Buyer's Guide Table of Contents
Last Update: February, 2020
Everybody loves that authentic, smoky barbecue flavor. But it isn't always easy to get with your standard grill. While some grills do come with built-in smokers, these are more often than not specialty models. So what about the casual grillmaster that still wants that woody, smokey flavor?
Smoker boxes are an addition you can put on just about any grill for when you want to really get a BBQ cookout going. The best smoker boxes aren’t always easy to find, but this guide will take you through the top smoker boxes out there.
Charcoal Companion Stainless Steel Smoker Box
This smoker box makes it easy to add in wood chips. It’s durable, efficient, and high quality.
Char-Broil Cast Iron Smoker Box
This cast iron smoker gives your grill more flavor. You'll love how user-friendly it is.
Cave Tools Smoker Box
The Cave Tools smoker box is thicker and more durable than other smoker boxes. It even comes with barbecue recipes.
BBQ Smoker Box
This smoker box gives you more flavor, and smoke by design. The vents deliver that ideal BBQ flavor.
Grillaholics Smoker Box
The Grillaholics smoker box was designed for barbecue fans. With a hinged lid, it’s easy to open and get started.
More About The Charcoal Companion Stainless Steel Smoker Box
Gas grills are definitely convenient, but they can leave you wanting in the flavor department. If you’ve considered changing up your grill style to add a little extra something to your cookouts, you don’t need to get a new grill. This Charcoal smoker box is an ideal solution for gas grill owners that find themselves missing that smokey flavor.
It's constructed of high-quality stainless steel and designed to find perfectly with gas grills. The smoker box has a V-shaped design which allows it to slip right between the flame deflector bars. Don't worry about having to clean up a big mess afterward either; this smoker box keeps all the ashes contained, and out of your grill.
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More About The Char-Broil Cast Iron Smoker Box
This smoker box is a standout from the heavy duty, cast iron construction, to the vent layout, to the budget-friendly price point. For a smoker box that proves you don't have to sacrifice quality to get a good grill accessory without breaking the bank, look no further.
The vents are designed to make smoke flow toward your food, right where you want it. It does have a simple appearance, but it’s effective, and a quality piece you’ll be able to use for years to come.
Whatever kind of grill you already have, this smoker box fits the bill. You don’t need to worry about the wood chip catching fire, or getting a mess everywhere, this smoker is made to give you peace of mind. Even better, when the cast iron gets ‘seasoned’ you’ll really taste the authentic flavor jump out.
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More About The Cave Tools Smoker Box
The Cave Tools smoker box is a heavy duty piece; in fact, it’s about 25% thicker than other smoker boxes, which means it’ll stand up to even the highest heat and resist warping. That also means that it’s going to give you a lot more use, and it’ll last longer too. Since it’s also designed to prevent the wood chips from actually burning, that also means that you’ll never have to bother with soaking wood chips again.
It gives off more smoke than a lot of smoker boxes, and that’s partially due to the larger wood chip capacity (which also helps save time, since you don’t have to add more very often), as well as the vent design.
You also get access to a collection of barbecue recipes, and the company’s special app, which gives you a ton of resources: from a recipe community, to cooking guides for anything you could want to grill, to special timers to help you keep track of your cookout.
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More About The BBQ Smoker Box
You’re going to notice how different this smoker box looks from others. While it does have a bold, modern look about it, don’t be fooled into thinking this is anything but a serious smoker box.
The vents are designed in a rectangular X pattern, which helps direct smoke to your food, and allows for more smoke to pour through (which, of course, is how you get that standout smokey flavor). This lid doesn’t have a hinge closure, instead, it has a lid that you can move to get more or less smoke.
Since this smoker box is made of thicker steel, you can get it closer to your heat source (which means you get the smoke started faster too), but without worrying about it getting warped or weakened. If you want cookouts that everybody raves about, without having to get a new grill, this could be the smoker box that changes everything.
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More About The Grillaholics Smoker Box
This is the ultimate smoker box, designed for grill masters, by grill masters. This smoker box is designed to last where others get worn and warped or brittle. Not only that, you can use this with pretty much any charcoal or gas grill, so you can even bring it to your neighbour's cookout.
Anybody can use this smoker box and look like a pro, especially thanks to the easy open hinged lid, and extra wood chip capacity. That means you can get started in a flash, and keep going without having to change out wood chips.
Grillaholics is committed to making the best grill experience in all their products, and it's nice to see a small, family-owned company producing smoker boxes on par with the pros. They guarantee total satisfaction or a refund, so you can be confident you're getting the right smoker box.
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How A Smoker Box Works on Gas Grills
Smoker boxes allow gas grill owners to get a nice smoky flavor, but how do they work? A smoker box needs to be filled with wood chips; these will smolder and smoke as you cook, and the smoke rising on the food you’re grilling produces the smokey flavor.
Depending on what you’re cooking, you can choose from a variety of types of wood chips to develop the exact flavor you want. The smoker box is then placed above the burners (but below the grates), and the wood is heated enough to smolder.
You may have to experiment a little with the amount of heat you use; remember, the goal is to get smoldering chips, not flaming ones. Because of this, many people soak wood chips before using them in a smoker box. Some smoker boxes are designed to work without soaking wood chips, so check the manufacturer’s instructions before use.
How To Choose The Best
The ideal smoker box is large enough to accommodate a reasonable amount of wood chips. If your smoker box is too small, it will need to be refilled frequently in order to smoke its contents for long enough.
