The Easy Way To Turn Your Gas Grill Into A Smoker

At first glance, you'd think that you can't smoke anything using an ordinary gas grill. You can grill a burger or some hot dogs on it, sure, but smoking meat? But it's possible with a bit of clever grill engineering.

First, we must focus on one key element: wood chips. You can use whatever variety you like — maple, applewood, mesquite, hickory — so long as it's safe to use in an average smoker and you don't overdo the amount. Soak the wood chips in a bowl of water for at least an hour, then place them in a metal or foil tray before covering them with aluminum foil. Poke a few holes all over the foil to vent smoke. Otherwise, make sure that the rest of the foil is tightly wrapped around the tray.

You've just made a very simple smoker box designed to replicate the effects of an actual smoker. Now that your smoker box is all setup, it's time to put it to the test in your gas grill.

Wait until your grill starts making blue smoke

You'll need one more piece of equipment before you fire up the grill: a water pan. If you don't happen to have one, you can very easily make one by filling up a two or three-inch deep pan with hot water. This will help keep the temperature hot enough to encourage smoke production.

Now that you have your water pan and smoker box ready, you can finally set up your grill. Place your smoker box and water pan on the grill and turn the burners to high before closing the lid. Don't open the lid unless you have to, as this can introduce cooler air into the humid interior. Soon enough, you'll notice that your smoker is producing a blueish smoke — this indicates that the grill is now ready. Now you're free to place whatever you want to smoke on the grill. If it can be smoked, there's no harm in trying it out.

If you don't own either a smoker or even a grill but still want to smoke some meat, don't worry. You can follow a similar method to make a household oven into a makeshift smoker.

You can use a similar method in an oven

If you want to get a bit crazy and turn your conventional oven into a smoker, the method isn't too far off from how you turned your grill into one. Start by soaking your preferred wood chips in water and then spreading them out in a single layer on a baking tray. Add about ¼ cup of water to the tray to resoak the wood chips, then cover them with a wire rack. 

On top of the wire rack, add an aluminum tray with several holes poked in the sides and bottom. Put whatever you want to smoke inside this tray and immediately cover it in foil to form a tent. This will help circulate all the heat and smoke inside the tray. Once the tray is sufficiently wrapped, place the whole thing into a 250-degree oven. Use a cooking thermometer to check the internal temperature of whatever you're smoking, since you won't be able to easily see inside this assembly.

While smoking purists may argue these methods don't fully replicate the magic of a smoker, they will no doubt help scratch that itch when you want smokey, tender goodness.