Turning Your Propane Grill Into A Smoker

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  March 19, 2022

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It is no longer necessary to limit the use of propane barbecues to the production of steaks and burgers.

It is possible to recreate the slow and low heat of a normal smoker and make great slow-smoked meat by following a few simple steps and using a few basic ingredients.

It may also be used as a plain turkey smoker, apart from that function.

But how do you turn your propane grill into a smoker?

Turning Your Propane Grill Into A Smoker

If you are new to the world of smokers this can seem a daunting task, and one few people seem keen to help you with.

You search and search, but you can’t seem to find the answers that you need.

Well, no more! Today we are here to help. Keep reading for a complete guide that will walk you through turning your propane grill into a smoker.

When following our advice today, be sure to check with the manual or manufacturer of your grill to ensure that any changes you make will not void a warranty or impact the grill in any way.

Let’s get into the article!

Turning Your Propane Grill Into A Smoker

So how do you turn your propane grill into a smoker? Well, read on to find out.

You first need to establish your heat sources and prepare your grill for indirect cooking by using side burners to get things started on the grill.

To ensure that your meat does not get overheated when cooking at a low and moderate temperature (225-250°F), avoid exposing it to direct heat from the stovetop burner.

Grilling is the word used to describe this method of preparation.

To turn your propane grill into a smoker, we have five steps for you to follow below.

Set Up Your Gas Grill

With the burners turned on (or off), you may create hot and cold zones on your table as you see fit.

For example, if your propane grill has four burners, start by turning on burners 1 and 2 or burners 3 and 4 to begin the grill going!

The fact that it creates a single point of heat makes it possible to cook your meat on the colder side of the grill without it being charred.

In a propane cooker with just three burners, set the burner closest to the left (or right) side to high and the center burner to medium or low on the control panel to get the appropriate temperature.

To turn off the stove, turn off the last burner.

In addition to saving time by creating a chilly zone, placing the meat directly over the offset burner also saves time.

Water Pan

Once you’ve identified your heat sources, you may go on to the next step of the setup.

Another item you’ll need is a disposable aluminum pan filled with water, which will help to keep the grill’s generally dry environment moist, as well as wood chips, which will provide a delicious smoky flavor to your meat.

The stickiness and sensitivity of the surface of the meat to smoking, as well as the flavor of the meat, are enhanced in a humid atmosphere.

Starting with the grill grates, take them out of the grill.

Pour half-filled water into a disposable aluminum pan and set it on top of the protective heat deflectors that have previously been constructed.

Wood Chip Packet

Place the wood pieces next to the water pan (here’s why) and as close to the fire as you can without igniting them or causing them to burn.

Fold aluminum foil over the pieces of wood or wood chips you’re using and poke a few holes in the top to enable smoke to escape more easily.

This will assist in preventing flare-ups from developing.

Depending on the size of the pieces, the best course of action is to sandwich the wood between the heat deflectors in the hot zone of the furnace or boiler, as shown in the illustration.

Tracking The Temperature

After the water, pan, and wood pieces have been prepared, reinstall the grill grates and relight the burners in your selected hot zone to begin cooking.

Allow enough time for the grill to achieve its working temperature before using it.

According to your target smoking temperature, which should be between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit (107 and 121 degrees Celsius), this might take anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes.

Make any necessary adjustments to your settings to get the required temperature.

Whatever you do, avoid testing the inside temperature of your grill with the dome thermometer that came with it from the manufacturer (now smoker).

Using The Probe Properly

In addition, it is crucial to remember that the position of the probe is critical for proper temperature monitoring.

Place the sensor no more than one inch from the surface of the meat you’re cooking on larger grill surfaces to prevent overcooking the meat on those surfaces.

As a result, it is possible to do direct temperature monitoring on the surface of the meat.

When cooking on smaller grill surfaces where the meat takes up the lion’s share of the cooking area, keep the probe no closer than one inch from the smoker’s wall.

You may keep track of the internal temperature of the meat by using a probe thermometer that you leave in the meat.

Final Thoughts

While a gas grill cannot compete with the best specialty gas smokers and the flavor of a gas grill is inferior to that of a wood-fired or charcoal grill, the results produced by a gas grill are nonetheless excellent.

Making the switch from a gas grill to a smoker is more challenging than you would think.

Additionally, the learning curve will be steeper than it would be with a specialized smoker to get fantastic results, which is a negative.

The first step in determining the temperatures generated by your grill under a range of weather situations and burner settings is to familiarize yourself with it.

Another decision is whether to utilize wood to make smoke or whether to construct a water pan to aid in temperature control, both of which must be done in a cooker that was not built to generate smoke or maintain a consistent temperature.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.