Part of what makes cooking on a charcoal grill distinctive is the smoky flavor that the coals impart to the food. Gas grills are easier to use but don’t allow for the natural smoky flavors of charcoal. Luckily, adding a smoky flavor to food cooked on a gas grill is very easy, using wood chips. Different woods impart different smoke flavors, so be sure to match your wood choice with the kind of food you want to cook.

Here’s how to use the chips:

  • Soak the chips in water for at least an hour. Wet chips will produce more smoke than dry chips.
  • Drain the chips, then wrap them in heavy foil, or place them in a disposable foil pan and cover tightly with foil. Cut a couple of small slits in the top of the foil and place the chips in a corner of the grill.
  • Turn your grill to the temperature your recipe calls for and wait until it’s thoroughly heated. Wet chips will give off steam before they start really smoking, so be sure the wood is actually smoking before you start cooking. Steam is white, odorless, and rises quickly. Smoke is darker, has a smell, and rises more slowly.
  • Add your food to the grill, but don’t let it touch the smoker box. Space your food evenly on the grill to let it get the full smoky effect.
  • Close the lid and keep it closed for as long as possible. If you need to turn or baste your food, do it as quickly as possible. Each time you open the lid, the smoke will get out.
  • Cook your food for as long as the recipe calls for. In general, fish and small cuts of boneless meat will cook much more quickly than large cuts or bone in meats.
  • If you’re going to be cooking for more than half an hour, you’ll need to replace the wood chips. You can prepare a second smoker box in advance and simply switch it out, or you can remove the box from the grill and add new chips before returning it.
  • When your food is done, pull it off the grill. Remove any food debris from the cooking grates and let your meat rest for a few minutes before cutting and serving. Then enjoy!

Tri-County Hearth & Patio is a family-owned and operated business located on Old Washington Road in Waldorf, Maryland, and has been serving the area for over 30 years. We offer our customers the largest selection of patio furniture, fireplaces, inserts, stoves, BBQ grills, and outdoor accessories in all of Southern Maryland. Plus, all of our sales and service professionals are proficient in all things patio and hearth. Visit our website or contact us now for more information, or if you’re ready to optimize the enjoyment of your home, give us a call at 301-843-1771.