These DIY Smoker Boxes Are Perfect for Quick Weeknight Grilling
Outdoor smokers and charcoal grills are great for infusing tons of flavor into grilled food; however, as our Culinary-Director-at-Large Justin Chapple points out, they’re cumbersome, difficult to set up, and sometimes hard to clean. In other words? You probably don’t want to use them for a quick weeknight meal—but that doesn’t mean you have to lose out on the smoky flavor. With a few sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil, Chapple has a hack for making little disposable smoker pouches, which can help you put together meals like smoked salmon and chicken breast in 20 to 30 minutes. All you need is some wood chips, foil, and a gas grill—here are Chapple’s quick tips for pulling it off.
Fold them into pockets
Start off by taking a sheet of foil (six to eight inches long) and lay it flat on a work surface. Then, fold it in half so three sides are open. Then, turn the foil toward you and close the first side by folding over the edge; next, move on to the other closed side of the pocket, and fold it over slightly to reinforce it. Finally, close the third side. In the end, you should be left with a pocket of sorts, with one side open and the other three sides closed.
Grab the wood chips
Once your pouch is set up, fill it with a small handful of wood chips. Since you’ll only be using the pouch for 20 to 30 minutes, Chapple says there’s no need to soak the wood chips first—a huge bonus. Then, seal the final side of the pouch up so the chips are enclosed within.
Poke a few holes
Using a small knife, poke one or two holes in the sealed pouch so the smoke releases into the grill.
Keep a few extra under your grill
Chapple likes to make five to 10 little smokers at a time, so he has them ready to go for weeknight cooking. Store them under the grill for easy access.
Put the pouches in the grill first
Before you add your food on the grill, Chapple says to put the pouch in first. Close the top and let it sit on the grate for five to 10 minutes so it gets nice and smoky. When you take the pouch out and see wisps rising from the holes, it's ready.
Pick quick-cooking recipes
Since these pouches activate quickly and don’t last long, they’re best used with quick-cooking recipes. In this video, Chapple uses boneless skinless chicken breasts, salmon fillets, and asparagus.
Season the food and add it to grill
He drizzles olive oil over each food, and seasons with kosher salt and ground black pepper. For the salmon, Chapple also adds lemon slices to the grill directly underneath, so the fish doesn’t stick to the grate. Close the grill top for 20 to 30 minutes, and you’ve got perfectly cooked and smoky food without all the hassle.
Let them cool
Once you’re done with the pouches, just let them cool completely and throw them out—it’s that simple.