There are two types of people in this world: people who like smoked meats, and people who don’t know what they’re missing. If you’ve ever traveled down to the southern parts of the United States, you know how serious they are about their smoked meats.
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Find my top picks for smoker boxes here at Amazon. Most them are safe for all types of grills!
Don’t have the cash to spend on a trip to experience some real southern BBQ? Not ready for a designated combination grill? There’s no need to fret! You can turn your run-of-the-mill gas grill into a smoky meat machine with the help of a handy little smoker box.
How do I smoke meat, anyhow?
To get the ultimate smoky flavor for your rack of ribs, slab of brisket, or butcher-cut pork, you’re going to need to be familiar with how the smoking process works. By heating up pre-soaked flavored wood chips (without directly burning them), smoke forms and permeates throughout the meat, leaving a distinctly delectable flavor.
Traditionally, smoking is done “low and slow” in a smoker or over a charcoal grill, and the lid is rarely lifted so the smoky flavor is preserved. Many pitmasters and extreme BBQ fans will tell you that you can’t achieve the same smokiness on a gas grill, but there are definitely ways around having to own both a smoker for your slow-cooked meats, and a separate gas grill for rapidly cooking hamburgers and hot dogs for the neighborhood barbecue.
You don’t have to drive yourself into debt by buying both a gas grill and a smoker. You can smoke your cuts on a gas grill, and prove once and for all that a gas grill can produce delicious, smoky meat fit for a king!
Finding a good smoker box.
You did your research when you bought your gas grill, and you did it again for your other cooking supplies. Your smoker box should be no exception.
Any good smoker box will be made of a durable metal, such as stainless steel or cast iron. Cheap versions that are made with poor-quality materials will burn up after a few uses in the high heat of your grill. If you’re really unlucky, the box might even melt and warp after a single use.
I’m all for saving a buck here and there, but some things are worth the higher price tag. Don’t expect a cheap model to keep churning out smoke for your fabulously smoked brisket–it’s just not going to happen.
Take my advice and spring for a pricier model that’s expertly crafted and will hold up to the amount of smoking you intend on doing with it.
How does a smoker box work on a gas grill?
If you’re new to smoking on a gas grill, there’s going to be a learning curve. However, smoking your own meat on a gas grill doesn’t have to be a difficult process. If you have a gas grill, a smoker box, wood chips, and meat, you’re already off to a great start!
The type of wood chips you’ll select varies on what kind of meat you’ll be cooking. Usually, flavors like mesquite or chicory are reserved for briskets. Delicate cuts of meat or fish require a milder flavor.
To get the best kind of smoke for your meat, it’s essential that your wood chips are heated to a high enough temperature to warrant smoking without bursting into flames. There’s a fine line to dance between being hot enough to smoke, but not so hot that the chips are set ablaze.
By positioning smoker boxes underneath grill grates and above the burners, you will be able to heat the wood chips enough to produce the smoke that’ll give your meat so much flavor, you’ll make your neighbors insanely jealous. Offer them a piece of your delicious smoky meat, or tell them to learn how to smoke their own!
Smoke your own meat for sausages! Here are my picks for the best sausage stuffers.
What features should a smoker box for a gas grill have?
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and get a smoker box for your gas grill, be sure it can handle the amount of smoking you’re going to put it through. A smoker box worthy of staying inside your grill will be durable and made of either stainless steel or cast iron.
Most smoker boxes are situated underneath the grill grates and away from your meat, if possible. If this isn’t feasible and your meat might be located directly above the smoker box, be sure it’s made from a non-stick material so cleaning won’t be a hassle.
All smoker boxes come equipped with holes at the top to allow the smoke to escape. Find a box that won’t allow rogue pieces of ash to fly out and onto the surface of your deliciously smoked meat.
When it comes time to smoke a bigger piece of meat, like a brisket, be sure that your smoker box has a functional lid that can be easily removed to reload wood chips. After a few hours of smoldering, the wood chips will have burned down to sad little piles of soot and need to be replenished with freshly-soaked wood chips. Be sure you can remove the lid with tongs, because nothing is worse than grilling burns.