Not only is this inconvenient, but the best smoky flavor is born from the smoker box’s lid being closed; this cannot be achieved if you’re constantly opening the lid to refill your smoker box.
Easy to clean
Meat is notorious for its fat contents. This being said, when meat is smoked, it's bound to release fat drippings. These droppings can end up inside of your smoker, so owning a smoker that is easy to clean is a must. For anyone who is serious about smoking meat, having a smoker box that is hard to take apart and reassemble just won't do.
This means that you should look for a smoker box that, in addition to having an easy-to-clean design, is also coated with a non-stick coating. The presence of this coating makes it easier for you to remove fat drippings should they come in contact with the smoker box.
Most of the time, you’ll only have to worry about this aspect if your smoker box is designed for use below the cooking grate of your smoker.
As with any high-heat cooking device, a good smoker box should always be made with a durable, high-quality metal such as stainless steel or cast iron. The material should be thick. Thin or otherwise low-quality materials can lead to warping, distortion, rust, and, essentially, you replacing your smoker box shortly after getting it.
A smoker box made with good materials should be able to withstand frequent use for years.
Generally, smoker boxes come equipped with one of two lids tyles: hinged or lift-off, the latter being a lid that is fully removable. Neither option is necessarily better however, the lid your smoker box sports should give you easy access to its contents. It should also be tight-fitting.
Although smoker boxes are rarely seen and serve a pretty basic function, they still come in a number of different styles. Mostly, these styles vary in terms of shape. Some may be round or slightly rounded/oval, while others might be traditional box-shaped smoker boxes. The style you choose will depend on your preference, budget, and grill
More often than not, unbranded items are just as good as their brand name counterparts. Although, they often also lack good warranties and other assurance measures. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to opt for a well-known brand name smoker box. Brand named smoker boxes is more likely to have generous warranties.
How To Use A Smoker Box With A Gas Grill
Harnessing a smoky flavor on your BBQ is a relatively easy process. The entire smoking process should only make up part of your meat's cooking time, as after the meat reaches a certain point it doesn't absorb any more smoke. This is why it's important to have a good level of smoke going before you put your meat on the grill and to ensure that your meat goes in the cold.
In addition, you should see only white smoke coming out of your smoker box. If you see anything else -billowy and thick, or blacks, it's a sign of something going wrong.
To use a smoker box on a gas grill, there are a few basic steps that most grills and smoker boxes adhere to. They are:
1. Position the smoker box on the grill. Turn your grill on and allow the smoker box to heat up.
2. Using kitchen tongs or another long utensil, flip open or remove the box's lid.
3. Carefully fill the box with wood chips. Do not overfill. Depending on your personal preference and the directions of your smoker box, these wood chips may or may not be soaked before placing them in the box. However, soaked wood chips will take longer to start producing smoke so dry chips are usually recommended.
4. Promptly close your BBQ lid so that the wood chips will begin to heat up. It's a good idea to turn the temperature up to high to encourage the internal temperature to rise.
5. Within a few minutes, the temperature will have risen. Generally, this takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Before opening the lid again, be sure that you can see signs of smoke.
6. At the first signs of smoke, it's safe to open the grill. Once you see the smoke you can turn your grill to normal cooking temperatures. The inside temperatures should stay hot enough to produce smoke for the entirety of the cooking process, so long as you don't open the BBQ more than once or twice.
7. Place your meat, vegetables, and any other food that you wish to transform into a smoky masterpiece on the grill. Allow it to cook, as usual, taking care to carefully remove the food once it has finished cooking.
How To Use A Smoker Box With A Gas Grill
Wood size matters
Wood, as you know, comes in a variety of sizes. This being said, wood that is used for smoking does, too. Most commonly, it comes in three types: chips, chunks, and logs. Chips are ideal for use when you don’t need a long smoking time, as they light quickly but tend to burn out pretty fast.
Chunks are a good idea to use when you're making something that requires a long, slow smoke such as brisket or ribs. Chunks that are fist-sized or slightly smaller will burn for hours inside of a smoker.
Logs are the least popular wood option, however, they can still be used and often are. They’re used for smoking inside of pits and are ideal for covering large areas. They’re usually full-sized pieces and when lit, will produce both smoke and heat.
Reducing oxygen increases smoking and reduces burning
Depending on the type of wood you choose to use, it will reach smoking at temperatures between 570 and 750 degrees Fahrenheit. When you burn wood, more heat than smoke is produced. To bring the flame down and the level of smoke up, you need to lower the levels of oxygen inside of your grill smoker box.
A great way to do this is by using a metal smoker box. They work to restrict the oxygen flow to the wood and prevent it from catching flame.
Soaking is not necessary
Smoking enthusiasts have warned about the consequences of failing to soak wood chips for years. Although, technically, soaking is not necessary. In fact, most professionals warn against it.
Why? Well, soaked wood chips take longer to produce adequate smoke. They slow cooking down and are prone to creating steam. If soaking your wood chips is a habit or your personal preference, be sure not to soak your chips for longer than 1 hour.
There’s something special about the light, smoky flavor of a perfectly barbecued rack of ribs, burger, or brisket. Whether it’s the unique taste or the world-wide love of the craft, there are millions of smoked meals cooked each year.
When buying a smoker box for your gas grill, be sure to keep the box’s style, size, price, lid, material, and ease of cleaning in mind. Also, don’t be fooled by thinking you need to soak your wood chips or that there is only one type of wood that can be used.