how to make a gas bbq taste like charcoal

Grilling with a gas BBQ is convenient and can be just as tasty as charcoal grilling – if you know how to make it happen. If you’re wondering how to get the flavour of charcoal when cooking on your gas grill, then this post has all the answers. We’ll show you tips for making a gas BBQ taste like charcoal so that your grilled food will have that smoky, wood-fired flavour every time. So forget about running out to buy briquettes or lump wood; learn how to make a gas bbq taste like charcoal today.

Table of Contents:

Get Charcoal-Like Heat

When it comes to grilling, many people prefer the smoky flavour that charcoal provides. But for those who don’t want to deal with the mess and hassle of using charcoal, gas barbecues are a great alternative. Although gas BBQs may not provide the exact same level of smokiness as charcoal, they still allow you to attain similar high heat levels and prepare scrumptious meals.

To get started, turn all burners up to high heat and preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes before cooking. This will help ensure an even temperature throughout the cooking surface when you start grilling. Once heated, adjust each burner to medium-high or low-medium depending on how hot you want your food cooked – this is where practice makes perfect. If you’re looking for a more intense charring effect like what charcoal gives off, keep one side of the grill hotter than the other so that there’s an area of direct heat versus indirect heat while cooking.

Another way to add some extra smokey flavour is by adding wood chips directly onto the flames or in a smoker box if your barbecue has one built in (this works best with hardwoods such as hickory). The wood chips will give off additional smoke, which adds depth of flavour without having to use coal briquettes or lump wood charcoal – make sure not to overload them; otherwise, they’ll put out too much smoke and overpower whatever dish you’re making.

Finally, experiment with different marinades and rubs – these can really bring out unique flavours from any meat or vegetable that’s being grilled over either gas or charcoal flame. Try different combinations until you find something that works best for your taste buds. And remember: safety should always come first when working around open flames; wear protective clothing such as long sleeves/pants/aprons when near a hot grill surface at all times.

Key Takeaway: To make a gas BBQ taste like charcoal, preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes and adjust burners to medium-high or low-medium heat. Add wood chips to the flames smoke box and experiment with marinades and rubs. Always wear protective clothing when near open flames.

Add Wood Chips for Smokey Flavour

grilled meat with smokey flavour

Enhancing the smoky flavour of your food can be achieved by adding wood chips to your BBQ, providing an additional layer of delectable taste. Whether you’re grilling steak, ribs or vegetables, the smokey taste will enhance the natural flavours and give your dishes a unique twist.

When selecting wood chips for smoking, it’s important to choose one that matches the type of food you are cooking. For example, hickory works well with pork and beef, while applewood pairs nicely with poultry and fish. Mesquite has a strong flavour, so it should be used sparingly when flavouring lighter meats like chicken or seafood. Additionally, some woods, such as cedar, can impart a bitter taste if not used correctly, so it’s best avoided unless you know what you are doing.

To use wood chips in your BBQ, start by soaking them in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them directly onto hot coals or using an aluminium foil pouch filled with chips placed on top of the coals. This will help create more smoke which adds more flavour to whatever is being cooked over it. It’s also important not to overload the grill with too many chips as this can cause flare-ups which can burn food quickly, resulting in an unpleasant charred taste instead of that delicious smoky flavour we all love.

Finally, experiment with different types of marinades and rubs, as these are great ways to further enhance those smoky flavours from the wood chip smoke without overpowering them. Try combining herbs such as rosemary and thyme with spices like garlic powder or paprika for added depth of flavour – make sure they don’t contain any sugar; otherwise, they may burn during cooking.

Key Takeaway: To make a gas BBQ taste like charcoal, use wood chips to create a smokey flavour and enhance it with marinades and rubs. Try hickory for beef pork, applewood for poultry fish, and mesquite sparingly. Soak chips in water before adding to coals & don’t overload the grill.

