Spreetail Blog

How to Turn Your Grill Into a Smoker

Your Guide to Smoking Food Without a Smoker


by Kaiti Hill
Feb 26, 2019

Fresh off the coals – we’ve got news for you: you don’t need a smoker to smoke food. With a gas or charcoal grill and a few extra supplies, you can try your hand at smoking meat, fish, poultry, and more.  

First Steps  

Whether you’re working with a gas grill or a charcoal grill, you’ll need some wood pellets. There’re a wide variety of hardwood pellets out there ranging from hickory to apple. Choose your favorite – preferably something that will complement what you’re cooking.  

Once you have your pellets, you’ll need to decide if you want to soak them. Soaking your pellets is a surprisingly controversial topic. Some smoking gurus swear by it and others pass on it.   

While your pellets soak, fire up your grill. The ideal temperature range for smoking falls roughly between 220 and 250 degrees. Heating up your grill while your pellets soak will give it time to reach the right temperature.  

How to Turn a Charcoal Grill into a Smoker 

Now that your grill is heated up and your pellets are soaked and ready to roll, turning your charcoal grill into a smoker is simple. Place the pellets directly onto the hot coals (under the grate), and you’ll be good to go.  

How to Turn a Gas Grill into a Smoker 

To turn your gas grill into a smoker, you’ll need a smoker box. You have 2 options here, you can DIY it or purchase a smoker box like this one.  

The DIY Way

To make your own makeshift smoker box, you’ll need aluminum foil and a disposable aluminum pan – bread-sized works best. Fill the pan with the damp pellets and cover it with the aluminum foil. Once the pan is covered, you’ll want to cut or poke holes on the top. This will allow the smoke to escape and infuse your food with that signature smoky flavor. Place the pellet-filled pan atop the grill grates and voila – you’ve got a smoker.  

The Store-Bought Option

Store-bought smoker boxes are similar to the DIY version and even easier to use. All you have to do is fill your smoker box with pellets and place it under the grill grates. Smoker boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the Bull Outdoor V-Shaped Smoker Box is by far our favorite. Its unique shape allows it to fit with nearly any gas grill.  

Connect with our experts 24/7 at 833-777-3382, [email protected], or chat us down below to learn more about turning your grill into a smoker. Be the first to know about new products and can’t-miss promotions by signing up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page.