Gas grilling is convenient and often what backyard cooks prefer for everyday grilling. As fun as it is, most people want to add smoke flavor to their steaks and chicken without grilling over charcoal or wood.

That’s where a smoke tube comes in. If your existing grill did not come with a smoker box, now is the best time to invest in one. The grilling season is here, and a smoker box will help you incorporate smoky flavors like a pitmaster.

Now, most people don’t know how to use a smoker tube on a gas grill. Well, it can be challenging.  

Gas grills come with wide vents that allow smoke to escape. A smoker box is designed to be put inside a gas grill.

How to Use a Smoker Tube on a Gas Grill - image

In this post, we’ll let you know how to smoke on a gas grill and all you require for stress-free cold and hot smoking.

Advantages of a Smoke Tube

Advantages of a Smoke Tube

Add Smoke Flavors

A propane-fired grill does not support smoking. As such, it depends on the steam created when grilling to add flavor. A smoke tube is a game-changer for the average griller. It adds hot smoke to give your food a deeply smoked flavor.  

Safely Smoke on a Gas Grill

Woodchips thrown directly onto a gas grill’s heat source is highly dangerous and not recommended. It can lead to a fire and catastrophic damages.

With a smoker box, the wood pellets are safely held inside, so they will not ignite into flames as you grill.

Easy Cleaning

When you burn wood, you’ll have to deal with ash. A smoker will hold the ash created, leaving you with little cleanup.

Ideal for Cold Smoke

A smoking tube comes in handy if you want to smoke without actually cooking. Cold smoking works when making cold smoked salmon and smoked cheese. The grill is usually set at a temperature below 80 degrees F so that the food does not cook.

How to Use a Smoker Tube on a Gas Grill

How to Use a Smoker Tube on a Gas Grill

Method 1

It’s easy if your grill came with a built-in smoke box. You can also make a DIY tube smoker with a few online tips. But we recommend buying a pellet tube or investing in the famous Weber smoker box.

Soak wood chips in water

Different brands require a certain amount of water for soaking. It’s best to soak the chips for 30 minutes to an hour.

Soaking prevents your wood chips from catching fire and giving you flames instead of smoke. It also provides longevity so that you can smoke longer. Although it’s a personal preference, we like using oak, hickory, apple, and pecan wood chips for their distinct flavors and because they don’t go out when you light them up.

Drain the chips and load your smoker box.

Preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes on high. This is a good time to brush the cooking grates clean if you’ve not already done so.

Place tube on one of the gas grill burners. It should be the burner you will leave on during indirect grilling.

When the box starts smoking, turn off one or two main burners. Turning off some of the burners sets your grill up for indirect cooking.

Control the temperature of the other burners so that the internal temperature is between 225-250 degrees F. If you want to grill at temperatures below 225 degrees F, you can turn off the main burners and leave on the burner for the smoker.

Now, add your steak, chicken, burgers, etc. to the cooking grates over the unlit burners. Close the lid and start cooking. The closer the steak is to the tube smoker, the smokier flavor it will absorb.

Method 2

We’ve shown you how to use a smoker box on a gas grill with soaked chips. Now, we’ll show you how to smoke with dry smoking pellets.

  • Place the smoking pellets in the tube.
  • Place the smoker in the gas grill in the vertical or horizontal position. Ensure that the smoke tube is not on the burners that you plan to light for cooking.
  • Use a butane torch to light the top end of the pellet tube.
  • Once the pellets are lit, and you can see some embers, leave them burning for 5-6 minutes.
  • Blow out the flame and light the burners for preheating the grill.
  • Wait 10-15 minutes, then turn off the burners that you will place your meat over.
  • Turn the other burners on low so that the internal temperature matches what you are cooking.
  • Place food on the cooking grates and start cooking.

A good pellet tube like the A-Maze-N will smoke for 4-5 hours. You can also use it in a dedicated hot smoking area in your kitchen.

Cold Smoking

For cold smoke, you don’t need to light the burners on your gas grill. Light the smoke tube in the gas grill. Blow the flames out, and you have yourself a cold smoker.

Smoking on a Gas Grill

Smoking on a Gas Grill

Smoking in barbecue is all about adding a smoky flavor and a lovely texture to food by cooking low and slow. But this is not always easy on a gas grill. The wide venting in the back of gas grills allows the smoke to escape before it can flavor the food.

Here’s what you need to know before smoking on a gas grill

Choose a smoker

Smokers range from free-standing smoking boxes to under-grate smokers and even foil pouches. A smoker holds in the wood chips and acts as the source of the smoke. It’s best to consider the space you have for the smoker, as well as the effort you need to get smoke from any particular smoker.

Type of Wood

It’s best to use hardwood since it goes longer than softwoods. Some grillers prefer freshly cut hardwood because it contains lots of water needed to create smoke for long periods. If you can’t find newly cut hardwoods, dried wood pellets are easy to find in hardware stores or online.

Nail Two-Zone Indirect Heating

To master the smoking skill, you need to control the temperature for a long time. As such, your grilling temperature should not go above 300 degrees F. Otherwise, you will be cooking on exposed flames.

A two-zone indirect heating setup includes a hot zone and a cold zone. You will have one or two burners on while the meat is cooking on the opposite side of the grill in the cold area.

Pro Tip:

Place an aluminum pan of water between your food and the lit gas burner. The water absorbs some of the heat, which controls the heat. But the water does not get hot enough to produce steam, so it will not steam your food.

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How long does a smoker tube last?

A smoke tube produces smoke for 4-5 hours, depending on the size of the smoker. Also, wet wood chips go longer than dry ones.

Should you soak wood chips?

Soaking the chips is not necessary. However, it improves the longevity of the smoking pellets.

How do you make a DIY smoker at home?

You will need:
• Aluminum foil
• Dry/wet chips
Method:
• Lay out a large foil and place the chips in the middle.
• Fold in the foil such that both edges meet at the center while covering the wood chips
• Fold the other sides individually
• Poke small holes in the foil. The holes will allow smoke to escape.
• Place the foil under the cooking grates over an unlit burner.
• Put the cooking grates back in place.
• Turn on the burners on high
• Wait for the pellets to start smoking before creating a two-zone fire.
• Adjust the temperature as needed.
• Place the food over the unlit burners and close the lid.

There you go! A homemade gadget that will produce similar results to a smoke tube.

Conclusion

Setting your gas grill for smoking can seem like a challenge. But we believe this guide will set the ball rolling. It’s best to get everything ready, including having enough propane for the time you will be smoking beforehand. This way of how to use a smoker on a gas grill can help you to avoid missteps that can give you an unpleasant experience.