Did you know that you can use your backyard grill and a smoke tube to add smoky flavor to your favorite grilled foods?! If you don’t have a fancy smoker or Traeger, it’s okay – you don’t need one. A smoker tube lets you add that fabulous flavor to your favorite foods, using a charcoal or gas grill! We’ll show you how it works and what you need to take your grilling to the next level this summer!
Reasons to Use a Smoke Tube
- Longest cook time without refilling. Although you can use other options, such as wood chips in a cast iron box or folded in tin foil, the smoker tube provides the longest smoking time with the least amount of work.
- Lets you use your existing grill. If you already own a grill and don’t want to make the investment of buying yet another outdoor cooking appliance, this is a fantastic option!
- Try it before you buy it! Maybe you are considering buying a Traeger (or other brand) but you really haven’t decided if it is something you will truly enjoy. Once you learn how to use a pellet tube, we think you’ll become a fan!
Our favorite recipes to make using a smoke tube:
Smoky flavor is fantastic with just about any food, but a few of our favorites are smoked mac and cheese, pork tenderloin, and turkey tenderloin. We even add smoky flavor to foods like stuffed jalapeno poppers!
Using a Smoker Tube
- Light and warm up one side of your grill.
This results in one side with direct heat (the lighted end) and the other (unlighted) end with indirect heat.
- Fill the tube with your desired pellets.
Depending on what you’re cooking, a full 12 inch tube will supply you with 4-5 hours of cook time.
In a fire safe area outdoors, light the exposed pellets on the open end of the smoke tube. You can use a propane torch, or a smaller fire starter, similar to the kind you might use to light candles. It may take over a minute to light the pellets where they stay lit with a visible flame.
Once you get the pellets to stay lit with a visible flame, keep that flame lit for at least five to ten minutes. If it blows out, you may need to light it again.
- Extinguish the flame. When your pellets look like the fire has expanded to several of the surrounding pellets, you can blow out the flame. By this time, the smoke tube is likely to be hot, so use hand protection for the next step.
- Place the pellet tube inside of the grill. Set it on the heated side (direct heat) of the grill.
Place your meat (or other foods) on the indirect end of the grill (the unlighted end). Your grill is now set up for smoking – it’s time to cook!
Tips for Making a Smoke Tube Easier to Use
- Eliminate any moisture.
Depending on how and where you store your wood pellets, they can gather moisture. This can make lighting them, and keeping them lit, more difficult.
Prior to filling the device, heat your desired amount of wood pellets in a microwave. Just 2 to 3 minutes should do the trick.
- Use a funnel.
We use a paper plate, folded in half, as a guide/funnel to pour the pellets into the smoker tube.
- Pack the pellets nice and tight.
Prior to lighting the pellets, tap the closed end of the tube on a hard flat surface, to pack them in. Packing eliminates any air gaps, ensuring that the pellets stay lit.
- Use a hand held fire starter.
We find it much easier and faster to light the pellets with a mini torch. Again, use caution when handling the smoke tube, as it may become hot from the flame of the torch.
Another option for keeping the flame lit is to place a tiny piece of any type of fire starter material on top of the pellets.
- Place a U-bolt on the open end of your tube.
This allows the open end of the smoking tube to sit upward at about a 30 degree angle. Although not necessary, we find that allowing the pellets to sit at this angle help them stay together better.
U-bolts are available at almost any hardware stores, and even places like Walmart carry them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, but there is another option as well! Visit your local BBQ supply store and purchase wood chunks. They are about the size of a tennis ball, and they burn slower and longer than wood pellets and chips.
This will vary from person to person. If you are someone who likes a heavy smoky flavor (like what restaurants serve), then 4-5 hours of smoking time is ideal.
We recommend keeping a diary of what you cook and how long you grill the food for. Then, adjust it accordingly for each recipe you make.
Yes, bigger cuts of meat (brisket/pork shoulder roast/chuck roast) cook longer and will absorb more pellet flavor. Steaks cooked from medium-rare to medium will grill faster, and won’t take on as much smokiness.
For smaller pieces of meat, such as a kabob, keep an eye on your desired ending temperature. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself over cooking your meat in an effort to get more flavor in it.
A full, 12-inch tube will supply you with 4-5 hours of burn time.