How to Smoke Meat on a Gas Grill (Easy and Simple)

Don’t have a smoker? Learn how to smoke meat on a gas grill the easy and simple way through this article.

Grilling is one of the most traditional and best ways to enjoy cooking food. The flavors and richness produced when cooking meat in an open flame or sizzling over a hot grate is absolutely one of a kind. This is why more and more people always opt to own their own grill and practice different techniques of creating a barbecue feast.

A popular technique of grilling or barbecuing is smoking. This method of cooking meat over a fire employs wood chips being added to the fire which imparts a smoky and deeper flavor to the food. It really takes barbecue to another level which more and more people are eager to feast on. Smoking is usually done with a smoker grill which is a long, horizontal chamber that is situated alongside the fire source. Meat is cooked using very low heat over a long cooking time.

Smoking meat does not mean that you have to go out and buy a smoker. In fact, you do not have to miss out on the flavors that smoking provides just because you only have a standard gas grill. It is entirely possible to smoke meat on your gas grill and you will be surprised at how easy this can be achieved.

Of course, with the advancement in grill designs, there are already gas grills that are equipped with its own metal smoker box. It usually sits on top of a dedicated burner and with a click or twist of a knob to turn on that burner, you can start smoking after you’ve added wood chips. But, if your gas grill does not have a dedicated smoker box, you have the option to purchase one.

A heavy-gauge stainless steel smoker box can be bought separately and all you have to do is make space for it on your grill grate. This smoker box is usually a metal box with holes in the lid which directs the fragrant smoke over your food with the woodchips burning in a pile inside of it.

In all honesty, gas grills are not designed to smoke meat because of the gaps around the lid and burners does not keep the heat and smoke enclosed in the cooking chamber. However, there are easy steps you can follow to be able to impart deeper flavors to your meat. It might not be 100% the same as it would come out if it was done in a smoker grill but, it will still be absolutely delicious!

How the Smoking Process Works

In order for you to get into the process of smoking meat with your gas grill, you have to first completely understand how the smoking procedure works. This will enable you to do your own adjustments, trial and errors to truly get that elevated flavor on your meat.

The first thing you must understand is that the smoke flavor you want to impart to your food comes from wood or wood chips which infuses its flavor into the meat as would a seasoning. So, the first goal is to slowly burn the wood chips over a certain duration of time so it adds the flavor as the food is cooking.

Next, you have to understand that the key to smoking success is being able to control the cooking temperature for a long period of time. The meat you are cooking should not be exposed or placed on a direct contact with the flame and not letting the temperature go above 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Creating a Two-Zone Indirect Set Up

In order to achieve this control over your gas grill’s temperature and set it up to mimic a smoker grill’s. you have to prepare a two-zone indirect set up. This simply means creating a hot zone and a cool zone within your gas grill.

One burner will be ignited to provide heat which will cook the food as it sits on the opposite side. The meat is exposed to heat and smoke that is generated but are far away from any direct flame so it can slowly cook and become tender without any burning or too much charring.

How to Smoke Meat on a Gas Grill

Materials You Will Need to Smoke Meat on a Gas Grill

There are a few things that you need to prepare if you plan on smoking meat using your gas grill.

  • Wood Chips – It is important that you get good type of wood chips. This is the source of added flavor and there also different types of wood chips that go well with different cuts or types of protein. If you are unsure of what type of chips to get, the most general and commonly used is Applewood.
  • Extra Propane Tank – Having an extra stand by propane gas tank is always convenient in case you miscalculate how much gas you need for whatever you are smoking in your grill. You do not want to be frustrated if your cooking gets cut short in the middle of its process because you ran out of fuel.
  • Smoker Box – This option is for those with gas grills which do not have its own metal smoker box. You can buy a metal smoker box or make your own DIY smoker box with aluminum pan or foil.
  • Thermometer – Always have a leave in thermometer handy when you plan on smoking something in your gas grill. Temperature control is extremely important and the built in gauges in your gas grill’s lid will not provide the accurate temperature since the temp on the inside of your grill and your grate differs.

Now that you’ve got your materials, it is time to get started on how to smoke meat in your gas grill!

Start Smoking Meat on Your Gas Grill

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  1. Prepare your wood chips. You can presoak your wood chips for at least an hour. Soaking your wood chips is highly recommended when you are using a gas grill so that they don’t burn out fast and infuse enough flavor. Place woodchips in your smoker box.

    How to Smoke Meat on a Gas Grill 02
  2. Turn at least two burners on your gas grill on high and start igniting the fire. Get your smoker box and place it on the drip shield over the flame. Leave the thermometer on the grill grate as well, away from direct heat. Close the lid and continue burning fire until you can visibly see and smell smoke.

    How to Smoke Meat on a Gas Grill 03
  3. Once you see that your wood chips are ignited, lower your burner’s heat to the preferred or required temperature that you need to cook your meat with. Check the temperature of the “cool zone” or the side where the meat will be cooked indirectly from the fire for accuracy.

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  4. As soon as you hit the right temperature, you can place your meat on the grate. Follow the intended recipe or process for smoking your type of protein until it is cooked. If your smoking takes more than an hour, replace or add more wood chips after an hour or so.

Additional Tips for Smoking Meat on Your Gas Grill

  • Brine or Salt Cure Your Meat Before Cooking – Retaining moisture on your meat as it slowly cooks for a long time will ensure that you will have juicy and not dried up meat.
  • Use Deciduous Wood for Smoking – You have to be careful and make sure you utilize hardwood pellets, chips or chunks when smoking. Wood from trees that are not ever greens.  
  • Do Not Over Smoke – Careful with how much wood chips you use because you do not want to over smoke your meat. It will turn bitter. Start with a cup of wood chips. You will learn to gauge how much wood chips you will need eventually as you gain more experience in smoking.
  • Plan Your Space – You have to know the “lay of the land” or how much space you will require for your gas grill. With a smoke box and the two-zone set-up, you might not have as much cooking space on the grate as you originally imagined. So, plan ahead so you can fit everything nicely on your gas grill.


Smoking meat on a gas grill is totally doable. You just have to remember that just like in any form of cooking or barbecuing, your skills will develop over a lot of trial and errors. So, just continue grilling and enjoying tasty food the best way you can!

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