Barbecue is all about building layers of flavor upon flavor. A crucial part of this flavor is added by smoking. By using wood chips and a smoking box you can impart these same traditional barbecue flavors while your grilling, or by turning your grill into a make-shift smoker. By using the best smoker box for gas grills you’ll be able to reap the benefits of that rich smoky flavor and become a legend in your neighborhood.
Why Use a Smoker Box?
At first glance a smoker box might seem like a simple gadget. But when it comes to adding wood chips on your gas grill, it’s really the only way you can reliably control the temperature of the wood chips, and evenly distribute the smoke without it just going up in flames.
If you try other ways to smoke wood chips, it may result in the wood overheating or catching fire, which ends up with meat that’s hard and blackened instead of juicy and smoky. You’re also at greater risk if you have wood casually burning in your grill.
Your wood chips or pellets will release natural smoke, infusing your meat with that classic smoky flavor. You’ll also be able to control the temperature of the wood. Overall, it’s safer, cleaner, easier to manage and let’s be honest here, we are all here for the flavor it reliably delivers. You can experiment with a variety of different wood chips and the best wood pellets for smoking to find the right flavor for your backyard barbecue.
The best smoker box for a gas grill will be made from high-quality, durable steel, to keep the box from warping or wearing. There will be enough holes on the top, or sometimes sides, to allow just enough ventilation to start the combustion process without disintegrating the wood chips.
Even if you’re using ceramic briquettes on a gas grill, you can still use a smoker box too. Just be sure you get one that sits on the grill grate that you can light seperately.
Top 5 Best Smoker Boxes
Weber 7576 Universal Stainless Steel Smoker Box
- Trusted durable stainless steel
- Easy to add wood chips or pellets to the box
- Fits most grill sizes
- Best to set it on grill grates not right on top of the burner
The Weber Universal Smoker Box offers a simple, classic design that’s perfect for regular use. Simply open the lid, add the wood chips or pellets and place the box on your grill while you’re cooking. The smoke will filter through the holes on the lid to give your meat an irresistibly smoky flavor. This box is small enough to fit on most grills, although its easy to check the model number just to be sure. The only downside is that some customers have reported that this grill starts to warp if it’s placed directly on top of the burner.
Cave Tools Smoker Box
- Large size holds up to two cups of wood chips
- Hinged lid for easy access
- Won’t fit on smaller grills, check the measurements to be sure
Made from tough stainless steel, the Cave Tools Smoker Box is built to withstand high temperatures. You can safely add a smoky flavor to your meat without worrying about the wood chips catching on fire. This smoker box can fit up to two cups of wood chips, making it great for large grills and big family get-togethers. The hinged lid allows you to add more wood chips during the grilling process. Overall, the Cave Tools smoker box is strong, durable and possibly the most popular smoker box for gas grills.
Charcoal Companion Stainless Steel V-Shape Smoker Box
- Unique V-shape means it fits perfectly on grills with heat plates.
- Specifically designed for gas grills
- Wood chips are more likely to catch fire
- Very difficult to add more wood chips throughout the cook.
Most smoker boxes sit on the top of the grill and allow the smoke to escape through the lid. The Charcoal Companion Smoker Box has a unique V-shape design that allows you to nestle the box between the flame deflector bars, infusing your meat with the richest, juiciest flavor. To use, simply load it up with wood chips just like you would a regular smoker box. The smoke will waft upwards from underneath the grate to make your barbecue more delicious than ever.
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Grillaholics Smoker Box
- Has holes drilled in the side of the box, allowing more smoke to escape
- Made from durable stainless steel that doesn’t warp
- Might not be the best option for smaller cookouts
Unlike most smoker boxes, which have holes drilled through the lid, the Grillaholics Smoker Box has additional holes drilled into the side. This angles the smoke directly towards the meat on your grill. The simple hinged lid makes it easy to load up wood chips and empty out the box when you’re done. If you’re planning a big cookout, the large capacity of this smoker box allows you to smoke large quantities of meat at a time. However, it might be a little oversized for smaller grills.
Cave Tools Maximum Capacity Smoker Box
- Large capacity holds up to three cups of wood chips
- Made from thicker stainless steel than other smoker boxes
- Not suitable for smaller grills
Cook for the entire neighbourhood with this Maximum Capacity Cave Tools Smoker Box. The large size allows you to load up massive quantities of wood chips and smoke all that meat you’ve got sitting around in the freezer. Made from thick stainless steel, this smoker box can withstand high temperatures without warping. You can load up to three cups of wood chips or pellets in this box, which features a wide design that allows for more smoke production.
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Choosing Your Smoker Box
A good smoker box is made from steel that won’t bend, warp or change its shape after being exposed to harsh temperatures. Look for smoker boxes that are made from thick, durable metal like stainless steel. You’ll also need a smoker box that’s well-constructed with a simple hinged lid and holes that allow the smoke to escape.
Before you choose a smoker box, measure your grill to see what size you’ll need. A large smoker box allows you to smoke more meat in a shorter amount of time, but it’ll also take up more space on your grill. Conversely, a small smoker box is great for small family cookouts but not big events where you’re grilling for hundreds of people.
You’ll also need to consider the wood chip capacity. A smoker box might be able to hold a lot of wood chips, but you’ll need a box with a wide profile that can smoke most of the chips at once. Additionally, consider whether you want a box that sits on top of the grate or below the grate with the flame deflector bars.
How To Use A Smoker On A Gas Grill
Step 1: Add Your Smoker Box
Add your smoker box to the grill, being sure it’s not directly above the flames, unless you are using one that sits on the heat shields.
Step 2: Choose Your Wood Chips
Depending on what your cooking you’ll want to use the best pairing for your desired taste. For example, the best woods for smoking pork are not the same as the best wood chips for smoking turkey. Hickory is more versatile, sort of an all rounded strong smokiness, which is great for smoking brats, or the best wood for smoking lamb. Whereas fruit woods such as apple or cherry are more subtle, but sweeter, which is great for smoking chicken wings for example.
See my full breakdown of smoking woods for everything you’ll need to know.
Step 3: Add Wood Chips
Once your grill is up to temperature and your food is prepared, add your desired amount of wood chips. Be sure to not overfill the box, you can always add some more during the cook (unless using one that sits on the heatshield).
Step 4: Let It Smoke
Once the wood chips begin smoking, shut the hood and allow the smoke to work its barbecue magic.
Step 5: Keep An Eye Out
For safety, always keep an eye out on the wood. This doesn’t mean check every five minutes, but take note of how well it’s smoking and the temperature as you don’t want to burn up all the wood too quickly or you won’t get the desired effect.