Using your grill as a smoker, what? Can this really be done where you could actually get the tasty benefits? The answer is yes with a few simple tricks. Propane grills aren’t just for burgers anymore you can actually mimic the heat flow of a traditional smoker.
Here’s what you need to do:
Indirect heat cooking is where we need to start. You need to turn on the burners on the left side of your grill, but put your meat to smoke on the right side of the grill. Setting up your cooker so your meat is not in the direct path of the heat source will allow heat to circulate around the meat, which results in cooking by convection. Heat is thereby transferred to the food by a fluid, in this case, air, and conduction carries the surface heat through to the center of the cut. You want your grill to stay 225-250°F. This is what you want to cook with, and avoid directly exposing your meat to the heat source as that is what we would then call grilling!
Establish hot and cool zones by turning on (or leaving off) the burners. For example, if your propane grill is equipped with four burners, turn on one or two on left or right of the grill. This will create a single heat source allowing you to place your meat on the cooler area of the grill.
If your propane cooker only has three burners, turn the burner closest to the left (or right) on high, then set the middle burner to medium, or low depending on the target temperature to want to cook with. Leave the remaining burner in the off position. This will create a cool zone that will allow you to place the meat over the burner that’s been left in the off position.
With your heat sources identified, now comes the part that will give your grill the smoke. You’ll need a disposable aluminum pan filled with water to deliver moisture in the otherwise dry environment of the grill, and wood chunks to give your meat the sweet kiss of smokey flavor.
Start by removing the grill grates from the hot end of the grill. Put a disposable aluminum pan that is halfway filled with water directly on the flavorizer bars (heat deflectors). Adjacent to the water pan, and as close to the heat as you can get you want to put your wood chunks. Because we don’t want the wood to burn just smoke you will want to soak the wood chips for a half hour in water. Then remove then from the water and place the wood chips in aluminum foil and wrap them up, poking holes in the top so the smoke can escape. These smoke bombs as I call them work best between the flavorizer bars in your hot zone with the water pan placed on top of them.
Once you have them in place turn on your grill as we discussed earlier. Let your grill come to the desired temperature. Depending on your target smoking temperature, between 225-250°F, you may be looking at 20 to 30 minutes. You may need to adjust your settings to help maintain your target temperature.
Whatever you do, don’t use the factory dome thermometer that comes with most grills to monitor the internal temperature of your grill. Instead use a thermocouple probe thermometer to monitor the temperature at the grill grate level. We suggest the Crocodile Clip Oven probe, that can be clipped anywhere on the grill surface, and is made to withstand temperatures up to 660°F.
Placement of the probe is important to ensure you’re monitoring the temperature accurately. For larger grill surfaces try to place the sensor no more than one inch from the surface of the meat you’re cooking. This will allow you to measure temperatures right at the surface of the meat. For smaller grill surfaces, where the meat takes up most of the allowed cooking area, place the probe no less than one inch from the wall of the smoker. If you putting to close to the wall of the grill your readings may be compromised by the surface heat emitted from the wall.
It’s as simple as that to give any meats you’re cooking some added smoked flavor.
Looking for a Propane Cylinder Exchange Location?
Mighty Flame is always right around the corner. If you’re in the mood for some delicious smoked food, stop by for a propane bottle refill at a location near you!