There’s nothing new about using wood smoke to add flavor to foods when grilling or barbecuing. What is new is the abundance of wood-chip varieties available in stores these days. While charcoal grills impart a certain degree of smokiness, gas grills don’t. Using this simple technique is a convenient way to add the smoke where there’s already fire. Not all woods create a pleasant taste (pine, for instance), so if you’re new to smoking you might want to stick to the chips that are commercially available. We like fruitwoods but we encourage you to experiment and find what best suits your tastes. And in case you’re a purist, this technique works well with charcoal grills as well. Just toss the packet on white-hot coals, wait for the smoke and then let the grilling begin.
Soak 1 cup of wood chips in a bowl of water for 20 minutes.
Fold a 12-by-20-inch piece of heavy-duty foil in half to create a 12-by-10-inch double-thick piece. Transfer wet wood chips to the center of the foil, allowing as much water as possible to drip back into the bowl. Create a packet by folding the short ends of the foil over the wood chips and folding the open ends to seal them.
Make 6 holes in the top of the foil packet using a skewer or the tip of a knife.
Place the packet of wood chips, pierced-side up, under the grill rack and on top of the burners. Close the lid. Turn the heat to high and allow the grill and packet to heat until the chips smell smoky and smoke begins to billow from under the lid, about 15 minutes (don’t worry if the packet temporarily catches on fire).
Cook poultry, meat or fish as you would normally, making sure to keep the grill covered during cooking.