How To Use Kettle Grill To Smoke Food


Grilling in the backyard with a kettle grill will always have a special flavor that you just can’t get using an electric or gas grill. Typically, you’ll have plenty of smoky flavors just by adding a bit of hickory or applewood sticks to your charcoal. When it comes to smoking meat using traditional and untraditional methods, you can still get that smoked flavor using a few nifty tricks you might not have heard about.

What Makes A Kettle Grill Work As A Smoker?

Man preparing kettle grill work as a smoker

Everybody knows that a kettle grill is perfectly shaped to circulate heat which is perfect for cooking burgers and various foods on the grill. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a smoke flavor since charcoal burns a lot cleaner than wood does. Charcoal also burns at such a high temperature that it makes sense to open the airflow vents to control cooking temperatures if you intend to do any smoking within your grill.

Create a Direct and Indirect Cooking Zone

This is why you’ll need to add wood chips that are sometimes soaked beforehand so the wood itself lasts longer and gives off low levels of smoke as it burns on top of hot coals. To make a kettle grill work as a smoker, you also need to separate the grilling space into two sections. One section is going to be the direct heat and the opposite side is reserved as the indirect cooking side.

This makes it possible to slow cook food that isn’t sitting right over a heat source and will allow you to smoke food for longer periods while food is being cooked. On the opposite side of your grill, you also need to add a shallow container that will act as a container for catching food drips but also holds a small amount of water so your kettle grill isn’t too dry. As the water gets warm from the heat, it slowly evaporates water, keeping humidity balanced. You could pick up a device called a Slow ‘N Sear which is a pan you can place in your kettle grill which will partition your grill perfectly and it makes a great gift idea for anyone who loves to grill.

What If You Don’t Have A Kettle Grill?

Smoke tube On Grill

It’s not always a big problem if you don’t have a kettle grill or a standard backyard grill for that matter. If you don’t BBQ that much, you’re likely one of a growing number of people who don’t own one of these items. With the growing trend toward ordering food from online restaurants, it’s often a choice of what seems more convenient. That doesn’t mean some actually like cooking and getting that home-cooked BBQ flavor!

Generating Smoke

If you do own a kettle grill or covered grill, you can use a method that is getting pretty popular among BBQ enthusiasts. It’s so simple and also a practical way for most folks to get a smoky flavor while they cook on their grill. This item is called a smoke tube and usually looks like a weird-looking cheese grater. It’s a metal tube with small holes all over the surface so smoke can come out as wood pellets slowly burn.

These smoke tubes also come in a variety of shapes so they fit right on top of your grill surface. Even if you’ve cooked something in your kitchen oven, you can use a smoke tube inside an outdoor grill and cold smoke meals in less than 10-15 minutes but can allow for periods to last up to 6 hours or more. This is especially handy when you want to smoke cheese you’ve bought or sausages that you’ve made recently.

The best part is that a smoke tube will even work in a standard gas grill so those smoke flavors are part of your BBQ experience. If you’ve ordered food online that doesn’t have the right amount of smoky taste you enjoy so much, it can also be smoked just as easily with a smoker tube for a few minutes -or longer… If you don’t have a kettle grill you can modify an outdoor pizza oven or bread oven so it works as a smoker.

As long as you can place your food inside an area where it can be smoked for a short time, this won’t be an issue. The best place to do any smoking is always going to be on your BBQ grill as long as there’s some kind of lid that can cover the top so you don’t lose all that flavorful smoke.

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