How to convert gas grill into a smoker – 2 Quick Tricks

Did you know you could convert gas grill into a smoker and easily too?

convert gas grill into a smoker
Picture of a smoker box – How to convert gas grill into a smoker

You’ve owned a gas grill for some time now, but you suddenly feel the need to smoke meat instead of grilling them. You don’t want to buy a pellet smoker because you just don’t have any space for it, and of course, the price! Now you ask yourself, how do I convert gas grill into a smoker?

Does that sound like you?

How do you convert gas grill to a smoker(Charcoal smoker)?

Learn how to smoke on a gas grill with chips

Temperature control is key for low-and-slow BBQing, You need to get your grill from 225F°–275F°, where smoking is traditionally done. 

The first thing to do when trying to convert gas grill into a smoker is to set up direct and indirect cooking zones on your gas grill

The direct cooking zone, the area over the flame, will supply the heat. The indirect cooking zone, the area next to the flame, will be where the food is cooked.

Indirect cooking on gas grills works best with three or more burners. However, it’s possible to do it with just two burners. To set up cooking zones that will provide ideal smoking temperatures, you’ll need to experiment with your grill to figure out which burners to use and how hot they should be. 

This will require you to monitor its temperature. Although your grill’s mounted thermometer will provide general reading, it doesn’t give the temperature on the cooking grate, where the food will be. 

Consider investing in the MEATER+165ft Long Range Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer or any other Bluetooth thermometer of your choosing. Not only will you get a precise temperature for the cooking grate, but from your phone.

If your grills have three or more burners

Turn the outside burners on low, leaving the middle one(s) off. 

Give the grill a few minutes to warm up then take note of the grill’s temperature. 

Gradually increase the heat and measure how each adjustment changes the grill temperature. 

From these readings, you should be able to determine how to get the desired temperature you need. 

In this setup, the indirect cooking zone is the middle of the grill, with heat coming evenly from both sides.

If you have more than three burners, you have more control, so experiment with the extra burners to dial-in the temperature.

Grills With Two-burners

Can you still convert gas grill into a smoker if your grill has only two burners?

Yes. Although having two burners limits your ability to fine-tune the temperature, it’s still possible to set up two cooking zones and uses your gas grill as a smoker. 

Simply turn one burner on high and keep the other off. 

Adjust the burner to get as close to your desired temperature as possible. If it’s too hot, try placing a pan filled with water over the direct cooking area to diffuse the heat.

Making Smoke – What you need

It goes without saying, but smoke is what gives smoked food its smokey flavor, which is a taste you can not get from your usual grill. This the sole reason to convert gas grill into a smoker. And to make smoke you need wood. On a gas grill, there are a few options:

Wood Chips 

Wood chips come in a variety of hardwood flavors. The easiest way one can use them is with a smoker boxMade of stainless steel or iron, smoker boxes not only hold the wood chips, they catch any ash and restrict airflow, keeping the chips from burning too quickly. 

Although some smoker boxes sit on top of the grill grate, the ones that sit right on the diffuser panels are better at maintaining constant smoke. Some, like the Charcoal Companion® Stainless Steel V-Shaped Smoker Chip Box, are designed to nestle snugly between the diffusers that cover the burners.

If you’re a DIY person, you can use foil to make your own smoker box. Just tear off a 12-18 inch length of foil. 

Place a handful of wood chips in the center and fold the four sides of the foil over, enclosing the wood chips. 

Poke several holes into the foil to let oxygen in and smoke out then place the packet right on the diffuser panel.

To get the wood chips going, place the smoker box (or foil packet) on the diffuser panel and turn the flame to high. Once the chips start smoking, turn it back down. 

While many BBQers soak the wood chips to keep them from burning up, just as many insist it makes no difference.

Wood Pellets

Like wood chips, wood pellets come in a variety of hardwood flavors. However, because they burn easier than wood chips, wood pellets don’t need to sit right over the fire. 

Although there’s no replacing the authentic charcoal and wood flavor produced by a traditional smoker, you can get pretty close with your gas grill. With just a little bit of effort, you can cook everything from BBQ brisket to smoked peppers.

Happy grilling

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