Many people enjoy the full, delicious flavor of food that has been smoked. It is also a common misconception that you have to own a smoker to get that same flavor. Buying liquid smoke to use when grilling is also a popular tactic to try to achieve the same smokiness, but the only way to get real smoked meat is to smoke it. However, a smoker isn’t always required. All you really need is some good quality wood chips and a Weber gas grill.
Smoking food on a gas grill isn’t the most popular method, and many people still don’t know exactly how to do it. One of the most important things to remember when getting ready to smoke food on a Weber gas grill is to soak the wood chips. Proper wood chips will be full of flavor and not green, and they should be soaked in water half an hour to an hour before you plan to start the smoking process.
The Weber grills usually come with a smoker attachment that is filled with water and the wood chips to provide smoke to the food. If your Weber does not have the smoker attachment, it is possible to purchase a separate smoker box. You can also improvise with two foil pans placed on the Flavorizer Bars, one filled with water and the other filled with the woods chips that you have selected for use.
When you are ready to begin the smoking process, make sure the water and the woods chips are in place. The woods chips should always be added when the grill is still cool, so that they will properly provide the smoke needed to cook the food. Preheat the grill and make sure the wood chips are properly smoking before adding any food. This usually takes 15-25 minutes to get the grill preheated with all the burners turned on high. When you are ready to begin cooking, turn off the center burners and only leave the outer ones lit. This will cook the food using indirect heat, which is essential when smoking on a gas grill. The food should be placed in the center of the grill, over the portion of the grill that is no longer lit.
Once the food is placed in the correct position and the lid is closed, do not look inside every few minutes. Smoking food can often take several hours depending on the thickness and the type of meat being smoked. Every time the lid is opened, the heat built up inside is allowed to escape, which can add up to an additional half hour of cooking time to the meat. Instead, check the food about once an hour. This is when the food can be checked for doneness and also how often the food should be basted with any sauces or juices. The wood chips will also appear to shrink once the smoking process is well under way. Resist the urge to add additional wood chips too often, as this can disrupt the taste of the food you are attempting to smoke and sometimes add a bitter taste to the meat. Additional wood chips can be added once an hour, but do not overdo it. Only add as many as are needed to keep the smoke going.
When checking the meat for doneness, beginner smokers will definitely need to use a meat thermometer. Meat that has been smoked cannot be judged in the same way that regular grilled or cooked meats are judged. While grilled meats are judged by the amount of pink still in the center of the cut, meats that have been smoked often can have a pink or red tint because of the type of wood chips being used. A meat thermometer is the only accurate way to judge for doneness.
Smoking can be a very pleasant experience and can add a wonderful taste to food. It is a great way to experiment with cooking, and is definitely a trial-and-error experience. The important thing to remember is to keep trying and to keep experimenting with different wood chip flavors with different cuts of meat until you find the perfect combination of meat and chips on your Weber grill.