There is nothing quite like the taste of smoked food. Whether it is poultry, beef, veggies, or even cheese, smoking always adds a particular kind of flavor that is often irresistible.
However, there are some factors to consider when it comes to placing and operating a smoker.
Even though smoking food has become easier with pellet grills, there are still some necessary precautions that should be taken before firing up the smoker.
One common question I hear is if a smoker can be placed on grass?
Smokers can be used on grass if the grass is insulated or protected from the smoker. Generally, smokers and grills produce heat that can dry out and ignite the grass over time especially if a stray ember falls. Use grill mats or stepping stones to create a fire-resistant surface.
Unless you want to end up with patches of dried-up grass on your lawn, it’s best to avoid putting your smoker on grass.
Instead, you should consider a safer alternative such as a patio made of treated wood or concrete as the floor material.
However, let’s go over how to set up a smoker on grass just in case you have no other option.
Can A Smoker Damage Artificial Grass?
Artificial grass is mainly made using polyethylene or nylon. Polyethylene is a material used to make plastic bottles and bags whereas nylon is commonly used for stretchy products such as clothing, seat belts, and ropes.
As you can imagine, heat will warp and damage polyethylene and nylon so a smoker that generates too much heat can damage artificial grass.
However, smokers are generally used at lower cooking temperatures such as 225°F so the ambient heat from the smoker is not that hot.
That being said, hot grease or stray embers that land on the artificial grass will cause damage and likely melt the area it touches.
So even on artificial grass, a smoker should be insulated from the ground by using a grill mat, stepping stones, or other materials.
How To Setup A Smoker On Grass
If you absolutely have to use your smoker on grass, make sure that the area is well-protected.
Putting a smoker on grass isn’t ideal, but if you take the necessary precautions, it’s not the end of the world. Regardless of how long you plan on using a smoker on grass, providing some protection for the grass is a good idea.
Here are some ways to insulate the grass from the smoker.
Protective Grill Mat
Grill mats aren’t necessary when placing a grill or smoker on fire-resistant ground material such as a concrete patio or stone pavers.
However, a grill mat is a great accessory to have when setting up a smoker on grass.
Grill mats can be purchased from any department store or on Amazon and simply get placed underneath the grill or smoker.
As seen in the image above, the smoker will now be insulated away from the grass so that the heat from the grill does not damage or ignite the grass.
Grill mats will also prevent the hot grease and embers from landing on the grass beneath the smoker.
I highly recommend getting a grill mat if you plan on grilling or smoking on top of an area that you do not want to get stained from grease or damaged from embers.
Automotive Drip Pan
An automotive drip pan can help protect grass from getting damaged by the heat. If you don’t want to damage your grass, put a large enough drip pan or a few drip pans underneath your smoker.
Automotive drip pans can be purchased from local auto shops or get shipped directly to you from Amazon.
You can also pour a little bit of water in the drip pans in case embers or hot grease falls from the smoker into the pans.
People who have tried both these methods claim that they work just fine, but only when you’re using your smoker for a single session or two.
In cases where you’re planning to use the smoker for multiple sessions on grass, you should go with a more reliable and long-term solution.
Create A Cooking Area
Even though you will have to kill some grass on your lawn in order to create a small cooking area, this solution can add a visually-appealing feature to your lawn as long as you do it right.
All you need is Pressure-Treated (PT) lumber or some stone pavers to build a small on-grade deck that you can either cover with PT lumber or pavers.
For a much more permanent solution, pavers should be perfect, not to mention that they also provide an even and stable surface for your smoker.
Placing your smoker off the grass and any other combustible ground material is the safest way to use a smoker.
How To Use A Smoker Safely
When using a smoker, there are a couple of factors that you ought to pay attention to, not only to get the best smoking results but also to do it safely.
The following are the main safety tips to consider when using a smoker:
1. Always Thaw Food Before Smoking
You should always thaw meat or any other foods that you want to smoke before you can start the cooking process. Smoking uses low temperatures for cooking. This means that the food will take quite a long time to cook, giving harmful bacteria a chance to grow.
Not to mention smoking meat that is frozen usually leads to a drier finished product since the meat will not have its natural moisture and texture.
As such, it’s recommended that you first thaw the food using a refrigerator or microwave oven. Be sure to start cooking the food as soon as it is done thawing, to eliminate chances of bacterial growth.
2. Keep The Smoker At The Right Temperature
Maintaining the correct smoker temperature is crucial for safe and successful smoking. If the temperature is too low, the food will take too long to cook and could spoil.
If the temperature is too high, the food will cook too quickly on the outside while the inside remains undercooked.
Generally, smoked food is created using temperatures in the 225°F to 330°F range.
3. Follow Proper Ignition Sequence
The manufacturer’s instructions that come with the smoker should be followed as closely as possible. They include information about how to light and preheat the machine safely.
You should never use fire starters that have not been approved such as gasoline or any other combustibles that are not supposed to be used with the smoker.
When using charcoal, make sure that the charcoal becomes red hot with gray ash, a process that can take about 10-20 minutes.
If you follow these instructions, the chances of a fire or other accident occurring will be reduced considerably.
Putting your smoker on grass is not an ideal thing to do, but you now know that you have some workarounds if you really need to do it. Generally, you want to keep your smoker as far away from combustible objects as possible.
So when wondering if smokers can be used on grass:
Smokers can be used on grass if the grass is insulated or protected from the smoker. Generally, smokers and grills produce heat that can dry out and ignite the grass over time especially if a stray ember falls. Use grill mats or stepping stones to create a fire-resistant surface to place the smoker on.
In addition, you know the safety tips that you should consider for the general usage of smokers.
Just be sure to use your smoker in a safe and responsible manner, and you should be good to go.