How to Choose the Best Propane Smoker

A propane smoker can make it possible to cook your own slow-cooked, smoked, tasty meats at home. But if you rush into making a decision, you could end up with a product that isn’t right for you and doesn’t meet your needs. Before adding a new propane smoker to your cart, take some time to think about the important features of a smoker. Think about how you want your smoker to perform and what you are looking for in the product you purchase. To help you accomplish this task, we have laid out a few features to compare across different products.

Overall Size

One of the first decisions you should make is to determine how large of a smoker you want to purchase. Think about some of the meals you’re planning to cook in your new smoker. Also, think about how many people you may be cooking for. If you’re likely to be cooking for a large gathering, then you’ll want to consider some larger options. If you’ll mostly be cooking for just a few people in your home, then you can probably manage with a smaller option.

Number of Cooking Racks

Related to the size of the smoker, is the number of cooking racks it has. This will also impact how much food you’ll be able to cook at once since you won’t be able to just pile things on top of one another. Obviously, an option with multiple cooking racks will provide you with more space to smoke multiple items or different types of meat at the same time.

Adjustable Racks

Selecting an option that offers adjustable racks can provide you with even more flexibility regarding the sizes of meats and quantities you can cook. If a smoker offers adjustable racks, it will mean you can position them to include a taller item and a few smaller ones, allowing them to be cooked together.

Cabinet Design/Durability

Selecting a product that is durable and designed to last is a very important step in choosing the best smoker. You want to find an option that will hold up well to frequent use. Look for products that feature a thick and welded cabinet design. This will help ensure that the cabinet will stay intact and will not crack and allow heat to escape.

Versatility

Next, consider whether you are planning on using your purchase exclusively as a smoker, or whether you’d prefer to purchase something that is a little more versatile. Some smokers on the market can also be used as a grill. If you enjoy grilling too, this may be a good option to consider. You’ll be able to purchase one item that can fulfill the jobs of two products.

BTUs

When looking for a smoker, be sure to pay attention to the BTUs. A BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a term that refers to how much heat is needed to increase the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Smokers that offer more BTUs may be able to get hotter or cook foods faster.

Temperature Gauge

Having a temperature gauge on your unit is important. Without a temperature gauge, you’ll just be guessing how hot the interior is and how long your foods will take to cook. With a temperature gauge, you’ll easily be able to monitor the interior temperature and adjust the airflow to cool it down or warm it up.

Separate Door for Adding Wood Chips and Water

Many available smokers have only one main cabinet door. When you need to add more chips or water to keep the smoker going, you have to open the door. This lets heat and smoke out and will slow down the process. If you choose an option that offers a separate door for adding more wood chips or water, you’ll be able to add these items without interrupting the smoking process.

Ease of Using

Especially if you’re new to using a smoker, you will want to choose an option that is easy to use. Look for a product that features a push-button ignition. This will allow you to light the burner and get the smoke going by just pressing a button.

Portability

Before you make a purchase, you will need to decide whether you’ll want to be able to bring your smoker to events or a friend’s or family member’s house. If you want to be able to transport your smoker, you’ll probably want to look for a more compact option that has sturdy handles.

Included Accessories

Finally, pay attention to the accessories that come with the different options you are considering. Most smokers will include the bowls and trays for water and wood chips, but you will want to verify this. You may also want to look for an option that comes with sausage hangers to allow you to smoke some yummy sausages or brats.

How to Use a Smoker

Cooking with a propane smoker is a simple way to produce flavorful meats. To use a propane smoker, you’ll need to have some wood chips or wood chunks on hand. You’ll want to put them in the tray that comes with your smoker, and place it above the burner. Then, cover the tray with the metal piece and light the burner. Close the smoker’s door so the inside will get hot. The burner will cause the wood to smoke and give your meats that delicious, smoky flavor. You can adjust the air vent to help control the temperature inside the smoker depending on how quickly you want to cook your foods. If you would like to see someone explain the necessary steps to get your smoker going, this video is a great resource.

What are the Best Cuts of Meat to Cook on a Smoker?

