VANCOUVER -- With barbecue season in full swing, you may be wondering how else you can use your grill. It's not that hard to turn it into a smoker, and Consumer Reports' dedicated grill-master suggests trying your hand at slow-smoking.

"Smoking imparts a really deep, rich flavour to foods that you won't find from grilling alone," he says. "And foods that are smoked for many hours actually break down slowly and become really tender." 

Of course, some grills are better suited for smoking than others. For example, charcoal and kamado grills work well because you can just add wood chips or chunks into the charcoal at any point and get a nice smoky flavour.

Even a gas grill that’s great at indirect heating can handle the job. And consumer enthusiasm for slow-smoking has not gone unnoticed by grill-makers.

"A lot of manufacturers have noticed there’s been a big spike in the interest for smoking," Hope says. "And what some have started to do is actually build in integrated smoker boxes that you can fill with wood chips to smoke on a gas grill."

The Weber Summit S-470 has a built-in smoke tray and costs $2,900. But you don’t need to spend nearly that much for a top performer.

For a lot less money, the NexGrill 720-0882A from Home Depot for $500 outperforms the Weber when it comes to indirect cooking and temperature range. It doesn’t have a dedicated smoker box, but for about $10, you can get an aftermarket smoker box and just add wood chips directly to that.

If charcoal is more your fuel of choice, the barrel-style Dyna-Glo DGN576DNC-D grill makes smoking a cinch and also costs about $500.

With files from Consumer Reports