How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill

Part of what makes cooking on a charcoal grill distinctive is the smoky flavor that the coals impart to the food. A gas grill, although more convenient, doesn't allow for the natural smoky flavors that its charcoal counterpart does. Adding a smoky flavor to food cooked on a gas grill, however, is a simple task.


  1. 1
    Prepare the wood chips.
    • Any variety of hardwood chips can be used for adding smoke flavor to food cooked on a gas grill. Some of the most popular are hickory, oak, cherry and mesquite. Other items like olive pita and pecan shells can also be used. Wood chips can usually be bought wherever grills are sold.
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    • Soak about a cup of chips in water for an hour. Although soaking isn't required to make the smoke, the chips will last much longer once they are smoking.
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  2. 2
    Make a foil smoke pouch.
    • Drain the chips and place them in a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, about 18 inches (45.7 cm) square. Wrap the chips in the foil, sealing it tightly. Poke some holes in the top of the pouch using a knife or fork to allow the smoke to escape.
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  3. 3
    Prepare the grill for cooking with the smoke pouch.
    • Place the pouch in the cold grill on top of the flavor bars or lava rocks under the grill grate. The pouch should be placed in the back corner of the grill so it is not directly underneath where food would be placed.
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    • Preheat the grill to high, as you would any time you are preparing to grill.
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    • Once you can see significant smoke coming from the pouch, add the food to the grill and cook according to your recipe.
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  • Some grills have a smoke box that holds the soaked chips instead of using a foil pouch. Smoke boxes can also be bought as an accessory.
  • Smoking is only worthwhile when your cooking time is at least 20-to-30 minutes. The food will not absorb the smoke flavor in less time.
  • Smoke pouches can also be used on a charcoal grill. Place the pouch on the hot coals to create the smoke.
  • Increase the amount of chips to last through a longer cooking time if you are adding smoke flavor to a large item, such as a turkey or a large cut of meat. Use about 1 cup of chips for every hour of cooking.


  • Never use treated wood for smoke chips. Not only could it give the food an off taste, but it could be toxic. It is safest to only use chips that are sold as food-safe.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood smoking chips
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Knife or fork
  • Gas grill

Article Info

Categories: Barbecue Equipment