Ready to take your gas bbq cooking to the next level? Learn the art of how to smoke on a gas grill to infuse your favorite dishes with irresistible smoke flavor. Whether you’re a seasoned griller or a beginner, our comprehensive guide will help you master the art of smoky grilling.

Smoker box with wood chips on a grill.

TL;DR QUICK TIPS FOR HOW TO smoke on a gas grill

  • Propane gas grills can create a smoky flavor with the use of different wood chips, such as hickory, oak, pecan, and apple.
  • Dry wood chips, not soaked, are ideal for producing smoke. Add a water pan for moisture.
  • Wood chips should be placed in foil or smoker boxes, not directly on the grill.
  • Pair different types of wood chips with different meats for varied flavors.
  • Keep grill temperature at 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for slow cooking and better flavor absorption.
  • Add fresh wood chips every 25-35 minutes to maintain flavor.
  • Used wood chips should be disposed of, and grill grates cleaned after grilling.
  • Always ensure proper ventilation and safety measures, including having a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Experimentation with various wood chips and food items can lead to flavorful results.

​Choosing the best grill for your grilling style can be a lot of fun, but it takes some research. There are so many great grills, but a propane grill with wood chips will give that smoky flavor that makes grilled meat amazing! The best part is that there are tons of different wood chip options to create unique flavor profiles based on what you are cooking. Want to pair meat with a fruity bite? There are wood chips to help you out! Check out how to smoke meat on a gas grill below.

When you think of barbecue flavor, you may think of traditional smokers. But with over 60% of Americans owning a gas grill, don’t doubt that it’s a great way to amp up your favorite recipe without a dedicated smoker. From grilling steaks on your gas grill to quick and easy side dishes, there’s something about the ease, convenience, and dependability that a gas grill offers that can’t be overlooked.

Standing rib roast on rotisserie with pecan wood foil packet on gas grill.

Choosing the Right Type of Wood Chips

There’s no shortage of different wood chips to choose from, but here are some of the most popular to get the best results. Different types produce different flavors, so have fun trying them out and finding your personal preference. 

  • Hickory Wood Chips- These have a strong, hearty flavor, and you’ll taste that in the meat. The flavor is the signature smoked taste you get on great barbecue and is great with beef, pork, and poultry. The great thing about this wood is that you can mix it with other chips.
  • Oak Wood Chips – These chips have a more earthy flavor to them. Mixing it with different woods will provide many different flavors. It’s perfect for beef or pork. If you can find them, we love the Jack Daniel’s Smoking wood chips, which are chips from retired whiskey oak barrels.
  • Pecan Wood Chips  – If you’re craving a more nutty flavor, these wood chips are for you. Your grilled items will have a sweeter taste and pair well with oak and hickory as well. 
  • Apple Wood Chips – These chips produce a mild flavor for grilling with a slight sweetness. 
Close up of wood chips just starting to produce smoke.

Preparing Wood Chips for Grilling

Many grill connoisseurs will soak their wood chips for an hour. The thought process behind this is that the soaked wood chips will create smoke in the grill, giving your meat the desired flavor. However, we do not recommend soaking the wood beforehand because that creates steam rather than smoke. Instead, add a water pan to the grill to create moisture, but grill with dry wood chips. The smoky taste will be better than you imagined. 

Using Wood Chips on a Gas Grill

One thing to note here is that you should never place wood chips directly on the gas grill like you would on the coals of a charcoal grill. Instead, use a piece of foil or smoker boxes as outlined below. These smoking methods get the same results if you don’t have an electric smoker, a traditional one, or pellet grills. Smoked meats are simply amazing!


If your grill has a built-in smoker box, place the chips in the box, and if the smoke box has a lid, secure it. Close the grill and allow the chips to preheat 5 to 10 minutes. When they are smoking, it’s go time. 


Place the chips in the smoker box and place the box over the heat in the back corner of the grill to give yourself the most usable cooking space. Close the grill and allow the chips to preheat for 5 to 10 minutes. 

Video: How to make a foil packet for Smoking with wood chips


Our favorite method for propane grills is the foil packet because it’s easy and can be done on any grill without any additional needs – except woodchips, we still need those.

Make the tin foil packet by placing ½ cup to 1 cup of wood chips in the center of a 9×12 sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. 