A smoker can be used to cook about anything, but certain cuts of meat are better than others. In general, meats that are fattier and tougher will work best with a smoker. When slow-cooked in your smoker, these meats will become tender and wonderfully flavored by your wood chips. Some meats that you can try cooking in your new smoker include brisket, pork butt, salmon, legs of lamb, chicken, sausage, and of course ribs.

Mouth-Watering Recipes to Try

Okay, now that you know what to look for in a smoker, how to cook with it, and some of the best cuts of meat to use, we’re sure you’re already thinking about what you want to cook as soon as your new smoker arrives. Have no fear! We are here to help. Below, you’ll find some delicious recipes you can try out on your smoker. By the end of dinner, your guests will be ready to set a date for the next cook-out at your place.

 

  • Smoked Baby Back Ribs: This smoked ribs recipe from Instructables Cooking is sure to be a fast favorite at your home. By combining a few simple ingredients, including brown sugar, honey, and apple juice, you’ll be able to make incredible Baby Back Ribs. The only problem will be making sure you have enough when everyone wants a second or third helping!
  • Smoked Pork Butt: Vindulge’s recipe for smoked pork butt includes directions for using it to create a truly unique pulled pork sandwich. This recipe starts with a nicely marbled pork butt that is injected with apple cider vinegar and apple juice. A recipe for a tasty dry rub is also included in the steps for this recipe. Your pulled pork sandwiches are sure to be a big hit when you follow this recipe.
  • Smoked Turkey: If you’re looking to change up your Thanksgiving traditions, or are just looking to smoke a turkey for another reason, you’ll love this recipe from I Heart Recipes. You’ll be slow cooking this turkey, so be sure to leave at least six hours for your turkey to cook, depending on its size. Before popping your turkey into the smoker, you’ll be coating it with a turkey butter made with ingredients including butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This will help make your turkey moist and flavorful.

Now, Find the Best Propane Smoker

The Smoke Hollow 38202G Propane Gas Smoker will help you cook succulent meats. This option is designed to be easy to use and give you ultimate control as you are slow-cooking your meats.

It features two different doors. This design will allow you to leave the cooking door closed and prevent smoke or heat from escaping when you add water or wood. There are two vent controls that will let you manage the internal heat and moisture levels.

With this product, you’ll be able to cook a variety of foods of all different sizes and shapes. There are four cooking grids, and you can adjust the different heights to accommodate whatever you need to cook. Your purchase will also include a sausage hanger, allowing you to easily cook up some tasty sausages.

The cabinet of this item has a 3.4-cubic foot capacity, so you’ll be able to cook a good amount of food at once. The cabinet is constructed using a welded steel, so it will last for a very long time. This product’s cooking grids have been chrome-plated to keep them durable and easy to clean. The burner is made from a cast brass material.

This smoker uses propane fuels and offers a total of 20,000 BTUs. You can ignite it and get started smoking with just the press of a button. To protect your hands and prevent accidental burns, the door handle is designed to stay cool. You will also receive pans for water and wood chips when you purchase this product.

This smoker is 47 inches tall, 27 inches wide, and 18.5 inches deep. The inside cabinet measures 38 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and 14 inches deep.

Pros:

  • A sausage hanger is included with this smoker
  • The cabinet has a 3.4-cubic foot capacity
  • The cooking grids are chrome plated

Cons:

  • Keeping the temperature stable and where you want it can be challenging.

If you are looking for a smoker that you can use at home or bring with you to an event or gathering, consider the Masterbuilt 20050116 Patio-2-Portable Propane Smoker. This product is designed to be compact and has folding legs to make it easy to bring along with you. These features will also make it easy to store this item when it is not in use.

There are two cooking racks that will provide you with a good amount of space to cook for a group. With one rack removed, this smoker will provide you with enough space to smoke a whole turkey. Otherwise, you’ll be able to fit two racks of ribs, four whole chickens, or two pork butts

To help you monitor the temperatures at which your foods are cooking, there is a temperature gauge. This will let you know when you need to increase the fuel or back it off to prevent the unit from getting too hot for what you are cooking.

It is quick and easy to light this smoker and get ready to create some delicious concoctions. Just press the orange button on the side and the smoker will ignite.

