Gas grills have a lot of fans.  I have one and really love it.  They are quick to heat up, provide a nice searing surface and are easy to maintain.  What they lack in aroma and flavor they more than make up for in convenience.  However, what if you could add flavor and aroma to your gas grill. It would then be a perfect outdoor cooking device.  A lot of people ask me how they can make barbecue on their gas grill.  So I decided to write up a tutorial on how to turn your gas grill into a smoker.  It is pretty simple.  The key is to cook indirectly and add smoke (aroma and flavor).  It is pretty simple.

How to Turn a Gas Grill into a Smoker

How to turn your gas grill into a smoker!

Needed Supplies:

  1. Gas Grill – Obvious, but I figured I should add it.
  2. Smoker Box
    1. Either a manufactured reusable box
    2. Disposable Bread Pan and a sheet of aluminum foil
  3. Wood Chips
  4. Water for soaking wood chips

The Steps to enhancing the flavor of your gas grill:

Place the wood chips in a bowl or bucket.  Cover with water and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

The key to turning your gas grill into a smoker is to cook indirect.  So you will only want to use one or maybe two burners depending on the size of your grill.  For most home grills you will have 4 or less burners and will only need to use one burner to maintain temperature.  If your grill has vertical burners, turn on the burner farthest away from your gas tank.  If your grill has horizontal burners, turn on the burner that closest to the back of the grill. Get the temperature inside the grill to get to about 300-310 Degrees Fahrenheit.    This is using the lid thermometer.  If you have a grill surface thermometer, try to keep the temperature at the grate farthest from the burner to 275 Fahrenheit.

Now it is time to set up your smoker box.  If you purchased a reusable box, add the soaked wood chips and place it on the grates directly above the lit burner.

Homemade Smoker Box

If you don’t have a smoker box, you can MacGyver one for $0.75 or less.  Get a disposable bread pan and fill it with the soaked wood chips.

Homemade Smoker Box

Now cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Then using a knife cut 10-15 holes in the foil.  This will allow the smoke to escape from the box.  Place directly on the grate over the lit burner.

This is a lot cheaper than purchasing a $15-25 smoker box.  However, if you are going to be using your gas grill as a smoker more than 5 times, it will probably be easier to get a reusable smoker box.

Now place your meat on the grates that don’t have any lit burners under them.  If you have room, try to keep the meat as far from the lit burner as possible.  The best part of using a gas grill is the fact that once you get it to a steady temperature it will stay there.  You do not have to babysit it.  It is good to go.  You have to love the convenience factor.

Gas Grill Smoker

The wood chips will last about 2 hours in the box.  If you are cooking a pork butt or a brisket you will want to add more chips 2 hours into the cooking process.  If you are doing chicken or ribs, the original amount of wood chips will be enough.

Baby Back Ribs will take roughly 2.5-3 hours, Spare Ribs will take roughly 3.5-4 hours, Pork butts will take between 6-9 hours depending on size, Packer Brisket will take around 7-10 hours depending on the size.  I never said it wouldn’t use a lot of gas, but it sure is convenient.


While this will never equal a real smoker, it does a really good job.  As long as you are not having a bbq pitmaster over, nobody will really be able to tell.

Now that you know how to do it, try one of these recipes.

  1. BBQ Ribs on a gas grill
  2. Smoked Chicken Drumsticks
  3. Pulled Chicken
  4. Competition Beef Brisket
  5. BBQ Rub
  6. Beef Ribs
  7. Bacon Wrapped Smoked Meatloaf
  8. Breakfast Fatty

Happy smoking.  As always, if you have any questions leave a comment below or click the Ask Rex link in the menu bar above.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


  1. 5 stars
    Nice piece of content. I love when you put a lot of pics. I have also Weber for grilling.

  2. Juanita Cantu Reply

    If you put the soaked wood chips in a foiled pan don’t they dry up or burn over direct heat?

    • Rex Reply

      As long as you have them covered with a few holes the wood will only smolder. It will give you a nice smokey flavor!

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