How to Turn Your Charcoal Grill into a Smoker – CHOW Tip

185 Senior Food Editor Jill Santopietro recommends that you smoke all sorts of things: fish, cheese, salt, and, of course, meat. And you don’t need a fancy smoking device: You can smoke food on a basic kettle grill. It’s really easy.
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If you have a grill then you have a smoker. First thing you’re going to do is soak the wood chips for fifteen minutes to a half hour. You can use apple, cherry woods, cedar wood, hickory, mesquite, there’s so many different kinds of woods and all those woods can flavor. Then you’re going to take unlit charcoal and dump it over to one side. Pick up one cup of the soaked wood chips. Shake off the water and you’re going to place them right on this unlit charcoal. Light up some more charcoal and dump that on top of the unlit charcoal. And you’re going to take another, about cup of the damp wood chips and place them right on the top there. Now you need to grab your drip pan and you’re going to place it next to the charcoal. Put the cooking grate over the burning charcoal and the drip pan. Next you’re going to take this aluminum loaf pan and fill it with water. This is going to keep the temperature of the grill down to 250, 300, instead of getting up to 400, 500. And then you’re ready to let it preheat. Place the thermometer right in one of the vents and you’re going to wait twenty minutes. Once it’s at about 250 degrees Fahrenheit you know it’s hot enough. Place your cooking item next to the aluminum pan and away from the heat. You’re going to place the top on, making sure that the vents are over whatever you’re cooking because if the vents are over the flame the smoke will just go out. Smoking doesn’t have to take three hours. It can for bit pieces of bone but it can take as little as twenty minutes for a piece of fish or you can smoke cheese, you can smoke foie gras, you can smoke nuts, salt, you can smoke anything really.



  1. Way to make an easy job hard, just split some suitable wood into pieces 3 inches long and thick as a mans fingers make a fire with the sticks make a pile about the size of the charcoal she had once the wood is 1/4 consumed and some charcoal is formed then put the fish on put the lid on with top and bottom vents open and leave for one hour job done no need for trays of water or soaking chips etc etc. I rub the fish with 50/50 salt and brown sugar and refrigerate overnight first.

  2. Never smoke with cedar! You should use only hardwoods for smoking purposes. Fish can be cooked on top of a cedar plank but you don't want to smoke with it.

    Also, use wood chunks instead of soaked chips. You should be aiming for a thin stream of "blue" smoke, not billowing clouds of white or black smoke, which will produce acrid flavors.