This smoker is 23.23 inches tall and 23.43 inches wide. It will fit nicely in your yard or in your car if you plan to bring it to a party or gathering. Masterbuilt makes covers for this product that you can purchase separately.

Pros:

  • The folding legs and compact size make this the perfect option to bring along with you.
  • For a compact product, you’ll be able to smoke a good amount of food.
  • The push-button ignition makes it simple to light the burner.

Cons:

  • There are only two cooking racks; some other options have more racks and will hold more food.

The Smoke Hollow 30164G 30-Inch Propane Gas Smoker will provide you with 1.7-cubic feet of cooking space. The interior dimensions of this smoker are 30 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 14 inches deeps. The exterior measure 39.5 inches tall, 21 inches wide, and 18 inches deep.

To give you plenty of space to cook a delicious meal for lots of your friends and family, this option provides you with three cooking grids. The grids are chrome-plated for added durability. The cabinet on this product features a double-walled steel design. The product has been fully welded. This design and craftsmanship ensure that it will hold in heat well and that it will last for many years to come.

This product’s auto-ignition feature allows you to ignite the stainless-steel burner with just the press of a button. The burner gives you access to 10,000 BTUs of constant heat. The smoker’s heat indicator will allow you to monitor the temperatures at which your foods are smoking and adjust as necessary. The temperature gauge is conveniently located on the front door of the unit where you’ll be able to easily see it.

There is a cool-to-the-touch door handle that will prevent you from getting burned when you open the smoker to check on your meats or add more water or wood chips.

Pros:

  • There are three chrome-plated cooking grids
  • The cabinet is fully welded and features a double-walled steel design
  • The door handle is designed to stay cool

Cons:

  • This is only a 10,000-BTU product

If you are looking for a versatile smoker that can also be used as a grill, then you’ll love Char-Broil’s The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill. For smoking and roasting, this product provides you with a 1,200-square inch basket. This size is large enough to fit huge pieces of meat. It is even big enough to allow you to roast your next turkey for Thanksgiving.

If you choose to use this option as a grill, you’ll be able to enjoy a 180-square inch stainless steel surface for grilling. The surface uses TRU Infrared technology to help you ensure perfectly cooked and flavorful foods. The TRU Infrared surface will also prevent flare-ups. Additionally, foods will not be able to slip between the grates, as they frequently do with other grilling surfaces.

The smoker box for this product uses a side-mounted design. This allows you to add wood chips or pellets while you are smoking meats without needing to open the smoker’s lid.

Adjusting the settings will allow you to grill or smoke foods with 9,000 to 18,000 BTUs. This will let you customize the settings to end with a perfectly grilled or smoked meat.

To use this product, you’ll just need to connect it to a liquid propane tank. Then, after turning just two knobs, you’ll be all ready to grill or smoke a divine meal. To help you easily move this product around in your yard, it features two carrying handles that are mounted to the sides. You can even use the handles to carry it to your car. Then, you’ll be able to bring this product along to the next tailgate or picnic.

Pros:

  • You can use this option as a smoker or a grill
  • The grill surface is stainless steel and has TRU Infrared technology which will help prevent flare-ups
  • The smoking basket is large enough to allow you to smoke a whole turkey

Cons:

  • Putting the wood chip tray back into the unit when it is full can be a challenge

Conclusion

We reviewed some really great options. However, our favorite product is the Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker. There are a lot of great features that you’re sure to enjoy when you purchase this smoker.

Since it has a two-door design, when you need to add more wood chips or water to the smoker, you won’t need to open the door where your foods are cooking. This way you aren’t interrupting the cooking process or letting heat or smoke escape from the smoker. You can also easily manage the interior’s heat by adjusting the two vents.

This product is large and will provide you with a lot of space to cook for a large crowd. It has four cooking grids that can be adjusted to fit foods of different sizes.

The cabinet is made from a durable welded steel, so you won’t need to worry about it breaking or letting heat escape as you’re cooking.

We think you and your guests will truly enjoy the amazing smoked foods you’ll be able to cook using the Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker!

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