Fold the long edges up, one at a time. 

Fold the shorter edges in on themselves, like a burrito, to secure the packet. I pinch the top shut but leave a 1 to 2” opening for smoke to escape. You can also simply poke holes in the foil but we don’t find lots of smoke escapes for our liking.

You will have to add new wood chips every 30 minutes or so in a new packet as they do burn up. However, after 3 to 4 hours, most meats have absorbed enough flavor that you can just let it continue to cook through. 

Above shot of gas grill used as rotisserie with wood chip packets in foil and rib roast.
Think your gas grill can’t be a smoker – think again.


Start with a small 3×5” aluminum tray and add a cup of wood chips. 

Tightly seal with aluminum foil and poke several slits into the foil to allow smoke to escape as a makeshift smoker box. 

With a pellet smoker tube

You can pick up a pellet tube at your local hardware store in the grilling department. These tubes can be filled with wood smoking pellets or wood chips. Simply fill the tube with your favorite blend of wood chips and ignite one end. Place it on the cooking grates, close the grill lid, and wait 5 to 10 minutes while your grill preheats.

Bag of Jack Daniels wood chips with chips in a smoker box.

Pairing Wood Chips with Meats

What wood to use isn’t a one size fits all answer. You want to pair the food you are cooking with the subtle flavor of the wood chips you use, but with so many varieties out there, it’s fun and a little overwhelming to pick.

Here are some basic guides (but in no way a set-in-stone set of rules – playing with flavors is half of the fun). 

  • For a base, all-purpose cooking wood, oak, or hickory are great wood chips.  Things as simple as hot dogs and smoked burgers go well with these chips.
  • Pair fish with cedar or alder. Play with cherry or pecan for fish and seafood as well. 
  • Pork and chicken go amazingly with pecan, maple, peach, cherry, or apple. Imagine pork chops with these flavors.
  • Beef goes wonderfully with hickory, mesquite, and even specialty chips like Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel chips. 

For longer smokes, choose wood chips from deciduous trees like oak and hickory. 

Temperature Control and Smoking Time

The ideal temperature for gas grills is 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Most propane grills have 3 to 4 burners that you can turn on and off with a knob. For barbecue, and particularly nailing that ideal smoked flavor, you want to create a radiant heat that circulates around the food allowing the food to cook slowly and absorb more flavor by placing the heat source opposite the food. It usually takes about 7 to 10 minutes for smoke to appear once you begin.

In most cases, this will mean turning 1 of 3 or 2 of 4 burners (depending on how many burners your grill has built-in) to your regulated temperate while the food sits over the other burner, which is off. This creates a 2-zone grilling area.

Often for longer cooks, set up a small aluminum pan with water, beer, or even apple cider vinegar in it to keep the environment moist while cooking. This will contribute greatly to the smokiness and add additional flavor.

Gas grill with smoker box on hot side of the grill.


Add more fresh wood chips often

  • Be sure to add more wood to your grill every 25 to 35 minutes. This ensures that smoke is consistently flavoring your meat. 

Use wood chips for food other than chicken and meat

  • If you are grilling vegetables and other side dish recipes with your meat, don’t hesitate to keep the wood chips there. The same technique will add dimension and flavor to other foods, not just meat. 

Adjust the chips and temperature as needed

  • If you don’t want a super smokey flavor, watch the smoke and make sure it’s clean rather than pure white. The more smoke coming out of your grill, the more smoky flavor you are going to get. Feel free to cut the power on the grill as needed to reduce smoke or add fewer chips if you desire less smoke flavor. For stronger flavors, continue adding more chips and give the meat a long smoke.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Once you are finished with the smoking process, it’s time to clean your grill! Remove the smoker box or foil packets and dispose of any wood inside. If all of the wood hasn’t burnt up, you can reuse it another time, but the odds are that they have all been burned. Make sure the wood is not hot before disposing. 

Clean the grill grates with a grill grate brush as you normally would. 

Unused wood chips should be stored in a container that won’t collect moisture. A shed or dry space is the best place to store these. You want the chips fresh so you get the best flavor each time they are used.

Western Wood Pecan Chips in bag and on foil sheet side by side.

