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tenspeed 02-12-2017 11:45 AM

Opinions on gas grill smoker boxes
 
K-girl's post about the gas grill smoker box got my attention. I didn't know they existed, so I asked Mr. Google about them. From a portion of a Cook's Illustrated review that I could read it looks like their favorite is a cast iron rectangular box, and the picture looks like a Nexgrill. Does anyone have any experience comparing the V-shaped Charcoal Companion with the rectangular cast iron box?

At the low price of these things it's not much of a financial risk, but I'm wondering if one of them has any advantages over the other. I saw a comment on YouTube where the person was successful placing the box on top of the grate, rather than underneath, which isn't an option with the V-shape box.

I have a Weber gas grill, so I could go with either.

Roll_Bones 02-12-2017 11:58 AM

If it has automatic temperature control, I'm all in.
I would never buy another smoker without this feature. Add chips/chunks, set temp and forget.

Andy M. 02-12-2017 12:19 PM

You're talking about a container to put woodchips in that goes in a grill. Right?

If so, I'd recommend just going with a foil packet. Cheaper and it doesn't need to be cleaned afterwards.

roadfix 02-12-2017 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy M. (Post 1498745)
You're talking about a container to put woodchips in that goes in a grill. Right?

If so, I'd recommend just going with a foil packet. Cheaper and it doesn't need to be cleaned afterwards.

Agreed. I've used both. Also, foil packets use up less space and no clean up required.

Kaneohegirlinaz 02-12-2017 12:50 PM

10, when I was at the home improvement store yesterday, I was looking for the Weber brand of smoker box but they didn't have any.
What they did have was the cast iron rectangular box (I can't recall the brand) and that cute SS V shaped one. The price difference was vast, and I figured that since I had never tried any sort of a smoker box before, I'd go with the lesser priced V shaped and see how it all went.

In the past, I simply used HD tin foil pouches of chips, messy; now that I have a "big girl toy" aka my beautiful 3 burner SS Genesis, I figure I should step up my game.

And let me say that the V shaped box sitting directly on the flame, well between two flames, IMHO, I think that it got going quicker than setting a pouch or rectangular box on top of the grate. I had large plumes of smoke in less than 10 minutes, with only two burners going. I put the b/s Chicken Thighs over the direct heat for just a few minutes to brown the meat and then over to the other side for indirect heat to finish up. It was DELICIOUS!! I used Mesquite, mostly because that is in the same family as Kiawe Wood we use in Hawaii.

I'm no expert griller, but I'm happy with my purchase, for sure! :chef:

Kaneohegirlinaz 02-12-2017 12:53 PM

I wanted to say that I feel that foil pouches are messy for me, `cuz notoriously the foil winds up disintegrating and then I had all that ash in the bottom of my "little girl" grill... that's just me :cool:

Kaneohegirlinaz 02-12-2017 12:54 PM

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Andy M. 02-12-2017 01:02 PM

No reason why you couldn't shape a foil packet to fit between the burners like the picture. Never had a problem with the foil breaking.

buckytom 02-12-2017 08:13 PM

I was given a Bobby Flay brand steel smoker box for my grill a few years ago. It's simply a small rectangular box with holes on top that sits on the grill bars. I used it a few times with little success since it takes a very long time to begin smoking as it is far away from the flames.

In theory it's cool, but not worth waiting so long for it to smoke up a gas grill. Gas grills are for the convenience and speed.

caseydog 02-12-2017 08:37 PM

Smoker boxes and foil packets work fine, as long as you have realistic expectations. They are not going to do a 12 hour brisket smoke lie a true wood-burninig bbq pit will. But, if all you want is a little smoky flavor on your grilled chicken, they will do the job.

I'm a charcoal/wood grill guy. I don't find my Weber kettles any harder to use than a gas grill, after so many years of using them. I bought oldest Webber kettle new in 1995. Not many gas grills last 22 years (and still going).

So yes, those smoker boxes do work, and work fine for many applications. Just don't expect too much from them.

BTW, I use something similar for cold smoking, made from an empty tomatoes can, and a soldering iron, if anyone is interested.

CD

CraigC 02-13-2017 07:22 AM

Gas is great for the jet cooker. Grilling and "Q" only with wood or charcoal. Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.:lol:

Steve Kroll 02-13-2017 01:34 PM

I have a GrillPro cast iron smoker box I got a few years ago when I bought my Weber Genesis. I love it. On my grill, it fits perfectly between the "flavorizer bars" and the grate, so it's sitting right over the flame.

As far as having to wait for the smoke, you can add dry chips, too. Just be aware they won't last as long. It's perfect for something that cooks quick, like steaks or burgers, for example. I add a handful of chips to the box when I start the grill and it's usually smoking pretty good within a few minutes. And you can definitely taste the difference in the meat.

Roll_Bones 02-14-2017 11:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kaneohegirlinaz (Post 1498755)

I like that! Looks like it would work well.

Quote:

Originally Posted by buckytom (Post 1498811)
I was given a Bobby Flay brand steel smoker box for my grill a few years ago. It's simply a small rectangular box with holes on top that sits on the grill bars. I used it a few times with little success since it takes a very long time to begin smoking as it is far away from the flames.

In theory it's cool, but not worth waiting so long for it to smoke up a gas grill. Gas grills are for the convenience and speed.

I bought a box many years ago. Just like you describe. Its cast iron and it takes forever to start smoking. By the time I get any smoke, the chips are burned away or close to being gone.
It is a piece of junk.

caseydog 02-14-2017 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roll_Bones (Post 1499033)
I like that! Looks like it would work well.



I bought a box many years ago. Just like you describe. Its cast iron and it takes forever to start smoking. By the time I get any smoke, the chips are burned away or close to being gone.
It is a piece of junk.

