To grill outside with the family can be a lot of fun especially when you have a tough day at work. During the summer, when you have friends and family over, grilling up that delicious meat and veggies in your backyard using a gas grill can save valuable time and provide comfort.
Although the traditional charcoal grill is a thing of the past, many people still prefer it because of its smoky flavor. While grilling in a traditional grill the burning charcoal gives off a smoky & burnt flavor to the food which enhances its taste.
The same cannot be said for a propane gas grill since it has ceramic or metal slabs that cover the flame preventing the smoke from getting to the food while grilling. But there are still ways by which you can add smoke to your gas grills to get that smoky flavor and cook delish meals at ease.
In this article, we’ll be discussing why you need a gas grill, and how you can get a smoky flavor in your food while using it.
Why Do You Need a Gas Grill?
If you love to barbeque and enjoy a healthy grilled meal with your friends and family but do not always have the time and energy to light up the charcoal and get the grill running then a propane or gas grill is the one for you.
Traditional charcoal grills have their own perks and advantages but also have a certain health factor involved. They usually put up a lot of smoke that can harm people having asthma and breathing issues. That’s why propane gas grills can be a fruitful alternative to charcoal grills.
When it comes to cooking outdoors, choosing the right gas grill and griddle goes a long way. To enhance your grilling experience, it’s important to choose the right equipment and griddles. Before starting your outdoor grilling, whether you are surrounded by nature or is in your backyard, you have to know what to use and how to use them.
Advantages of Using a Gas Grill
Even though many people still prefer the traditional charcoal grills more than the modern gas grills, constantly going through the hassle to light up the charcoal, preheat it, and monitor the temperature is a lot to take in. Especially during the winter, when it is twice more difficult to light up the charcoal and get the grill running.
Produces Less Smoke
A charcoal grill gives off a burnt flavor to the food that comes from wood chips but that also creates a lot of smoke. On the other hand, a gas grill gives off a crispy bacon-like taste to the grilled food while producing less smoke.
Another advantage of a gas grill is that it creates more steam which gives the meat more moisture while grilling.
A gas grill usually takes around 10 minutes to heat up. Once it is heated, you can control the overall temperature of the grill according to your requirements. Unlike the charcoal grill, it runs on gas; so, it can be used even on a rainy day.
Easy to Clean
In the traditional charcoal grill, the charcoal takes a long time to put off once it’s lit up. Sometimes, the ashes become too stubborn and stick to the surface of the grill which takes time to remove.
On the other hand, a propane or gas grill is much easier to clean since it has a built-in ashtray which is easily removable and washable.
Safer to Use
A charcoal grill can sometimes be very dangerous to use. The broken-down pieces of charcoal can burn your hand and the ashes can get inside your body by breathing causing severe injuries to your health.
When using it outdoors, the charcoal can get ignited by strong winds causing unexpected fires. But propane gas grills come with a lot of safety measures and are not susceptible to wind. That’s why they are much safer to use than their charcoal counterparts.
Charcoal grills surely cost less but overall cost increases once you add up fuel, lighters, blowtorch, and other related equipment costs.
Gas grills have different mechanisms and hence they are a bit more complex than charcoal grills. But even with all the complex mechanisms, these are available at a reasonable price.
How to Add Smoke on a Propane Gas Grill?
There are smokers, which are specifically designed to give off smoked flavor through wood smoldering .. Even charcoal grills provide the same results. But gas grills, in general, are not meant for smoking; they don’t give off that charred flavor.
This happens mainly due to the wide venting in gas grills that allows the smoke to escape. Gas grills are made to create light and short-lasting smoke, preventing it from giving off that smoky flavor.
However, there are some ways to add smoke to your gas grill to make it a healthy and smoky grilled meal. For that, you will need a few things —
• Wood chunks or smoking chips
• Wood chips smoker box
• Wood pellets smoker
• A smoker tube
• Heavy-duty aluminum foil
• Fork or knife
Get the Right Wood Smoking Chips
Different wood chips impart a different smoky flavor to your grilled food. There is a wide range of wood chips available in the market, starting from hickory, apple, oak to mesquite, and cherry.
Oak and hickory wood chips are suitable for most food items and are great for beginners to use. Apple, pecan, and cherry wood chips are suitable for poultry, fish, and veggies. Mesquite is most suitable for smoking a beef brisket.
Soak the Wood Chips in Water
You have to soak the wood smoking chips in a bowl of water for at least 30 to 60 mins. This helps increase the amount of smoke the chips will create. This also saves the wood smoking chips from lighting on fire and burning out too quickly.
Put the Wood Chips in Smoker Box or Aluminum Foil
Some of the expensive gas grills have a built-in smoker tube. After soaking and straining the wood chips, put them in the smoker tube. If your gas grill doesn’t have a smoker built-in, you can use an external wood chips smoker box, a wood pellet smoker, or an aluminum foil.
Around 1 cup (240 ml) of wood chips per smoker box gets the job done for most grills. These chips will mostly burn out within 30 mins of grilling, so make sure to change them every half an hour or so.
When using a heavy-duty aluminum foil, place the wood chips in the center of a 12″ by 16″ inch aluminum sheet and close it up. Make a few holes using a fork or knife in the foil so that the smoke can escape while grilling.
Preheat the Grill
You have to preheat your grill and make sure the temperature stays between 225°F to 300°F for 10 to 15 mins. If the temperature crosses 300°F, your food will lose its flavor or, worse, get burnt.
Preheating the grill is necessary as it helps smolder the wood chips to create smoke. While the grill heats up, you can brush some oil over the griddles, but make sure to use a stainless steel grill brush.
Place the Smoker Box or Aluminum Foil on the Cooking Grate
After your grill is heated up, it is time to add the wood chips filled smoker box or aluminum foil on the cooking grate. If you are using a smoker box, it’s vital to get the “heavy-duty stainless steel” one that can withstand the grill’s heat.
You have to put the smoker box or aluminum foil on one corner of the cooking grate to maximize smoke penetration into the food.
Start Cooking with Indirect Heat
You have to put the food in the middle of the cooking grate on top of the burners and close the lid. After you see smoke, turn off the burners on the side where the food is kept.
Set the burners in low temperature on the other side where the wood chips are placed, and close the lid. The indirect heat of the smoke will cook your food and give the smoke enough time to infuse into the food.
Once you close the lid, try not to open it too often, as it will release the smoke inside. To keep the moisture of the food item intact you can add a water tray to the grill.
After a long and tiring day at work, we all want to have a nice and delish grilled meal. Whether it be ordering takeout or setting up the barbeque grill in the backyard, we are always eager to spend some quality time with our family.
Having a propane or gas grill around can really help, and also save valuable time. Even if you don’t have a charcoal grill or smoker, grilling your favorite food and getting that smoky flavor will never be out of your reach.
As long as you’re being safe by following the above steps, you can grill your food and get your desired smoky flavor anytime you want.