How to Smoke Meat With Wood Chips on a Propane Grill

Linda Emma

Cooking shows are devoted to it; classes are taught in its art; connoisseurs of the method abound and argue. Smoking meat and poultry in a smoker or on a grill is a time-honored method of cooking and enhancing the flavors of your grill entrees. The wood and its smoky flavors enhance meat, poultry and fish.

Gas Smoker

And while no competitor of the true smoking genre cook-offs would ever consider smoking their ribs on a propane grill, there isn't any reason why you can't--with surprisingly flavorful results.

  1. Choose your entrée. Before you purchase the wood chips, consider what you will be cooking. Fish, poultry and ham benefit from the sweet smoky flavors of fruitwoods, while red meats benefit from the rich flavors of smoking hardwoods such as oak and hickory. With experimentation, you can decide upon your personal favorites and even mix wood types for your own unique flavors (see Resources).

  2. Purchase wood chips. For the sake of example, let's say you're roasting a chicken and you've opted for apple wood--easy to find and a good match for the meat. You can find wood chips at cooking stores, retailers selling barbecue supplies, specialty markets or online (see Resources).

  3. Soak the wood chips for at least a half hour. Dry wood will burn rather than smoke. You can use plain water or enhance the flavors further by soaking the chips in beer. You can also purchase hardwood created from wine barrels, which have their own unique flavor and greatly enhance the smoking of red meats.

  4. Smoker Boxes
  5. Place the wood chips in your smoker box and place on grill rack.

  6. Light your grill and allow smoke to fill its interior.

  7. Smoking Chicken
  8. Prepare your bird, place on the rotisserie and start cooking.

  9. Cook at low heat. Smoking only works effectively if the meat you are preparing has enough time to truly absorb the smoky wood flavors. This means cooking for a long period on a low heat. Be careful, however, to maintain the temperature high enough to kill bacteria. The smoky interior temperature of your grill should be between 225 and 300 degrees F.