Gas grills are not traditionally thought of as capable of smoking foods. However, these versatile products perform capably when putting up to the task of smoking ribs, briskets, or most anything else thrown their way.

Looking to do more with your grill? Here are some ways you get more performance out of your gas grill by using it as a smoker.

Why are Gas Grills Great for Smoking? (If You Don’t Have a Dedicated Smoker)

Gas grills are popular because gas is inexpensive, the grills are easy to ignite, and they're even easier to use. Control knobs can raise and lower temperature with a much greater degree of precision than most charcoal grills can.

Will your gas grill smoke foods as well as a traditional smoker? No, but not everyone has a dedicated smoker, and a gas grill can still create an excellent meal. In order to smoke food on a gas grill, there are two primary factors to consider: cooking method and flavor.

How to Cook Indirectly on Your Grill

Gas grills are excellent for direct-heat cooking like you’d use when grilling a steak or burger. However, gas grills aren’t designed to excel as smokers, and you’ll need to understand how to utilize indirect cooking to get the results you’re after.

Indirect cooking refers to cooking your food away from a direct heat source. We cover this more in our article on charcoal grilling, so check that out if you get a chance. As a quick recap, indirect cooking allows for “low and slow” cooking, which makes it a great option for tougher cuts of meat like ribs, briskets, and pulled pork.

In order to achieve this effect on a gas grill, the only requirement is to have a grill with multiple burners. This allows one side of the grill to produce heat while the food sits on the other side.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Fire up half the grill and leave the other side completely off.
  2. Close the lid to preheat and reach the desired temperature. This will usually be in the range of 225 degrees to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for most smoking recipes.
    1. If possible, use cooking thermometers to keep tabs on the temperature of your grill as well as the internal temperature of the food. This will make it easier to ensure your food is cooking properly.
  3. Place your food on the cool side of the grill and close the lid for the entirety of the cooking process. Closing the lid like this makes it act more like an oven, and the lack of direct heat will prevent the food from burning before it has a chance to cook thoroughly to become tender.
  4. Cook your food until you reach the desired doneness. Avoid the temptation to constantly open the lid of the grill. Every time you do this, the grill loses its oven-like convection and it will take longer for your food to cook.

How to Get Smoky Charcoal Flavor with a Gas Grill

Although a gas grill can work well enough to cook food, one piece of the equation you’ll still need to account for is flavor. Foods smoked on a charcoal grill feature a distinct smoked flavor you’ll need to replicate.

Fortunately, we offer a variety of accessories to help you recreate the flavor of a charcoal grill or smoker on your gas grill. These accessories allow you to burn solid fuel in the form of wood chips or charcoal directly on your gas grill. Most often, you’ll see these products referred to by names like these:

Napoleon 67732 Cast Iron Charcoal and Smoker Tray
Napoleon 67020 BBQ Smoker Starter Kit
PolyScience CSM700PSS0NUC1 Smoking Gun Pro Food Smoker

Each of these products will allow you to add a smoky flavor to your food while cooking. For an even more unique option, consider the PolyScience Smoking Gun. Unlike the other options, this product allows you to add a smoky flavor after cooking. In addition, this smoker can be used to enhance flavors in other items like sauces, desserts, and other items where traditional smoking isn’t possible.

Check Out Our Full Selection of Grills

Need help finding the correct product for your preferred grilling style? We can help. Our product experts can help you find the right grill to meet your needs and your budget. Give us a call at 888-690-3773 to speak with a product specialist today. You can also contact us by email, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.