Grills Outdoor

How to Build a Smoker Grill

Written by Chris Alan

You can cook meats using the smoking process to create the most delectable, juicy meats you’ve ever tasted. Most people who favor barbecue will believe that slow-cooked meat grilled in a smoker has the best flavor. Although there are several smoking options on the market, getting a smoker might be expensive. However, you may quickly learn how to smoke on a gas or charcoal grill by creating a simple wood smoker that can perform equally well as most commercially available models.

Making Gas Grill

  • Soak wood chips

Get a sizable bag of smoking chips that weigh at least 2.3 kg. Then, place them in a sizable bucket and cover them entirely with cold water. Let them dip for at least an hour in water. For the finest flavor, let the wood chips soak overnight.

Apple wood chips are made for chicken and fish. Mesquite chips are renowned for the flavorful compliment they give steak. For additions like cheese and veggies, maple chips work best.

  • Adjust the grill

There is only one primary grate on a gas grill that supports the food above the flame. Completely remove it and put this grating to the side. Next, widen the vents as much as you can. As we heat the grill later, this will allow air to flow.

  • Wrap the wood chips in a foil bag

Place the wood chips in a foil bag after soaking them for at least an hour. Make sure the bag is closed, then repeatedly prick the top. Simply place this bag of wood chips atop the stove.

  • Place a foil drip pan 

About 1/4 of a foil drip pan should be filled with water. After that, choose which side of the gas grill you want to light the flame. On the other side, put this foil pan. The chips and water should heat up for around 20 minutes after lightening the flame and covering the lid.

Preparing a Charcoal Grill

  • Soak wood chips 

Pour cold water into a big bucket. Then, add 2.3 kg of wood chips, and ensure that they are well immersed. Let them dip for an hour before placing them on the smoking grill. 

You can get a wide variety of wood chips. Each adds a unique flavor to the smoke.

  • Set the grill 

Remove the large cooking grate and the grilling lid to turn your barbecue into a smoker. Most charcoal grills will feature 2 grill gates, with a larger grate in the center and a smaller one below. Take out the larger grate. Then, open the grill’s vents as widely as possible.

  • Place charcoal 

You must create two separate portions on the lower grill grate to prepare for the smoking action. Pick one-half grate and add 4 to 5 handfuls of charcoal to it. Keep them tightly together.

  • Heat the charcoal 

Set an electric starter iron on the charcoals.   The charcoal will start to heat up from the iron. It should just take 8 to 10 minutes to complete this step. The charcoal has been heated when you hear the coals crackle and see smoke rising from the pile. Remove the iron from the charcoals as you notice the smoke. If you don’t have an electric starter iron, you can heat it by lighting paper under the charcoals or using fire starters.

  • Place a foil drip pan 

On the other side of the grill, next to the hot coals, place a foil drip pan with about 1/4 full of water inside. For around 20 minutes, close the grill and let these parts heat.

Even though charcoal will produce enough smoke to cook your food, adding some water to improve flavor and regulate temperature is still a good idea. Push any charcoals to the opposite side of the lower grate with tongs to make room for the water.

  • Layer the wood chips 

Open the grill, then spread the wet wood chips over the hot charcoals. Leave some wood chips for later, although they totally cover the charcoals. Put back the large grate on the grill after that. The water, wood chips, and charcoals should be positioned between the two grates. Again, shut the lid.

Smoking the Meat

  • Prepare meat

Smoking is the best option for meat that takes a while to cook and is tough. Spread your meat on a flat surface with a pinch of salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings you choose. 

  • Temperature

Most grills, whether they are gas or charcoal, will have inbuilt thermometers. Make sure the interior is heated enough for smoking before you start. Typically, the temperature must be between 225 °F to 250 °F.

The temperature will drop over time if your smoker grill is too hot. If it’s too chilly, add more chips or charcoal or raise the temperature on the gas knob. 

  • Place the meat 

Lift the meat onto the grill using some tongs. Place it over the pan of water. The meat may need to be smoked in multiple batches if your barbecue isn’t very big. Reattach the grill’s lid tightly once all the meat has been placed. Closing the cover will keep the smoke inside, allowing your meat to absorb the taste fully.

  • Close the grill vents 

A grill’s top and bottom vents eliminate the smoke that accumulates inside. When smoking food for the first time, turn the vents partially open. Your meal will be smokier the less you let it smoke out of the grill.

Smoke the meat 

The time needed to smoke meat varies substantially. If you’re cooking various meats, plan ahead and cook the longer meats first and the shorter meats later.

  • Add wood chips 

More wood chips will increase the grill’s engine power. After 30 minutes, put a few moist wood chips over the coals of a charcoal grill. Take off the foil bag from a gas grill with tongs. Replace the bag with fresh chips after gently removing the old ones. The meat will taste more smokey the more wood chips you add.

  • Ready to serve

 A skilled smoker will be able to tell when their meat is done by feel. You should stay on the side of caution if this is your first time smoking, though. To determine whether the meat is prepared, pierce it with a meat thermometer at its thickest spot and note the temperature.



  • Hardwood smoking chips come in a variety of readily available designs. Oak, maple, and cherry wood are common types. Try out different types to see which suits your tastes the best because each will add a distinct flavor.

  • How long you need to smoke the meat will depend on its size and thickness. Smaller steaks, fish, and other types of meat often take less time to smoke than whole chickens and roasts, which typically take about 5 hours. You can use a meat thermometer to evaluate whether the meat is fully cooked, but you also need to check the internal grill temperature, as mentioned in the previous step.

About the author

Chris Alan

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