How to Smoke Like a Pro in Your Gas Grill

How to smoke like a pro in your gas grill

Put away the bottled sauce and prepackaged rub and smoke some barbeque old school style! It takes a bit of time, but it's worth it for tender, tasty, zesty competition quality meats. Best of all, with our “Cheater's Smoke” you won't need any special gizmos or smokers, just your regular gas grill.

Use your own BBQ recipes or try our favorites below.

Texas Style BBQ Rub

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika or good chili power
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 4 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Combine all ingredients.

Kansas City BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed

In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, celery seed, cumin, red pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, coriander seed and cayenne pepper (if used). Mix well. In a large bowl, combine ketchup, vinegar, liquid smoke, and lemon juice. Add dry ingredients and mix until well blended.

Memphis Mop

In a bowl, mix 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of beer or water and 1/4 cup of the rub.

Ten Steps to Smokin' Like the Pros

  • Rub meats liberally with the rub the night before, or at least a few hours in advance.
  • Use an oven thermometer on the gas grill surface. (A thermometer built into the grill cover usually measures the temperature on the cover, not where the food is cooking.)
  • Start early and start hot: Preheat the gas grill to 400 degrees and lower the temp as soon as the grill is loaded. Don't sauce at the beginning; the sugar in sauce can burn. See below for cooking times.
  • Cheater's Smoke: Place wet wood chips on 3-4 sheets of aluminum foil, then wrap into separate tight packets. Punch lots of holes in one side of each packet with a fork. Add the first packet when you start preheating the grill and add a new packet every 30 minutes or so for the first two hours.
  • Indirect heat is what you need, so use only one burner for heat and put the food where the fire is NOT.
  • Once you have the grill loaded, wait 10-15 minutes, then dial the burner you are using up or down until your thermometer reads between 225 and 250 degrees at the grill surface. Check the temperature when you open the cover to mop or add wood chips.
  • Each time you add a new wood chip packet, quickly brush the food with the mopping liquid. After two hours, just mop.
  • “If you're looking, you aren't cooking.” Keep cover closed unless it's time to add wood chips or mop.
  • For ribs or chicken, you can brush sauce on for the last 30-45 minutes. For other meats, we advise adding the sauce when the meat is done.
  • Estimated times and temps for competition quality barbeque:
    • Back ribs: 3.5-4 hours (185 degrees)
    • Spare ribs: 4.5-5 hours (190 degrees
    • Chicken: 3.5-4 hours (180 degrees)
    • Brisket or whole pork shoulder: 8-12 hours (195 degrees)

TIP: To feed the hungry masses a little faster, simply raise the grill temperature during cooking by about 75 degrees to 300-325 degrees. You'll cut these times about in half, and you'll still be a BBQ champ to your family and friends.

Looking to get a new grill or repair the one you have? Check out our selection of outdoor grills and grill parts, or read our helpful article to get your grill in tip top shape.