Wondering how to infuse your food with a delicious smoky flavor without having to buy an expensive smoker? A smoker box can do the trick.
If you already have a gas grill, you can easily install a smoker box to add the hickory, apple, cherry, or oak wood flavor to your cooked food. This simple piece will let you explore the realms of smoked food for an affordable price.
In this article, I will explain what a smoker box gas grill can do for you, how to use it, how to pick the right one, in addition to my top 5 recommendations.
What is a Smoker Box?
A smoker box allows you to use your gas grill for slow cooking. It’s usually made of a durable metal like steel, stainless steel or cast iron and it’s used to produce smoke from any gas, charcoal or electric grill.
Switch on the grill and get it to the right temperature. Place the smoker box on top of it and let the wood chips produce that delicious flavor.
There are lots of flavors and each one of them will go perfectly with a specific kind of food. Don’t be scared to experiment with various flavors; this is what cooking is all about.
How to Use a Smoker Box for Gas Grill?
You should have some wood chips or wood chunks to get your box to work. Some people believe that soaking wood is necessary. If you choose to soak your wood, you can do this for an hour or two but not more.
Soaking doesn’t necessarily mean that your wood will produce more smoke or will last longer. When you heat the soaked wood, what will escape first is the steam and not the smoke.
Most smoking experts agree that dry wood is the best to use with a smoker box. It produces blue smoke which is considered to be the best-tasting flavor.
Once you’re done, put your favorite meat, chicken, salmon chunks, burgers, veggies or fruit on top of the smoker box. Smoking is a low-cooking process, but most experts use the 3-2-1 method with ribs and other types of meat.
How to Choose the Best Smoker Box for Gas Grill?
Like every piece of cooking equipment, you should make sure that you’re buying something that will last. Smoker boxes are not that expensive. Nevertheless, you don’t want to buy a cheap one that will become useless after a single use. Here are some things to bear in mind when you’re shopping for a smoker box.
A smoker box will be in direct contact with heat for a very long time. You want to stay away from cheap materials that might warp after a few uses. Some less durable materials also change color and will easily rust.
The best smoker boxes are made of steel or stainless steel. These are durable enough to withstand the continuous high temperatures.
Some models are also made of cast iron. This metal takes longer to get hot enough for your smoking process. But once it heats up, it stays hot for a long period, enabling you to cook all your delicious recipes.
A bigger smoker box has lots of advantages. It will be big enough to be filled with a large amount of wood chips. This means that you won’t have to keep on refilling the box to get the desired results. Moreover, the chips are divided over a larger area so they won’t burn.
The continuous opening of the lid for refilling the smoker box lets the smoke and heat escape and accordingly affects the outcome. This is why you should stay away from very small boxes. However, make sure that the box should still fit on top of your grill.
You want the box to have enough holes to infuse your food with the smoked flavor. At the same time, the wood ashes shouldn’t be allowed to escape to touch your food.
Brushing ashes off food isn’t the most desirable activity. Go for high-quality and properly designed smoker boxes to avoid this issue.
Smaller holes won’t let much smoke escape so the flavor won’t be that strong. Bigger holes solve this problem, but you should make sure that the ashes won’t find their way to your smoked food.
If your smoker box has a non-stick coating, it will definitely be a big plus. After you’re done smoking, you don’t want to spend hours to remove the wood chips from your box. Ashes are likely to get stuck in the box but having a non-stick coating will make your life easier.
Remember that the fats and juices will drip from your food into the box. You should look for a model that doesn’t take hours to clean after smoking.
The lid should fit tight to prevent air from getting into the box. Otherwise, the wood chips will burn with a flame and this is not what you want for your smoked food.
When wood burns with a flame it doesn’t produce much smoke. You want the wood to burn slowly with smoke, but no flame so your food can absorb the smoky flavor.
At the same time, the lid should be easy to open as you might want to add more wood chips while you’re cooking. Make sure to use heat tongs and other protective equipment to protect your hands while handling the hot box.
The Best Smoker Box for Gas Grill: My Top 5
Now that you know everything about smoker boxes, it’s time to take a look at my top 5 recommendations.
This smoker box from Grillaholics allows you to transform any gas or charcoal grill into the perfect smoker for all your delicious briskets and ribs. All you have to do is to add the chips of your choice to enjoy a long-lasting smoky flavor.
This box is made of stainless steel and it will withstand high temperatures for longer periods with minimum issues. However, after a while, you might feel that the lid is harder to seal due to warping.
Due to its convenient capacity, it can take up to 3 cups of wood chips which is a big plus because you won’t open the box that often The lid is hinged, though, so you can easily open it to add more chips when needed. It also makes cleaning a breeze.
Because using this smoker box is straightforward, I recommend it to first-timers as well as experienced users. Some charring is expected to be seen at the bottom of the box, but nothing that would affect its quality. Nevertheless, this is a bit inconvenient given the high price of this model.
Wood usually takes around 15 minutes to smoke, which is slightly longer than other models on the market. The holes are small and no ashes will get in contact with your food. However, I wish there were more holes to let more smoke out.
- Convenient size to be used with most grills.
