Learn everything you need to know about how to make smoked green beans!
We smoke our green beans low and slow in a cast iron skillet with lots of butter and seasoning for a delicious side dish.
Whether you are using a Traeger, Camp Chef, or Pit Boss pellet grill, an electric smoker like a Masterbuilt, or just a Weber propane grill, we've got you covered.
Smoked Green Beans are so much better when you buy fresh green beans rather than using frozen or canned.
You can even throw them on the smoker alongside your main dish or other sides.
We'll show you how to prepare them and cook them perfectly with a great smoky flavor.
Wash and Trim the Green Beans
Give the green beans a good wash in a colander under cold running water and then dry them off with some paper towels on a cutting board.
Next you will need to trim off the ends.
The easiest way to do this is to line the green beans all up by one end, about one handful at a time, and just cut the tips of each green bean with a good carving knife.
Then line them up by the other ends and repeat on the other side.
Continue doing this until all the ends are cut off of each green bean.
Use a Cast Iron Skillet
In order to make really great smoked green beans (and lots of other great BBQ dishes as well) in your grill or smoker, you will preferably need a 12 inch cast iron skillet.
When it comes to using cast iron, like we do for everything from our our smoked baked beans to smoked queso, to even our famous smoked peach cobbler, we like most of the products from Lodge, such as this Lodge 12 inch skillet for smoked green.
It's already pre-seasoned and has nice high sides to keep all those green beans contained.
The best part is you can bring it right from the grill or smoker to the table and serve directly from the cast iron skillet for a great rustic presentation!
Seasonings the Green Beans
We like to smoke our green beans in the cast iron skillet with olive oil, butter, and one of our favorite BBQ seasonings, Three Little Pigs Kansas City Championship Rub.
It's a great savory BBQ rub with enough salt to season the green beans and lots of great garlic and onion flavors that pair wonderfully with smoked vegetables.
First lay your trimmed green beans out in the cast iron pan and drizzle with some olive oil. We prefer regular olive oil to extra virgin when cooking with olive oil because it has a higher smoke point.
Next sprinkle on some Three Little Pigs (or your favorite BBQ rub) and then toss with tongs to coat all the green beans in the oil and seasoning.
Finally, take about 4 tablespoon of salted butter, cut into small cubes, and evenly distribute the butter on top of the seasoned green beans so that it can melt over them as they cook.
Now your cast iron skillet is ready to go in the grill or smoker!
Choosing Wood and Wood Pellets
Fruitwoods such as apple and cherry as well as oak will give you a subtle smoke flavor on your smoked green beans.
If you want a more distinctive smokey flavor, hickory pairs wonderfully with green beans.
Or choose a mix of woods like we used with our go-to Bear Mountain Gourmet BBQ Blend.
Because green beans are a heartier, fibrous vegetable, you don't have worry as much about overpowering them with a stronger flavored wood as you might with a delicate fish filet or even chicken, so have some fun!
Best Times and Temperatures
What Temperature Should you Smoke Green Beans?
Green Beans really don't take that long to cook, so in order to maximize their time on the grill and get the most smoky flavor possible, we chose to smoke them "low and slow."
So we set up our smoker for 225°F with INDIRECT heat.
If you are pressed for time, you can absolutely raise the temperature to 250*F or even 275°F.
If using a rub with sugar in it, stay at or below 300°F for any extended period of time to prevent burning the rub in the cast iron skillet.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke Green Beans?
At 225°F, the green beans will take about one hour to cook.
Unlike a lot of our meat recipes where we use an instant read thermometer to tell us when our food is finished cooking, with smoked green beans, you will need to eyeball them and check by taste as you get closer to the one hour mark.
Ideally you want the green beans to soften but not turn mushy.
Stir and toss the smoked green beans every 10-15 minutes to make sure they cook evenly, and start checking and sampling after about 40 minutes of cooking.
Once they taste how you like them, take them off the grill or smoker.
Keep in mind if you leave them in cast iron skillet after removing, they will continue cooking a little bit due to the residual heat from the skillet.
Setting up your Grill or Smoker
New to smoking?
You'll need to set up your grill or smoker a little different depending on whether you are using a grill, smoker, or a pellet grill like a Traeger or Pit Boss.
Here are the best instructions for setting up different types of grills and smokers to make smoked green beans so go ahead and skip down to the type you are using!
Vertical or Offset Charcoal Smoker
Fill your firebox or lower charcoal basin with about half a chimney's worth of unlit charcoal and create a small hollowed out depression in the center where you can add your lit briquets.
If your smoker comes with a water pan, like the Weber Smokey Mountain, don't bother with filling it.
Light a charcoal chimney a quarter of the way with charcoal and wait about 15 minutes for it to fully ignite.
Once lit, add the briquets to the center depression you created.
Keep the dampers about ½ way to ¾ open until the temperature is in the 200°F range.
Add 1 chunk of smoking wood once the smoker is up to temperature, put the cast iron skillet with the seasoned green beans in the smoker.
Then slowly close down the top and bottom dampers to about ⅓-1/4 open until you are maintaining a temperature of 225°F.
Propane and electric options are some of the easiest smokers for beginners to start with.
For Propane: Open your gas valve and light the bottom burner. Adjust it to keep the temperature constant at 225°F.
