Smoking is easy and a great way to add flavor to your food.
However, what if all you have is a gas BBQ and don't want to shell out your savings on another charcoal grill?
Luckily for you, it's possible to smoke on gas grills as all you need is a smoker box, some wood chips/wood chunks, and an hour or so of your time.
In this article, we will be guiding you on how to use a smoker box and the preparation required before smoking.
We'll keep it short and sweet.
To Soak or Not to Soak
The conventional wisdom among the BBQ community is to pre-soak wood chips for 30 minutes - 1 hour before placing them in the smoker box to maximize the smoky flavor.
However, some experts say that it's better to not pre-soak the wood chips, as they argue that using soaked wood chips takes longer to cook and can affect the temperature of the BBQ.
In regards to this, we feel that it depends on the circumstances of your BBQ and what you want to cook.
Using wet wood chips leads to longer cooking times, so while it may not suit some foods that you'd like to smoke, it can be suitable when you want to smoke meat for a longer period of time and on a lower temperature, such as a brisket. In that case, soak your wood chips.
Quick tip: Wrap your brisket in aluminum foil to have a juicier, more tender brisket, not to mention it helps decrease your cook time.
On the other hand, using dry wood chips has the downside of making the wood burn up more quickly (you might have to add more wood chips in the middle of a cooking session), and might give too much heat and raise the temperature of the BBQ too high.
However, this can be a better option if you'd like to impart smoke flavor onto a piece of steak, where you require higher temperatures.
Preheat the Smoker Box
Make sure you are using high-quality stainless steel smoker boxes such as the Tucker Smoker Box to prevent the box from warping.
Place the smoker box as close to the heat source as possible, i.e. place it on the cooking grate, above one of the burners.
You can then turn on the burner and let it preheat the smoker box with the smoke box lid open.
Placing the Wood Chips inside the Smoker Box
Using heat-resistant tongs such as this, carefully place the wood chips (soaked or dry) inside the smoker box.
Be sure to choose wood chip flavours that are appropriate for the type of food you are cooking.
For example, mesquite wood chips such as the Western Mesquite Wood Chips are great when you're smoking beef, while hickory wood chips for pork and bacon - there are heaps of wood flavours for you to try!
Once you've placed the wood chips inside the smoke box, close the grill lid to speed up lighting the chips.
Use wood chunks if you want to have a longer cooking session.
Check to see if the Wood Chips have started catching fire
Periodically open the grill lid to see if the wood chips have started to burn.
Once you see them burning, close the smoker box with the smoke box lid to extinguish the flames and have the wood chips start producing smoke.
Turn down the heat from the burners - ideally smoke food at around 102-120°C.
You can then place the meat that you'd like to smoke on the other side of the cooking grate over an unlit burner (indirect cooking) away from the heat source and close the grill lid to start smoking meat.
It's best to use a wireless thermometer such as the Meater+ to monitor the internal temperature of the smoked meat and have the perfect doneness without having to open the lid.
Get your own Tucker Smoker Box today!
We hope this guide has helped you to better understand how to use a smoker box on a gas grill.
If you have any additional questions such as how to use a smoker box, more info regarding smoking chips, or would like to consider getting a charcoal grill instead, feel free to come in-store at Tucker HQ at Silverwater or call us at 02 9748 8368!