Something you learn when you get serious about BBQ, is that the smoke you see is not the smoke you want. The best smoke is the very thin blue-ish smoke you can just barely see. The thick white smoke people think is good smoke is actually bad smoke -- bitter in flavor.

I got WAY too serious into BBQ for a couple of years, and I've dialed way back on that over the last year or so. But, the basics I learned have stuck with me.

My single best piece of smoking advice is to SMELL your smoke, instead of looking at it. If it smells good, your food will taste good. If it looks good, but smells like burning tires, well guess what your food is going to taste like.

CD

buckytom 02-14-2017 09:07 PM

Actually, I was able to get good, tasty smoke from the little box (it doesn't take much to flavor the food when you're grilling), but I just didn't want to turn the grill on, then wait 20 or 25 minutes for it to make smoke to flavor the food. Yes, this isn't Q. It's just a way to add some flavor to quickly grilled foods when using a gas grill.

I'd think the ones heretofore described that fit under the bars might work better as they're closer to the flame.

I need to get back into smoking meats. I had about 35 trees taken down in my yard when we moved in so we could have a backyard - not a forest, and the tree guys chipped 4 huge garbage bags of hickory and cherry for me to set aside. Plus I have about 12 cords of oak that needs to be split from the trees we saved for firewood. Maybe more.

Kaneohegirlinaz 02-14-2017 09:20 PM

Right, we started talking about Gas Grilling Smoker boxes... 'Q' is a whole other bag of beans.
IMHO, Grilling, especially over Gas/LP/Propane, for is sheerly for speed and cleanliness. I don't care to clean up all the ash and leftover coals of BBQing over wood/charcoal/briquettes ... did that, got the tee shirt, and I don't care to again. Not to mention, were we are now, there's LOADS of no burn days, which includes grills/BBQing, but Gas/LP/Propane is allowable if constantly attended.

caseydog 02-14-2017 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kaneohegirlinaz (Post 1499091)
Right, we started talking about Gas Grilling Smoker boxes... 'Q' is a whole other bag of beans.
IMHO, Grilling, especially over Gas/LP/Propane, for is sheerly for speed and cleanliness. I don't care to clean up all the ash and leftover coals of BBQing over wood/charcoal/briquettes ... did that, got the tee shirt, and I don't care to again. Not to mention, were we are now, there's LOADS of no burn days, which includes grills/BBQing, but Gas/LP/Propane is allowable if constantly attended.

I think my previous post may have been misinterpreted.

There is nothing wrong with using wood in some kind of container on a gas grill. You're not going to get pit-master results on a 10-pound brisket, but as long as you are realistic in your expectations, you can get some honestly good smokey flavor from some wood chips in a metal box on your gasser.

Those metal wood chip boxes do work, if you use them right. To be totally honest, some wood chips wrapped in foil with a few holes poked in the foil works, too.

I like the looks of the triangular metal boxes for a Weber Genesis, because they put the wood chips right up against the fire. BTW, IMO Weber Genesis grills are the best gassers you can get. Expensive, yes... but worth every penny. My dad has one that is at least 15 years old. He wanted to go cheaper, but I made him pry open his wallet and spend the 600-plus-bucks for it. He still thanks me for it.

You are going to get your best results on things like chicken, which soaks up smoke like a sponge. A big slab of beef is not going to work as well with a metal box of wood chips, as I've already mentioned.

So, to re-state what I said in my last post, don't go for a thick cloud of white smoke, no matter how you burn you wood. SMELL your smoke!!! If it smells good, your food will probably taste good. Again, if it smells like burning tires, your food is going to taste like burning tires.

CD

Kaneohegirlinaz 02-15-2017 12:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by caseydog (Post 1499095)
So, to re-state what I said in my last post, don't go for a thick cloud of white smoke, no matter how you burn you wood. SMELL your smoke!!! If it smells good, your food will probably taste good. Again, if it smells like burning tires, your food is going to taste like burning tires.

CD

Casey, I don't think that anyone has debated your statement on how to use a smoker box. ie smell v looks, IMHO it's just the type of smoker box one might prefer for a Gas/LP/Propane grill :shrug: that's all :smile:

Kayelle 02-15-2017 01:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kaneohegirlinaz (Post 1499107)
Casey, I don't think that anyone has debated your statement on how to use a smoker box. ie smell v looks, IMHO it's just the type of smoker box one might prefer for a Gas/LP/Propane grill :shrug: that's all :smile:

I know I'm late to this thread, but I've had the same little V smoker Kgirl found for a long time. The design is perfect for a gas grill, unlike some others. I've used it for whole tri tips that take around 50 minutes to cook, and also for steaks, pork and chicken with less time. Depending on the amount of water soaked wood chips you use, you'll get excellent results with practice.
The design just makes sense.

caseydog 02-15-2017 02:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kaneohegirlinaz (Post 1499107)
Casey, I don't think that anyone has debated your statement on how to use a smoker box. ie smell v looks, IMHO it's just the type of smoker box one might prefer for a Gas/LP/Propane grill :shrug: that's all :smile:

I'm not looking for a debate, I am just saying that you want to use whatever gets the wood to burn the most efficiently. You want to get that wood burning hot, so you get clean smoke. A box/foil-bag that gets the wood chips burning efficiently will give you a cleaner smoke. If your gas grill is surrounded by thick white smoke, you may feel happy, but it doesn't mean you are making good food.

It really doesn't matter what you use to make your smoke. Whatever you use to make your smoke needs to make good smoke. It is no different than salt and pepper. Use it right, the food tastes good. Use it wrong, the food tastes bad.

I cant tell you what product to buy, but I can tell you what to look for as an end result. Get or make at home with foil, something that burns wood quickly and efficiently, or be satisfied with food that tastes really smokey, but not particularly good.

CD


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