Today we’re going to look at a step by step guide on how to turn a gas grill into a smoker. One of the fundamental problems or challenges of using a gas grill as a smoker is keeping the temperature low enough. It would help if you were sure you could get the temperature of your gas grill low enough to smoke on it. Having your gas grill at a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit or lower is critical if you’re cooking something like a pork shoulder, pork ribs, or brisket. So here are five things we’ve figured out will help turn any gas grill into a smoker.
Contents of This Guide
How to Turn a Gas Grill into a Smoker Step by Step
1. Remove the Cooking Grate
The first and most important thing to do is to understand the configuration of your gas grill. Now it is best to use a multiple burner grill for this process as multiple burner grills work better. So, if you own a 2, 3, 4, or 5 burner gas grill, that would be great. You need a multiple burner gas grill because when turning a gas grill into a smoker, you need indirect heat. As a result, on a multiple burner gas grill, you can configure the Grill so that the heat comes from one side of the burner while you place your Meat on the other side of the Grill.
That being said, open the lid of your gas grill, and take off your cooking grates. Place it gently at the side of your gas grill, and if your gas grill has some grease management system underneath the cooking grate, take those off too. Also, some gas grills come with flame tamers or a heat distributor. If your gas grill comes with either of them, take those off also. The aim here is to expose the burners and create enough space underneath the cooking grate for the next steps.
2. Place a Water Tray on One Side
The next thing on our to-do list is to understand the configuration of your gas grill burners. You need to know that some gas grills Burners are vertically aligned, while others are horizontally aligned. Understanding the setting of your gas grill is critical in creating a perfect indirect heating zone for smoking your Meat. Not to sound biased, but most gas grills have a vertical burner configuration, plus they work better in creating an ideal two-zone indirect heating. However, your gas grill setting might be, pick a side you want to smoke your Meat.
At the side, you pick to grill, place a water tray underneath it. The essence of placing a water tray underneath the grate you want to smoke your Meat is so that it absorbs as much heat as possible, thereby preventing direct heating from the heat source. Plus, the water tray creates a zone of hot steam mixed with smoke, which permeates your food, simmers it, and gives it a delicious taste. Please take note that the water in the Tray will evaporate as time passes, so you may need to consider refilling it regularly throughout the smoking session.
3. Place an Aluminum Tray on the Other Side
If you are at this stage, then you are almost done with the setup. At this stage, your aim is to create the smoke. To do so, place an aluminum tray on the other side of the Grill. Place the Tray beside the water tray. In place of the aluminum tray, you can use a smoker box if you own one. But if you do not also have a smoker box, then you can create one using aluminum foil. Fill the wood chips inside the aluminum foil, fold it up, and completely seal the wood chips in the aluminum foil. Puncture holes in the foil, at the top and beneath it, place the foil on the direct heat side.
In the case you use the aluminum foil, the smoke will escape through the holes, but wouldn’t ignite. In any of the circumstances described, you would have to refill the wood chips after every 45 minutes or less, depending on how fast the wood chips burn out. During every refill, make it a habit to dispose of the ash so that you can keep the Grill clean.
4. Light the Burner
When you have the water tray, and source of smoke all set, replace the cooking grate. Ensure the setup is balanced beneath the cooking grate before firing up the Grill. Once you light the burner, close the burner’s lid and let the wood pellet start to produce smoke. Because you are smoking, you need to ensure the temperature setting is at the lowest possible setting. The lowest setting on gas grills is often not as low as you would need it to be, so you would need to do a little trick to make it even lower.
Go to the natural gas or liquid propane tank of your gas grill and adjust the regulator. Close the knob to a level that the burner would almost be going off, but is still supplying enough gas to keep the flame ablaze. After that setup, keep a close eye on the interior temperature of the Grill. Ideally, it would help if you kept the temperature around 200 to 220 Fahrenheit or lower when you want to smoke meat.
5. Taste the Difference in Food
At this stage, prepare your Meat before loading it in the grill smoker. While preparing the Meat cut off as much fat from it so it wouldn’t obstruct ingredients from permeating the Meat. Sprinkle your seasoning on one side of the Meat and give it an excellent patting to make sure the seasoning doesn’t fall off when you flip it to the other side. Season the other side of the Meat; then, you are all set to load it into the grill smoker.
After loading the Meat in the smoker, allow it to slow cook. The difference will be in the taste of the Meat after smoking is ultimately complete. Furthermore, since you smoke at a low temperature, it might take a long time about 15-16 hours for a brisket to be done, but other Meat might take different timing. Nevertheless, ensure you time your cooking correctly, so you can flip the Meat over at the right time. Flipping the Meat at the right time is vital to give you that evenly cooked Meat. About half your way into smoking, wrap your meat in paper to prevent too much moisture loss. The paper would also still allow smoke to permeate the Meat. When the Meat is ready, allow it to rest for about 30 minutes before slicing it and enjoying the sweet smoked flavor.
In conclusion, now that you know how to turn a gas grill into a smoker, what is the next step? Your next point of action now is to get a gas grill if you didn’t have one before and start enjoying the delicious taste of smoked Meat from a gas grill. Now, you do not need to have second thoughts about what to get between a gas grill or a charcoal grill. Get a gas grill, and turn it to a smoker anytime you like. Kindly leave a comment in the comment section below, sharing your thoughts and experience.