Need a refresher? Check our our Complete Guide to How to Use a Propane Smoker HERE.
Place your cast iron skillet directly on the uppermost rack and close the door.
You will need to refill the wood chips every 30 minutes or so as they smolder out in the chip loader, which will end up being about 2 times during the 60 minute cook.
However, we recently found a great solution.
If you are tired of having to reload fresh wood chips into your electric smoker, especially on longer cooks like pork butt and brisket, then check out this Masterbuilt Automatic Slow Smoker Attachment.
It basically burns new fresh wood chips at a constant rate, much like how a pellet grill works, freeing you up to do other things while getting your food nice and smokey!
Fill the pellet hopper with your choice of smoking wood pellets.
Plug in the pellet grill, let it run through its start up process, and then turn the temperature to 225°F.
Make sure you have the flame broiler CLOSED so that the pellet grill isset up for INDIRECT cooking.
For instance, on a Pit Boss and camp Chef pellet grills there is a special lever to pull to switch from DIRECT to INDIRECT heat.
You want the flame broiler CLOSED for INDIRECT heat.
When the pellet grill has come up to temperature, place your cast iron skillet in the cooking chamber and close the lid.
Never used a pellet grill before or need a refresher? Read our Ultimate Guide to Pellet Grills to learn why they are so easy and how to set one up for success every time.
Gas or Charcoal Grill
On a gas or charcoal grill you will likely need to use a smoker box filled with wood chips, or a pellet tube smoker filled with wood pellets.
Think you need a fancy smoker to smoke food at home?
Great smoked food can be made right on your current gas or charcoal grill.
If you are unfamiliar with these gas grill smoking devices mentioned above, no worries, we have you covered!
Or check out this handy comparison between smoker boxes and pellet tube smokers if you can't decide which is right for you.
In the case of smoked green beans, we would opt for the pellet smoker tube since we need longer than the 30 minutes one batch of wood chips in a smoker box will last us.
This will save you the hassle of having to refill the smoker box multiple times while smoking the green beans.
Set up your gas or charcoal grill for indirect cooking with the burners or a small amount of lit briquets on one side and plan for your skillet of smoked green beans to be on the other side.
Remember, we are smoking the green beans INDIRECTLY, like an oven, not DIRECTLY over the burners or coals.
While the charcoal is igniting, or before you turn on the gas grill burners, light up the end of your pellet smoker tube with a good butane torch (you can't use a regular lighter for pellets) and place it in the grill as well to add smoky flavor while the green beans cook.
Let the pellets ignite for about 5 minutes than blow out the flame and lay the pellet tube smoker down on the grates next to the green beans and close the lid.
Continue bringing the temperature up to 225°F and smoke your green beans right in the cast iron skillet uncovered.
You can serve your smoked green beans straight from the warm cast iron skillet for a fun and rustic presentation!
Finish them with a squeeze of lemon if you want to add some acidity and brightness.
Easy Smoked Green Beans
- Gas Grill with Smoker Box or Pellet Tube Smoker -OR-
- Charcoal Grill -OR-
- Smoker (charcoal, propane, electric, or pellet)
- Smoking wood chips, chunks, or pellets, preferably mesquite or hickory
- Paper Towels
- Carving Knife
- Cutting Board
- 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
- Heat Resistant Grilling Gloves
- BBQ Tongs
- 1.5 lbs Fresh Green Beans
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil regular, not extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon Three LIttle Pigs BBQ Rub or your favorite BBQ seasoning
- 4 tablespoon Salted Butter
- Fresh Squeezed Lemon optional, to finish
Set up the Grill or Smoker
- Light or turn on your smoker, grill or pellet grill and set up the temperature to 225°F. If using a grill, only light a medium amount of charcoal or light one or two burners on one side for indirect cooking
- Add your wood chunks directly to the firebox of a smoker, or use chips in a smoker box, or pellets in a tube smoker or pellet grill.
Wash and Trim the Green Beans
- Give the green beans a good wash in a colander under cold running water and then dry them off with some paper towels on a cutting board.1.5 lbs Fresh Green Beans
- Line the green beans all up by one end, about one handful at a time, and cut the tips of each green bean off with a good carving knife.
- Then line them up by the other ends and repeat on the other side. Continue doing this until all the ends are cut off of each green bean.
Season the Green Beans
- Spread the trimmed green beans out in the cast iron pan and drizzle with the olive oil.2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Next sprinkle on some Three Little Pigs (or your favorite BBQ rub) and then toss with tongs to coat all the green beans in the oil and seasoning.1 tablespoon Three LIttle Pigs BBQ Rub
- Cut the salted butter into small cubes and evenly distribute the butter on top of the seasoned green beans so that it can melt over them as they cook.4 tablespoon Salted Butter
Smoke the Green Beans
- Once your grill or smoker is up to 225°F and making smoke, place the cast iron skillet inside. Place it on the opposite side of the heat if using a grill so it is cooking indirectly. Close the lid.
- Rotate and toss the green beans occasionally with tongs to cook evenly.
- Smoke the green beans for roughly 45-60 minutes or until tender but not mushy.
Remove and Finish
- When the green beans appear done, remove the cast iron skillet from the grill or smoker.
- Optionally drizzle with some fresh squeezed lemon juice.Fresh Squeezed Lemon
- Serve immediately.