how to use a smoker box

How to Use a Smoker Box in Different Grills?

Yes, gas grills are the winner when it comes to convenience, and we don’t want to argue about that. However, if you don’t have a gas grill smoker box, it will be a near-impossible thing to smoke with a gas grill. Although people tend to buy smoker boxes in order to smoke with gas grills, many don’t know how to start a fire in a smoker box. If this sounds like your situation, don’t worry, we are here to bring you a comprehensive guide on how to use a smoker box with a gas grill. Let’s get started.


What is a Smoker Box?

Before we jump into smoker box instructions, let’s define a smoker box in the first place. Simply put, it is a container to smoke meat with wood chips to get smoky flavors to the food you cook. You would put wood chips into the smoker box and place it over the fire in order to generate smoke to inject smoky flavor into the food. 

Usually, this is a steel container, and smoker boxes come in different sizes to choose from depending on the size of your grill as well as your need. With a smoke box, you can prevent wood chips from burning away quickly, allowing time for them to smoke for an extended period of time.

Many think smoker boxes are only for gas grills as gas-powered machines don’t have the ability to generate smoke like charcoal grills, but that is not 100% true. These additional compartments are pretty versatile, and you can use them regardless of the type of grill. If you are a rookie BBQ enthusiast, we recommend you try a small smoker box first to get a firm hold on the process.

how to use smoker box on charcoal grill

How to Use a Smoker Box?

Let us explain to you how to use a stainless steel smoker box on different types of BBQ grills.

How to Use Smoker Box for Gas Grill?

So, you have a smoker box for gas grill, but how to use it? Let’s get going. With a smoker box on a gas grill, you would use it for indirect cooking, which means you are using only one side of the gas grill with the smoker box. 

More often than not, it’s enough to use only one of the burners of your machine. However, if you feel the heat is insufficient, you can turn on another burner to get the temperature you expect

To start with, first preheat your gas grill and switch on all the available burners on the gas grill. Now, fill the smoker box with whatever wood chips you prefer and keep the box over the burner/s that is currently switched on. 

When you notice smoke, add the food to the grill and add wood chips as and when needed to the smoker box. The temperature on the grill should be somewhere around 250°F, and the internal temperature of the meat has to be at 160°F. 

How to Use Smoker Box on Charcoal Grill?

Next, how to add a smoker box to grill that is powered by charcoal? Unlike gas grills, you can use a smoker box for both direct and indirect cooking. Here is the process.

The first step is to load the smoker with wood chips. However, make sure not to overload the container as it will act as a barrier to generating more smoke. Next, light the charcoal grill as you would normally do. Then place the wood chips filled smoker box on the burning charcoal. The smoker box should now be right under the grates of your grill.

The wood chips inside the smoker box should start to make the smoke after about 10-15 minutes. Now, as you can assume, place the food you cook on the grill and close the lid of the machine. It would be perfect for keeping the food right over the smoker box to get more flavors.

Once the internal temperature of the meat hits 160°F, remove it from the grill, let it sit for 5-10 minutes and enjoy. 

how to use smoker box for gas grill

How to Use a Smoker Box on an Electric Grill?

Most contemporary electric grilling machines have a chamber to add wood or charcoal into them, but this is hardly the truth when it comes to older versions of gas grills. However, using a wood chip smoker box on an old electric grill is a possibility. Here is how you do it. That said, you will have to possess the right size of a smoker box for the job. Else, type “DIY smoker box for wood chips” on the internet, and you will find ample guides to build one for yourself.

Anyway, let’s figure out how to start a fire in a smoker box on an electric grill. Given you have the right size smoker box with you, the first thing you have to do is, fill it with wood chips and place the smoker box inside the grill. 

Now, preheat the grill to 225°F. Once your machine gets to 225°F, the smoker box will start to generate smoke allowing you to place the meat on the grill and apply the smoke right from the word go. When you use a smoker box, it is more or less the same as a gas grill. You should opt for indirect cooking, and as we did in the previous two methods, get the meat out of the grill once the internal temp hits 160°F.

How to Use a Smoker Box on a Pellet Grill?

It’s nothing different to how you did it with a charcoal grill. All you have to do is fill the smoker box with wood chips and place it on the grates. After you turn on the pellet grill, the wood chips in the smoker box will start to smolder and dispense smoke. 

how to use a smoker box

Smoker Box Care and Maintenance Tips

Do these if you want to make your smoker box last longer to get the authentic smoky flavor you want in every bite. 

  • Thoroughly clean the inside of the box after every use. Use a solution that is powerful enough to remove residue and ensure you store it after the box is fully dried. Else, you will have to deal with rust issues and look for a new one. 
  • Rust is the biggest enemy of a smoker box. When you season the grill, we recommend you season the smoker box as well in order to keep the enemy at bay. Also, ensure you store the smoker indoors in a cool, dry place.
  • Inspect the box when you are not using it for longer periods and execute what is required. 


With that, we end our guide on how to use a smoker box on different types of BBQ grills. By now, you should understand that you don’t have to own a smoker to get a smoky flavor to the food you cook. A simple smoker box would be more than enough, and you don’t have to be a pro to apply some tasty smoky flavor to the meat. So, love your smoker box as you do with your grill and let us have your opinion on this article in the comment section. Have a great day!

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