Safety Considerations

When grilling using ANY technique, always be careful. Use tongs to remove food and move the wood around as needed. Make sure your grill has proper ventilation so a fire doesn’t start, and always have a fire extinguisher nearby. 

Always, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using your grill and exercise caution throughout the whole grilling process. A grill should never be left unattended and be checked very often. Even if the meat needs to stay on for a long time, check it regularly. Set a timer if needed to remind yourself the grill is on.

Chicken wings on Viking gas grill with foil wood chip packet in background.

What can you smoke on a gas grill? 

Now that you’ve converted that grill, what can you toss on the grates to infuse that signature flavor? Just about everything. If you’re looking to add amazing flavor to your grilled meats, smoking on a gas grill with wood chips is for you! It’s much simpler than you would expect, and you end up with a meal to remember. Not sure which smoking wood to use? Experiment with them and have fun. 

  • Big cuts like smoked turkey and whole smoked chicken take on a beautiful flavor and stay moist. 
  • Pork shoulder shreds into savory bite-sized bits for sandwiches, tacos, and quesadillas. 
  • Lamb makes amazing lamb barbacoa
  • Beef roasts and beef tenderloin are even elevated when barbecued
  • You can even make pastrami at home by smoking corned beef
  • Salmon, halibut, and other fish and seafood cook up quickly but taste amazing off the grill.
  • And, of course, baby back ribs are hard to beat anyway but smoked. 

Think outside the main recipes and try smoking the side dishes like 

Amazing Smoker Recipes (that you can make on a gas grill)

Wood chips in a smoker box that have turned black and charred after being used.

Cooking your meat on a gas grill can be enhanced by using different wood chips. If your grill doesn’t have a smoker box, add one or create one using foil pouches. Always use caution when grilling, and have fun! Try experimenting with different wood chips and meat choices to produce a variety of flavors.

Now that you have the knowledge go out and make some magic! Make sure you click through the recipe archives for even more inspiration and let me know in the comments below what you have made! I always love your feedback. 


How do I use wood chips in a gas grill?

When using wood chips in a gas grill, you can create a smoker packet by wrapping the chips in foil and placing them directly on the heat source, or utilize a dedicated smoker box designed for gas grills, as explained in our smoking on a gas grill guide.

Can I use wood chips in an electric smoker?

Yes, you can use wood chips in an electric smoker. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adding the chips to the smoker box.

How long should I soak wood chips before using them?

We don’t recommend soaking wood chips. When you soak wood chips, they steam before they smoke, which isn’t the flavor you want. We recommend dry chips right in a smoker box or foil packet directly on the grill grates for the best flavor.

How often should I add wood chips while smoking?

Fresh wood chips will need to be added every 25 to 45 minutes, depending on how hot you’re running your grill. Simply prep several foil packets ahead of time and just add them as needed to keep the smoke rolling.

Can I reuse wood chips for multiple smoking sessions?

You could, but chances are if you were cooking long enough to smoke, your wood chips are burnt and won’t impart much flavor if reused. Use the old woodchips as kindling the next time you light up your charcoal grill.

What flavors do different wood chips impart on the food?

Different wood chips impart unique flavors to the food. For example, hickory offers a strong and robust smoke flavor, while fruitwoods like applewood provide a sweet and delicate aroma.

Can I mix different types of wood chips for smoking?

Yes, you can mix different types of wood chips to create customized flavors. Experiment with combinations like apple and cherry or mesquite and oak to find your preferred blend. Our favorite combo is hickory and cherry for smoked pork ribs or pecan and apple for smoked turkey.

Are there any safety precautions I should follow when using wood chips?

When using wood chips, ensure proper ventilation to prevent excessive smoke buildup, and always follow grilling safety guidelines when handling fire and hot surfaces. If the chips catch fire, use long tongs to move them to the cooler side of the grill and keep a spray bottle of water nearby to spritz them if necessary.

Which types of wood chips are best for smoking different meats?

Any or all of them, but this is a question of personal tastes. Different types of smoking wood, such as hickory, mesquite, and applewood, offer distinct flavors that pair well with specific meats, allowing you to create a variety of delicious smoked dishes.


2022 State of the BBQ Industry via: HPBA

Share of grill ownership in the United States in 2020, by the type of grill via Statista

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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