Smoking On A Gas Grill Tutorial
Easy Smoking on a Gas Grill
Almost anyone loves a good barbecue, and there are so many variations of it. Your ingredients are the key to making yours stand out: your meats, your vegetables, your rubs, your sauces. Smoking on a gas grill is a good way to start to get a delicious flavor and natural gas burns even cleaner than propane gas.
However, the one ingredient often forgotten in barbecue that doesn't taste quite right is the smoke. The flavor added by smoke is just as important as the sauce. In fact, it may be more so, because dry rub barbecue without a sauce can be great, but it is never as good if you do not add the smoke.
Does Smoking Barbecue Have to be a Chore?
Most people think this means you have to make a major investment in big smoker rigs, or a charcoal grill, and piles of wood chunks or bags of charcoal, that you absolutely have to get the best smoker grill out there.
Those things can cost lots of money and take up a great deal of space in your backyard or storage shed. And while everyone loves the smell of smoky flavor barbecue, not everyone enjoys the smell of the smoker. Check out this step by step tutorial on how to use a gas grill and learn some new grilling techniques.
For many home cooks, the ease of gas grilling has a great appeal. It's convenient. It's clean. It's economical. Yet propane offers no smoky flavor to your cooking. While that may be an advantage of it in some cases, for good smoky flavor barbecue, it is a terrible drawback.
Don't fear, dedicated smokers gas-grillers. There are still quite a few solutions for you. While you may not achieve the melt-in-your-mouth richness of 18-hour, slow-smoked meats, you can create some real masterpieces on your simple gas grill, and you can save some time and money doing it.
Quick Tricks - Liquid Smoke and Smoked Salt
One easy solution in a pinch is to use liquid smoke in your sauce or marinade. This is never going to create your finest flavors, but it certainly can work for casual grilling. Be careful with it though, as it can be overpowering if you use too much.
Try mixing one half tablespoon in with a cup of ketchup, a tablespoon of molasses or honey, and a dash of your favorite hot sauce. That makes a quick and easy, sweet and smoky sauce that's delicious on pork chops, pork butt, pork shoulder, turkey breast or hamburgers. Cooking brisket or smoke meat is another option.
Another way to get that great smoke flavor into your meat with little effort is a smoked salt rub. There are dozens out on the market. You can even make your own.
Smoked salt is especially good for more delicate meats, like fish and poultry. It can also make a great rub for steaks and chops that you might serve a little more on the rare side.
Really Smoking Now - Use Herbs
The best way to get real smoke flavor is simple: use real smoke. There are a couple of ways to do that on your gas grill besides an accidental grease fire.
For a quick addition of flavorful smoke, especially with chicken or pork, toss a sprig of dried herbs directly onto your grill.
They will catch fire, so keep them away from your meats to avoid ash, but it is easily kept controlled. Close your grill cover and let them char away. The intensity of the herb smoke can turn a simple piece of fish into something aromatically special.
The real gas-griller's trick, though, is to use wood chips. You have seen them in the aisle next to the charcoal, back when you still had to use the dirty stuff.
Now that you have graduated on to your 40,000 BTU, propane-fueled grilling machine, take the next step and learn to use those chips to lift all of your barbecue to the next level of perfection.
Using Chips Gets You Hits - Wood Chips For Your Gas Grill
There are many kinds of wood chips and wood chunks out there from every imaginable tree. The mainstays of classic barbecue in most American styles is hickory, though some masters will swear by oak.
Many people use fruit trees, which they claim add a special sweetness or a hint of the specific fruit. Nut trees are also popular, especially pecan.
Whatever your tastes, don't be afraid to experiment. Lots of great barbecue chefs use a blend of chips. One trick is to coordinate them with your sauce, marinade, and meat. If you are using delicate flavors, use a lighter wood. For heartier choices like beef, don't be afraid to try oak or even mesquite.
The most important thing to remember when using wood chips of any type is to soak them in water first. For both safety and effectiveness, well-soaked chips are absolutely key. Make sure to give your chips at least 20-30 minutes fully submersed in a water bath.
The Major, Simple Tool: The Smoker Box
The one gadget you will need to add to your collection in order to make the most of smoking on your gas grill is called a smoker box. You can order a smoker box for your gas grill right off of Amazon, or you can purchase a proved item here, on Cave Tools.
They come in a wide range of sizes, qualities, and designs, but this is a tool where simple is often best. Basically it is a metal box with holes or slots in it, and you will be placing your chips inside.
There are many smoker boxes on the market. Your budget, the size of your gas grill, and your own desire to experiment should help you make your choice. Chances are, one might have even come with your grill. You just never knew what that little, black, square thing was.
The Technique - Smoker Box
Place your soaked chips (or smoker pellets) inside the box, and then set it directly on the grill surface, somewhere to the side of your meat. Then close your lid, set your temperature, and wait. The soaked wood chips will begin to smolder. The smoke that rolls off is rich in flavor and has the ability to really penetrate your meat.
As you check on your barbecue, refill the box from time to time with fresh wood chips. The more cooking time you take, and the slower your chips smolder, depending on the internal temperature of your meat you need, the greater your reward will be when your meat is done. Although slow cooking takes a lot of cooking time, the results are usually the best.
And it doesn't always have to be meat. Nothing beats a pecan-smoked sweet potato with a little butter and brown sugar. Also try a hickory-smoked pineapple for a very special dessert from your grill. Use this recipe, and just add your new smoker box a choice of soaked wood chips to the mix.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use a gas grill?
Open the lid so that the unlit gas fumes do not collect under the grill hood. Now, open access to your propane tank by turning the valve all the way open.
Next, put the burners on high heat and hit the "starter" button to ignite the fumes if they do not automatically light upon turning the knobs. Now you can close the lid and preheat your grill for anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes depending on what grill temperature you need.
After that, it's time to grill!
How do I clean a gas grill?
You can clean your gas grill by using a Grill Brush. The best practice is to heat your grill up and then use the bristles of the brush to rub the cooking grate clean.
Where can I get a smoker box?
There are many smoker boxes out there but we believe we have engineered the best smoke box out there that will endure smoking wood longer than any other. Get your smoker box now.
Don't Forget To Take Your Time and Have Fun. It's Just Food!
There are uncountable recipes and tricks out there for using gas smokers, and there are more tools than you can shake a pair of tongs at. But if you have a little time, a little skill, and a little investment, you can get great, smoky barbecue results on your backyard gas grill.