In the barbeque community, there’s a large, ongoing debate on whether gas or charcoal grills are better.
While each of them has its advantages and disadvantages over the others, many people notice that foods cooked on gas grills don’t have as much of a smoky taste as food from a charcoal grill. Many people look for grills that exclusively give their food a smokier finish and turn to charcoal grills for that reason alone.
Years ago, it was a perfectly viable reason. Gas grills couldn’t get the same smoky taste because they weren’t burning wood or charcoal and couldn’t fit any to do just that. However, as new manufacturing techniques were created and many people further developed the barbecue grill into what we know today, more ways to generate smoke while using a gas grill were created.
Since many people prefer not to invest in a whole new grill just for adding flavour to food, we’ve put together some ways you can achieve the best smoky flavour from your gas grill. You can find a great range of Napoleon gas grills at the provided link if you’d like to do some research before buying a grill.
Use wood chips
The best and most reliable way you can get a smoky flavour in your meat is to invest in a decent bag of wood chips. Often available in grocery stores during the summer months and in hardware stores year round, they’re one of the go-to options for adding smoke to your meat and vegetables when smoking. While they’re frequently used with charcoal grills to add more smokiness, gas grills can also get many benefits from using even just a handful when barbecuing.
Wood chips are also a great option for beginners who want to add more smokiness to their foods while they’re still mastering their grills. You only need to light them for the wood chips to start smoking. Anyone, regardless of the number of burners their grill has to the level of experience with their barbecue, can just toss a handful of wood chips close to the grill’s burners to start adding smoke.
Soak some of the wood chips before grilling
While using wood chips, you might find that you don’t have enough smoke or that you go through quite a large amount of them in one cooking session. Looking the issue up, you might see many pitmasters and even some chefs saying to soak your chips for an hour before using them to create more smoke. That isn’t true, though. Soaking wood chips only delays the smoke instead of creating more of it.
That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t soak them and that you’re out of luck. While your grill’s heat will evaporate the water in the chips first, the wood chips will still burn. Instead of soaking all of a grilling session’s worth of chips, use half or a little less. This leaves you with a separate dry portion of chips that when tossed into your grill, will smoulder and smoke first. By the time the dry wood chips are ash, the previously soaked chips will become dry and start to smoulder.
Invest in a smoker box
There is one main issue that some barbecue lovers have when it comes to their grills. Due to either budget constraints or that’s just what they could get, the grill many people own only has a single burner. That single burner is also aligned vertically and either forces some of the chips to go unburned or a lack of proper smoking in the food along the edges of the grill. Thankfully, there’s a great solution to this kind of problem!
What are smoker boxes?
Smoker boxes are often used along with wood chips to provide smoke for gas grills or for adding more of it to an area closer to the food you’re cooking. Due to the high amount of heat that a grill often uses, smoker boxes are often made of metals that can withstand that heat without immediately warping; namely stainless steel, cast iron or even aluminium in a few cases.
These boxes usually have slits or small holes along the walls and lid to allow smoke to escape. Some smoker boxes are also likely to have a slot specifically designed for grill lighters to light the contents while the lid is still shut. You can get them online or at a hardware store, but if you’re on a tighter budget, aluminium foil works well too.
How to use one
Since smoker boxes need wood chips – or pellets – for smoking, you start using them by simply adding your choice of wood chips to the box itself instead of just tossing them close to the burners. From there, the model of the smoker box itself can affect how you light them. As mentioned, some boxes have a slot for you to light the chips or pellets with a match while others just have you light them and then close the lid. Once the chips are smoking, however, all that’s needed is to set the smoker box down close to your food and start to grill.
Add a bit of liquid smoke to your marinades
If you want the same smokiness that charcoal grills can give you food with your gas grill, but without the cost of buying a bag of wood chips or a new smoker box, you could try liquid smoke. Exactly what the name suggests, liquid smoke is the condensed smoke you get from burning wood but filtered to remove any impurities and distilled.
Like many seasonings, a little of it can go a long way. Adding a dash to your marinade essentially adds the same smokiness to your meat and veggies but without the need for the same wood burning. Naturally, you will need to grill it – or fry it, even – to get the same authentic barbecue feeling.
Barbequing is one of the most well-loved methods of cooking around the world, mainly for the way it gives a smoky taste to whatever you cook on it. However, between the two most popular types of grill, only charcoal grills give enough strong smoke to make themselves known in food. There are ways to do the same with gas grills, though many involve using wood chips. Many gas grills do still give smoky tastes, so don’t throw it away, even without trying these options.