By Christie Vanover | Published July 22, 2020 | Last Updated March 15, 2023

If you only have a gas grill, you can still smoke some mean barbecue by using a wood chip foil pouch made with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil.

Disclosure: This recipe was sponsored by Reynolds Wrap®. All opinions are my own.

foil pouches filled with wood and labeled.

How to create a wood chip foil pouch

  1. STEP ONE: Tear off a 16” sheet of Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil. I use the Heavy Duty Foil, because its extra sturdiness holds up to the smoldering wood chips without breaking or tearing.
sheet of foil
  1. STEP TWO: Add a large handful of wood chips or wood pellets to the center of the foil sheet.
wood chips on sheet of foil
  1. STEP THREE: Fold up one of the sides of the foil to completely cover the wood. Then, fold over the other side.
wood pellets tucked in foil pouch
  1. STEP FOUR: Double fold the two other ends to seal the packet.
wood chip foil pouch next to box
  1. STEP FIVE: Pierce with a fork to create holes to allow the smoke to release.  
fork poking holes in foil pouch

I recommend creating a few foil pouches at a time, so they’re ready when you need them.

foil pouches labeled as being packed with different woods.

You can even make a bunch using different woods. Just label them, so you can tell them apart, and store them in a cool, dry place to preserve the integrity of the wood.

Should I soak the wood chips?

When I started grilling, I was always told to soak wood chips, so they “last longer” and so they “don’t burn up.”

Now that I actually know what I’m doing behind the pit, I never soak my wood chips. Here’s why.

Our goal with this whole process is to create smoke. You get smoke from slowly burning wood.

If you soak the chips, instead of burning the wood, you will be heating up the liquid, creating steam. That’s not the effect or flavor we’re going for.

Instead, we want to heat up the wood chips – not to the point that they catch on fire, but to the point that they smolder and smoke.

By using a foil pouch, we’re controlling the amount of oxygen that is introduced to the wood. Less oxygen = less chance of fire, which is why I use a fork to create small holes in the pouch. Just enough oxygen gets inside to create a steady slow burn. 

If you’re using pellets instead of wood chips, definitely don’t soak them, they’ll just dissolve.

How to smoke on a gas grill using a wood chip foil pouch

Turn one of your burners to medium heat, and adjust the rest of the burners for your cook temperature.

Place the smoke pouch on the grill over the medium heat burner. I usually place it in the back corner, so it’s out of the way.

Pellet foil pouch smoking on grill.

After about 5 minutes, the smoke will start to appear. Then, in 15 minutes, it will be rolling strong.

These smoke foil packets are excellent for hot and fast grilling and low and slow barbecue.

Next time, you plan to grill up burgers, steaks or chicken, throw in a smoke foil packet. They’ll add a beautiful smokehouse flavor to burgers, steaks and chicken.

If you’re doing a long cook, like a pork butt or roast, make a few packets. As the first one starts to fizzle out, carefully remove it from the grill and add another packet. Continue this swap out, throughout your cook. 

How long will the smoke last?

I have found that pellets produce smoke longer than wood chips.

A handful of wood chips in a foil pouch lasts 40-45 minutes. You can give the pouch a little shake to get about 5 minutes of extra smoke.

The pellet pouch lasts about an hour, with the strongest smoke happening in the 15-45-minute window. 

When I’m cooking with my charcoal smokers, cleanup is always pretty messy. When I cook on my gas grill using Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil to make these pouches, cleanup is a breeze.

I just wait for the wood chips or pellets to fully extinguish and then toss the whole packet in the trash. So I get to spend more time hanging out with friends and family and less time cleaning.

How to control the level of smoke

Some people just like a kiss of smoke, while others want the full effect of a smokehouse. With a wood chip foil pouch, you’re in control. The level of smoke your pouch releases will depend on the number of holes you create in your foil.

More holes = more smoke. But be careful, too many holes or large holes will increase the oxygen flow, which can cause your wood chips or pellets to catch fire, instead of slowly smoke.

foil pouch on grill with chicken and veggies.

For maximized smoke flavor, keep the lid closed on your grill, so the smoke stays within the chamber. You can even add more than one pouch to the grill, if you’d like.

Play around and maybe add one pouch with hickory and one with cherry wood to create a complex flavor.

Select the Best Wood Flavor to Complement Your Meal

ALDER   X   X X  
APPLE   X     X  
OAK X         X
PEACH   X   X