- Easy cleaning.
- Large wood capacity.
- Hinged lid.
- The lid tends to warp after repeated use.
- Not enough holes.
The V-shaped design of this Charcoal smoker box fits right between the flame deflector bars of your grill for intense heat exposure to produce the best smoke. Thanks to its versatile shape, this smoker will perfectly work with different grills. It also comes at an affordable price so I recommend it to users who are on a tight budget.
You can use the hinged lid to add more chips to your smoker box and remove the excess once you’re done. I think that this smoker box is an excellent choice for anyone who doesn’t like to spend a long time on cleanup because the ashes naturally collect at the bottom of your box.
Smoke builds up easily due to the V-shaped design. The hot smoke rises and leaves through the holes to add the desired flavor to your cooked food. It’s made of stainless steel so it won’t warp with continuous exposure to heat. However, you might experience some rusting with repeated use.
The only issue I have with this smoker box is that it’s smaller than other models on the market. You can’t use bigger big chunks because they won’t fit. You can only use the smaller chips to add the desired smoky flavor.
- Innovative V-shaped design to fit between the flame deflector bars.
- Affordable smoker that works with multiple grills.
- Easy cleanup.
- Hinged lid that doesn’t warp.
- Prone to rusting.
- Small size so you can’t add big wood chunks.
If you’re not a big fan of stainless steel, then I recommend this cast iron smoker box from Char-Broil.I love how it stays hot for longer and how it withstands the highest temperatures for the slowest cooking experience. If you’re into overnight smoking, then this is the right product for you.
To protect your smoker box from rusting, you should make sure that you season it first, the same way you’d season any cast iron skillet. The cast iron is a quarter-inch thick so the wood chips won’t catch fire, providing you with excellent cooking experience.
The holes are a bit wider than what you can find on other models. This means that perfect aroma will leave the box faster and get infused into the food you’re cooking. However, this also increases the risk of ashes flying out of the box and ending up on your food.
For an affordable price, I recommend this smoker for users who want to smoke briskets and chuck roasts that take a longer time to perfectly smoke. The Char-Broil smoker requires a little maintenance to stay in shape, but it’s good value for money. It takes more than 20 minutes to heat up. However, once it does, it will stay long for as long as you need it to.
- Cast iron smoker box that withstands high heat.
- Suitable for overnight smoking.
- Durable metal that won’t warp.
- Wider holes for more smoke.
- Needs seasoning to prevent rust.
- Takes a longer time to get hot.
If you’re interested in hot and cold smoking, then you should take a look at the LIZZQ pellet smoker. It’s designed to work with various types of pellets and chips to smoke several kinds of food. However, it won’t work with wood chunks due to its compact size. It can provide smoke up to 5 hours of smoking.
The new hexagon tube design delivers better diffusion of the smoke to penetrate the tissues of your ribs, chicken thighs, fish, and burgers. There are other cylinder smoker boxes on the market, but these can roll around. This hexagon smoker box will stay in place to deliver the best smoking result.
Whether you have an electric, gas or charcoal grill, this is the best smoker to pick. It’s made of stainless steel so it won’t warp and can withstand continuous use.
Unlike other models, this one heats up pretty fast. However, it’s prone to rusting and you shouldn’t move it around because it has no lid. As a result, the burning chips will start to fall out. Nevertheless, due to the same reason, it’s very easy to clean, so I recommend it for people who enjoy smoking away from home.
- Innovative hexagon design that stays in place.
- A large number of holes to diffuse smoke into your food.
- Heats up fast.
- Easy to clean.
- No lid so the chips might fall off.
- Can easily rust.
The thicker stainless steel construction of this model guarantees that it won’t warp or change color when you expose it to high temperatures. It comes with a hinged lid that allows you to use a big amount of wood chips for continuous smoking. Moreover, you’ll receive 25 recipes and a tutorial with your purchase so I think it’s an excellent choice for beginners.
I recommend this smoker box for users who don’t handle hot objects very well because the lid allows for fast and easy access to chips. It’s the perfect size to fit right into any grill you have.
This smoker box is a bit more expensive than other models, but I think it’s worth the price because it won’t warp or rust. The design allows wood chips to spread over a larger area for better smoking. More wood will burn at the same time and none will burn for a better flavor.
Due to its larger size, using this smoker box might be more challenging, especially if you have a small grill. It also takes more time to reach the desired temperature because it’s very thick.
- Thick stainless steel construction.
- Doesn’t rust or warp.
- Large capacity to burn wood evenly.
- Hinged lid for easy and fast access to wood chips.
- Not suitable if you have a compact grill.
- Takes more time to get hot.
Owning a smoker box has lots of advantages. I recommend the Cave Tools Smoker Box as the best smoker box for your gas grill. It’s so versatile and will accommodate a large amount of wood chips for the perfect smoked dishes. I love the large surface area because it will guarantee that wood chips won’t burn to deliver the desired aroma.
Most smoker boxes are compatible with other types of grills. These affordable pieces will open the door to a world of cooking possibilities without breaking the bank. So if you’re looking into making better use of your gas grill, look no further than adding a smoker box to your cooking gear.