Best Smoker Boxes for your Gas Grill
he smoky smell of a barbecue is the stuff dreams are made of. Someone firing up a grill on a warm evening brings us right back to that special “school’s out for summer” feeling, not to mention making our tummies grumble.
If you can’t decide between a grill or a smoker or don’t have the room for both, you can smoke food in a grill by adding a smoker box filled with wood chips. The chips smolder and fill your closed grill with smoke.
Smoke infuses your food with rich, savory flavors and the unique character of the wood. It’s a great way to add nuances quick-cooking vegetables and smoke puts a rack of ribs right over the top.
We’ve rounded up the best smoker boxes for gas grills. Adding one of these to your backyard setup enables you to add mouth-watering flavor to the convenience of your gas grill. We’ll be comparing the Grillaholics Smoker Box, the Cave Tooks Smoker Box, the Charcoal Companion Stainless Steel V-Shape Smoker Box, the Mockins Stainless Steel BBQ Smoker Box, and the Grill Gods Smoker Box.
How to Use a Smoker Box
A smoker box is a simple device. A metal container holds wood chips over direct heat, allowing the wood to smolder. Holes in the top of the box let the smoke out, creating the delicious marriage of smoke and food.
To use, place your smoker box as close to the heat source as possible. Some sit on the grill grate, and others nestle down on flame deflectors closer to the heat. Place your favorite wood chips inside, close, and heat the grill until smoke starts coming out of the box. To jump-start this process, you can turn your grill on high and then reduce the temperature when you’re ready to start cooking.
Wet Wood vs. Dry Wood
Should you soak your wood chips or not? The debate about this technique for smoking food gets hot around the pit. Some grillmasters insist that a good long soaking slows down the burning process and gives longer, more even smoking. Others enjoy adding additional flavor by soaking the chips in fruit juice or beer.
On the other side of the camp, many barbecue cooks have observed that even long-soaked chips and chunks don’t absorb much water. Instead of extending the period when the wood gives off smoke, they say this technique delays the beginning of smoking.
Setting your Gas Grill up as a Smoker
It’s one thing to add a little smoke to your regular grilling routine, but you can also use your gas grill to perform a long, low-and-slow smoky cook for brisket or pork shoulder.
Once you’re set up with your smoker box and your choice of wood chips, you’ll have to convince your grill to maintain a steady but not blazing-hot temperature. We recommend experimenting with your grill and a thermometer to figure out what settings you need.
Try lighting only one burner and varying the temperature. You’re looking for a sweet spot somewhere between 200°F and 250°F. The direct heat will keep the smoker box smoking, and the indirect heat elsewhere will cook your food.
Beyond the smoker box and, of course, the meat, there are a few other tools that will help you. A good thermometer is a must for smoking, and you’ll have an easier time with one you can read remotely. The less you open up the grill during the smoking process, the better. Consider a thermometer that will let you keep an eye on the internal temperature of the grill as well as a probe thermometer that will give you a direct report about the progress of the meat.
Last, for a long, slow cook, install a drip pan underneath the meat. Most long-cooking cuts contain plenty of hard fat and connective tissue, which you’re giving TLC to melt and break down. Stuff is going to drip, and a disposable aluminum pan set directly below the meat will spare you a lot of cleanups.
For more tips on smoking on a gas grill, check out this video from Fine Cooking.
The Best Smoker Boxes for Gas Grills
Basic, sturdy, and well-designed, the Grillaholics Smoker Box is ready to join your grilling team. There’s plenty of room in there for wood chips, enabling you to fill it up for a long cooking time. The hinged lid gives easy access if you do need to top up the chips. While many smoker boxes only have holes on the top, the model from Grillaholics has holes around the sides as well. This gives the smoke inside plenty of room to disperse. The box is made of good, heavy stainless steel and will stand up to repeated use without warping. The box measures 9 x 3 x 1.5 inches.
The company also offers a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, so if for any reason you’re unhappy with your purchase now or down the line, you can send it back for a refund.
Another rectangular container, the Cave Tools Smoker Box has ten holes along the lid and a sturdy hinge for easy access during cooking. It slides in underneath the grill grates to sit right on top of the flame deflectors if desired. It ships with 25 professional barbecue recipes to inspire your cooking. The box measure 8.8 x 3.8 x 1.8 inches.
The Charcoal Companion Smoker Box is a V-shape that is engineered to nestle right down in between the flavorizer bars in your grill. This means it takes up virtually no space and food can be placed directly above it for maximum smoke flavor. The holes in the lid are densely clustered, meaning plenty of smoke can escape and reach your food. The box measures 13.8 inches long by 4.2 inches high at the deepest point.
Mockins makes their smoker box out of extra heavy-duty stainless steel with an attractive brushed finish. Unlike some other boxes, there are holes on the top and the bottom of this box for greater airflow. The box measures 8.8 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches.
With steel of a full millimeter thick, the Grill Gods Smoker Box will stand up to tons of use. Holes around the sides and across the hinged lid provide plenty of room for smoke to escape as well as good ventilation. The box measures 9.2 x 3.5 x 1.6 inches.
Dinner is Served
Adding a smoker box makes your trusty gas grill even more versatile. Your cooking can rise to new heights. For us, the Grillaholics Smoker Box edged out the others in durability and design. We love that this family-owned company stands behind its products with a lifetime guarantee.
Pick up a smoker box today and get your barbecue on. It only gets tastier from here!