Experiment With Different Marinades and Rubs

grilling beef to get smokey flavour

Marinades and rubs are a great way to add flavour to food cooked on a gas BBQ. Marinades are liquid mixtures of oil, vinegar or citrus juice, herbs and spices that can be used to marinate the meat before cooking. Rubs are dry mixtures of herbs and spices that can be rubbed onto the surface of the meat prior to cooking.

When it comes to creating your own marinade or rub, there is no one-size-fits-all recipe – experiment with different ingredients until you find something you like. Start by combining two parts oil (olive, sunflower or vegetable) with one part acid (vinegar, lemon juice). Then add some herbs such as rosemary, oregano or thyme; garlic; onion powder; paprika; cumin; salt and pepper. Experiment with different combinations until you find something that works for you.

For a delicious marinade, try mixing together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, freshly chopped basil leaves and minced garlic. For an Asian twist, use sesame oil instead of olive oil and replace the basil with ginger root paste plus soy sauce for added umami flavour. If you prefer more heat in your marinade, then add chilli flakes too.

Rubs can also be created using any combination of herbs and spices that take your fancy – make sure they’re finely ground so they stick easily to the surface of the meat when applied directly before cooking on the BBQ grill plate. Try mixing together the smoked paprika, dried oregano, sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper for a classic Mediterranean-style rub. Or why not create an Indian-inspired blend using garam masala spice mix plus turmeric powder? You could even go all out Mexican style by adding chipotle chilli flakes into your mix.

The possibilities really are endless when it comes to creating unique flavoursome marinades and rubs, so get creative and enjoy experimenting.

Key Takeaway: Create unique and flavourful marinades and rubs for your gas BBQ by combining oil, acid, herbs, spices and other ingredients. Try different combinations, such as olive oil & balsamic vinegar with basil or sesame oil & ginger root paste with soy sauce.

FAQs in Relation to How to Make a Gas Bbq Taste Like Charcoal

How do you get the smoky flavour on a gas grill?

a man in tattoos makes barbecue grill meat outdoors

Grilling with gas can still provide a smoky flavour if done correctly. To achieve this, start by preheating the grill for at least 10 minutes on high heat. Next, add wood chips or chunks to an aluminium foil pouch and poke holes in it to allow smoke to escape. Place the pouch directly over one of the burners and close the lid. After about 15 minutes, reduce the heat setting to medium-low and place your food on the grill grate away from direct flame contact. This will ensure that your food cooks slowly while absorbing some of that delicious smoky flavour.

Can I add charcoal to my gas grill?

Yes, you can add charcoal to your gas grill. Charcoal provides a smoky flavour than gas grills alone and is great for cooking food like steaks or burgers. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with adding charcoal to a gas grill. Ensure you only use high-quality charcoal briquettes and follow all safety instructions when lighting them. Additionally, avoid overloading the grill with too much charcoal, as this could lead to flare-ups or uneven heat distribution, which could cause damage to your equipment.

How do I get the chargrilled taste?

Grilling is a great way to get that delicious chargrilled taste. To achieve the best results, start by preheating your grill to high heat and brushing it with oil or cooking spray. Place your food on the hottest part of the grill and let it cook for several minutes before flipping it over. Keep an eye on your food, as you don’t want it to burn. When done, remove from heat and enjoy that amazing chargrilled flavour. For extra flavour, try marinating your food before grilling or adding a sprinkle of herbs and spices.

Is there a taste difference between charcoal and gas BBQ?

Yes, there is a taste difference between charcoal and gas BBQs. Charcoal grills provide a smoky flavour to food that can’t be replicated with gas. However, some people prefer the convenience of using a gas grill as it’s easier to control the temperature and cook time. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference when deciding which type of BBQ you should use for your next outdoor cooking session.


Grilling with gas doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the flavour of charcoal. With a few simple steps, you can make your gas BBQ taste like charcoal in no time. Choose the right type of gas BBQ for optimal heat, add wood chips for smokey flavour and experiment with different marinades and rubs to get that authentic charcoal-grilled taste. So don’t be afraid to fire up your grill – now you know how to make a gas bbq taste like charcoal.

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