How to Use Wood Chips on a Gas Grill
Making steaks with wood chips flavor has never been easier. The days of basically surviving the tear-inducing smokes of the charcoal are gone. Now, you can add your favorite wood chips flavor to your steak with a gas grill, and still get that elegant flavor and sumptuous taste that only wood chips can provide.
For some, this is easier said than done. Since the gas grill is an elegant step-up on the charcoal grills, some users may have one or two challenges in using it with wood chips. If you fall into this category, then you are in the right place.
Tips for Using Wood Chips on a Gas Grill
Here, we’ve outlined simple steps to guide you on how to use wood chips on a gas grill. Whether you a new owner of a gas grill or you are preparing to get one, this article will help you in adding that appetizing smoky flavor to your grills. Let’s get started.
1. Select your wood chip flavor
To get the desired flavor from your grill, the first thing to do is to select your preferred wood chip flavor. Many options are available online, at supermarkets, and the local convenience store.
You can select from the popular flavors such as hickory, oak, cherry, apple, or maple. These woods can serve your different needs whether you are trying to grill poultry birds or a wild game, or just looking to make steaks with beef or pork. Better still, you can discuss your specific needs with your dealer so that you can receive guidance on the perfect wood chips for your grill.
Whichever one you choose, make sure it’s of the right flavor and wood quality.
2. Prepare the wood chips for your grill
Regardless of the source and the type, you need to prepare the wood chips for use on a gas grill. Some people soak the chips for one to two hours before use, others don’t. The wisdom behind soaking is this: one, to produce more smoke from the chips, and two, to delay the wood chips from burning during use.
However, this is often not necessary. Why? The wood chips can absorb only a little amount of water due to their small nature; thus the water boils off quickly to leave them dry. So it makes no significant difference whether you soak the wood chips or not.
To ensure that the chips last you for at least half the duration of the cooking time, get enough into the smoker box (or aluminum smoker bag, as we will discuss next) and maintain an average heating temperature below it.
3. Get a wood chip container
Unlike in the charcoal grills where you insert your wood directly into the fire, you will have to be more technical with a gas grill. First of all, you need a container. The container is what will hold your wood chips and heat them to smolder and give you the smoke you need.
Some modern gas grills come with an in-built smoker box made up of heavy-gauge stainless steel. The base of the smoker box conducts heat to the wood chips to create smoke that will emit through the holes on the lid. The smoker box may be fixed atop the grill grate or may be placed below.
If the smoker is not available on your gas grill, you can improvise with a wood tray or an aluminum smoker pouch. The latter is what you can do by yourself. Make a pouch with aluminum foil and punch a few holes at the top of the pouch to let the smoke out.
4. Get smoking
Once you’ve gotten your wood chips into a container, place them on one side of the grill grate directly over a burner. In the case of grills with smoker boxes, the container is already in place. You only need to heat it before you start grilling.
Turn on the burner below the container and increase to high heat. Close the lid of the gas grill and give the wood chips some minutes – usually 10 to 20 minutes – to start emitting smoke.
You will perceive the unmistakable smoky flavor of the wood chips when this happens. At this stage, open the lid and place the meat, vegetable, or burger that you want to grill on the other, unlit end of the grill grate.
Whatever you do, be sure to keep the lid of your gas grill closed long enough for the smoke to penetrate the item under grilling.
Allow enough time for the item under grilling to cook and enough for the smoke to infuse the grill. To ensure this, make sure to keep the lid of the gas grill shut of the grilling.
Tips on how to make a sumptuous grill with wood chips
5. Cook before smoking
It is advisable to cook the item to be grilled before you start smoking it. This is because cooking and smoking items like lean steaks, burgers, or vegetables, for instance, may allow too much smoke to infuse and change their tastes to a degree that is too high for them to be delicious.
However, for larger items like thick beef slices or bone-in chicken pieces with longer cooking time, cooking with smoke provides a great opportunity for you to get a well-smoked meal. In this case, you will get a convenient blend of the flavor of the smoke and the flavor of the meal.
To be safe, follow this simple rule: smoke only for half the cooking time of the item you are smoking. This way, you be sure of having a well-cooked and equally well-smoked grill.
6. Customize your flavor
Smoked grills are too delicious for you to stick with a general and popular flavor. Get adventurous. Mix things up a little bit. Create a unique wood chip flavor for yourself by experimenting with different flavors to find the perfect blend for your personal indulgence.
Try mixing the applewood chips with hickory wood chips, or add the oak flavor to the mix. Experiment till you get hit the right flavor. And once you do, keep it to yourself.