn’t ignore the length (13 ¾ inches) which is suitable for most grills.
- Accessibility and Capacity: Speaking of usability, I need to say that I don’t face a problem using it for longer than a couple of hours. The interior lets you remain unconcerned about the likelihood of oil buildup/deposit from the liquid dripping through the grates. So, maintenance is free of hassles.
- Quality steel with less likelihood of warping
- Standard shape and length
- Reusable material
- Quick access and use
- Very little maintenance required
- The paint on the box may not be a real bargain, especially after it’s used for a while
If you can’t put the beauty of the finish off your mind, you really have nothing to give attention to. To be honest, I don’t find it significant.
Why Should You Buy the Best Smoker Box for Gas Grill?
You know that blaming a gas grill for not doing you the ‘smoky’ favor won’t help whereas a smoker box will, only if you can find the ‘best’ one. Am I overrating the word? No, my friend! Let me give you the reason for thinking it hard why you should avoid a poorly manufactured box and always choose the right, I mean the best one.
Box Quality and Meat Flavor
For those who love gas grills and the smoky taste, a smoker box can make the use of those grills worth their while by adding the aromatic wood smoke flavor to the meat. But, I didn’t answer what kind of box or which box makes sure this happens.
Well, several factors help you determine whether or not your smoker box is good enough, or technically the best one for you. They are,
- Material of the box
- Number and patterns of holes/vents
- Shape of the bottom
Now, let’s get deeper.
Stainless steel is the most popular choice followed by cast iron. Both have their points of strength and weakness.
- When durability is the focus, steel and iron have nearly the same edge except the ‘warping’ issue. With exposure to high temperatures, steel warps much quickly, and iron gets brittle upon high pressure.
- In terms of appearance, stainless steel should make you happy with all its glossiness. Cast iron may not look that much bold but still has the classic look to offer.
- Iron gets heated slower than steel. It affects the timing for the smoke to come out. But, you’ll love iron when you need the heat to stay on for a longer period, thanks to the higher volumetric heat capacity!
So, the best smoker box should come built with stainless steel with added thickness or special treatment that prevents it from warping.
Circular holes are common, but other styles like the wavy one on Skyflame’s box are also available. The vents or holes have to be small (not so much) and in a uniform (not too tight) pattern. Larger holes may lead to flame instead of smoke.
A solid flat bottom or V or W shape should be okay, but the right one should fit on your grill’s flame diffuses bars perfectly. However, a freestanding box removes the worries.
Each box contains a certain amount of chips, but make sure yours holds as much of them as you would need to keep the smoke going for at least two hours before you have to refill the box.
In the end, you might want to ask me, “Hey, can’t you cut to the chase and tell me about some really good brands?” Yes, I could recommend you an Expert grill smoker box or a Char Broil smoker box and wait until you get back with a comment. Even a Weber smoker box may not make for your goal to find the best smoker box for gas grill.
I’m not suggesting that you forget about the BIG names, but I believe you can do better by remembering the considerations that make a difference between an average box and the finest one.
Now, what do you think? Let me know how it went for you. Happy buying!