Remember, smoking meat at home isn’t only for seasoned BBQ pitmasters. With the help of a smoker box for your gas grill, you can be well on your way to cooking drool-worthy cuts of sweet, smoky meat.
Ready to cut into those perfectly smoked ribs? Here’s my review of the best knife for the job.
Recommended Smoker Boxes
Cave Tools Smoker Box
My top pick for smoker boxes comes from Cave Tools. It measures 9 by 3 inches, and has a 2 cup capacity for large amounts of wood chips without taking over your whole grill. It fits perfectly in between flavorizer bars and grill grates for your gas stove, and also works with charcoal as well! The manufacturer also makes a “V” shaped alternative if you’d rather sit the box in between grill grates instead.
Users say it takes an average of 10 minutes for the box to heat up and the chips to smoke. This smoker box also has a hinged lid so that you can easily add more chips as you go. This easy access is also imperative to changing the chips if they turn to ash or burn up by accident.
On that note, Cave Tools recommends placing dry wood chips in this smoker box instead of soaking them, like many grillers traditionally do. The reason for this, they say, is that there are no holes at the bottom of the box, so the wood chips should not catch fire. Many reviewers say they have soaked the chips anyway, just to be safe, and got perfect results regardless. It’s probably always a good idea to soak the chips, no matter what the instructions say.
Your purchase of the Cave Tools smoker box comes with 25 professional BBQ recipes, with tutorial videos as well. With a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, this is definitely the best option on the list.
Charcoal Companion Stainless Steel V-Shape Smoker Box
This smoker box from Charcoal Champion is a close second. It is made of heavy gauge stainless steel metal, making it durable and able to withstand even the toughest of cooking jobs. Despite its superior construction, it has pretty affordable price tag!
It seems like this smoker box was basically designed for gas grills. Its “V” shape sits perfectly between flame deflector bars. It measures about 4.5 inches wide and about 14 inches long, so it’s the perfect size to fill up your grill with flavor while still leaving room for the meat itself.
With a hinged lid, adding wood chips has never been easier. It’s also completely enclosed otherwise, so any and all ashes stay inside the smoker box and not on your grill. Cleaning is a breeze – just empty the ashes out and give it a quick wipe. The natural seasoning of the metal takes care of the rest!
Cave Tools Smoker Box Maximum Wood Chip Capacity
And we’re back to Cave Tools for another awesome smoker box. What sets this one apart, though, is its size and capacity. This box has the highest smoke output of any of the smokers on this list by far. If it can fit into your grill, I recommend getting it.
It has a “Wide and Slim” profile, meaning it spreads out the wood chips on a more even surface area so that more of them smoke at once. It also fits over 3 cups of chips, so no need to refill. They advertise the same lack of need for soaking the chips, since there are no holes in the bottom, but since the chips are all so much closer to the flame, I definitely recommend soaking for this one.
This one has the same satisfaction guarantee as the Cave Tools product above, and comes with all the recipes and tutorial videos you’ll ever need with your purchase of a Cave Tools product. It’s a great pick if you’re looking for more value in your smoker box.
GrillPro 00150 Cast Iron Smoker Box
My last pick is a simple, straightforward smoker box with a classic design and good performance. The GrillPro comes in either cast iron or stainless steel, depending on your grilling preferences.
With either material, it has heavy duty construction. With 6 wide holes on top, you get a lot of smoke and flavor, but run the risk I mentioned earlier about letting ashes and chips out into your food.
There have some complaints about the lid not sitting properly on top of the box by users, but overall, people seem to be satisfied with this purchase.
Are you getting the best performance out of your smoker grill?
See our article on how to choose the best smoker thermometer to ensure your meats are cooked just right!
Love grilling but hate cleaning? I’ve got tips on the best way to clean grill grates. Click here to read all about it.
Whether you’re grilling over open flames, or smoking your favorite meats, take the guess work out of getting it perfect with a dual probe wireless thermometer.