Can You Grill on a Smoker? (4 Actionable Steps)

Grilling is a familiar method of preparing food. Yes, with your smoker, you can cook your favorite meat or vegetable. Smokers provide indirect heat, not direct heat, which is required for grilling. A smoker needs a lot of heat to produce that delicious taste.

So, can you grill on a smoker? Yes, you can grill on your smoker. But all types of smoker is not suitable for grilling as it needs higher heat. You could use an offset smoker for grilling purposes as it has a large cooking chamber with a firebox.

Here are the steps you will need to take to grill in a smoker. Moreover, you will learn some tips to make your work a bit easier.

Grilling Vs Smoking

Let’s have a clear idea about Grilling and Smoking first.

Grilling is used to cook food quickly over a hot fire. Charcoal or gas is usually used. The phrase “hot and fast” refers to grilling food at a temperature of 350°F or higher in a short period of time. 

The BBQ is used to cook large cuts of meat quickly, while the grill is used to cook more minor cuts. A BBQ cut of meat should be cooked at a low temperature of 190 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, but some recipes call for 225 to 250 degrees. Large pieces of meat will take a long time to cook at those temperatures. 

Smoking is the most extreme form of barbecuing. During the smoking process, chunks or chips of hickory, mesquite, apple, or cherry are smoldering, and each imparts its own flavor to the meat. Smoking imparts a smoky flavor to meat even at low temperatures and ensures complete cooking. Your smoker should be between 125 and 175 degrees when you smoke food. If the meat is heated too fast, the outer parts will cook too fast and form a barrier that prevents the smoke from crossing.

How to Grill Food In a Smoker
Credit: pixabay

How to Grill Food In a Smoker?

So you know that you can grill food in a smoker but the question is how to do so. Isn’t it? Well, you just need to purchase or use your existing offset smoker. FYI, an offset smoker is a type of smoker that has a pretty big cooking chamber along with a firebox located on the right side of the smoker to place the fuel source.

Let me clear the two common methods of grilling on a smoker. Some offset smokers out there come with an extra charcoal grate under the main cooking grate. Yeah, I am sure you got it. This is a pretty easy method. But the widely used method is using the smoker firebox for grilling in a smoker.

For this, you need to place a grate sometimes provided to place over the hot charcoal. We are taking charcoal as our fuel source as it has the ability to give you the authentic grilling flavor of some other options out there.

To grill the meat or vegetables or fish you need good amounts of charcoal and two or three wood chunks for getting the perfect searing temperature. The reason is that if you want to cook at the firebox you will notice that the grate is way wider than the charcoal. Which causes for not to get enough heat.

Step By Step Process to Grill in a Smoker

Hopefully, you got a basic idea about grilling. As we promised, in this section we will try to explain the complete grilling process in some segments that will help you in a better understanding. So, let’s take a look at what should be the process.

put some good amount of charcoal

First off, put some good amount of charcoal as we have mentioned in the previous section of this article. As we want to grill the food on the firebox so place the grate evenly.

After placing the grill grate you can easily notice that the distance between the bottom of the firebox and the grilling grate is simply too much to get the searing heat from the charcoal.

In that case, you have to add two or three wood chunks over the charcoal that can boost the heat and deliver the right amount of heat to get the really grilling taste.

Don’t forget to add some spice

Don’t forget to add some spice to the meat or whatever you want to cook. There are two common processing methods before cooking the food dry brining and wet brining that are able to deliver juicy cooked meat.

There are some meat parts that are lean as a result after the finishing of the cooking you will get dry meat that will be hard to eat. You should brine the meat for roughly one hour before placing it in the grill grate to get the perfect flavor and tenderness. Besides, bringing can reduce the cooking time as well which is why nowadays bringing is becoming popular among the barbecuers.

put the meat, fish, or vegetables on the grill grate

It’s time to put the meat, fish, or vegetables on the grill grate. But make sure the internal temperature of the firebox is pretty good before placing the food. Which is called the pre-heating phase.

It has a significant amount of importance because if you place the food on a grate that is at normal temperature then there is a chance to stick the food with the grate. Therefore make sure that the grill grate is preheated approximately for 10 to 15 minutes.

While grilling you need to flip it to the other side. It is recommended not to flip the food immediately right after you place the food on the grate. This will cause the food to stick as well. So, let the meat get some serious heat. This will help you to flip it effortlessly without any sticking issues.

rest for some minutes

After the cooking makes sure you don’t serve the meats right after pulling them off from the grill grate. Let them rest for some minutes which varies from 5-to 20 minutes depending on the type of meat. Ideally for a bigger size of meat wait for 10-20 minutes before serving while the steak should rest for at least five minutes.

The reason why you need to let them rest is to reabsorb and distribute the constricted juice. That way you will get the taste a bit more delicious to eat.

If you are asking me how long should you grill the food then I would say it depends. It actually depends on what type of meat you’re grilling. In general, 25-30 minutes is pretty enough for grilling at medium meat.

Bottom Line

Hope this comprehensive guide will help you to grill on a smoker. If anyone asks you “Can you grill on a smoker?” you are now capable to answer them. What do you think? If you follow these steps then you will grill your food with your existing smoker. You don’t have to buy a separate grill along with the smoker.

It’s true that you won’t get the absolute flavor that you might get from a grill as they are made especially for grilling food. Though the way we described is pretty handy to deliver a well cooked and delicious food without spending extra bucks.

If you find it helpful don’t forget to share it with your friends to let them know that they can grill on a smoker. Leave your thoughts about this blog in the comment section below.

Happy Cooking!


Tina Jordan here. Cooking delicious dishes for my family has always been a passion for me. Kitchen and cooking go hand in hand. I have spent a lot of time in my kitchen (still do), so I have a very clear understanding of kitchen gadgets.

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