THE GAS/PROPANE SMOKER
What is a Gas/Propane Smoker?
Gas smokers make use of a vertical, cabinet-style design with a gas bottle connected to a burner at the bottom of the cooking chamber. Above that sits a tray or two trays; one for some water and the other for wood chips to add that smoky flavour to your food.
Because they’re run off propane, gas smokers are portable. But you might want to opt for a smaller model if you’re planning on taking it camping.
Unlike electric smokers, most gas smokers don’t do automatic temperature regulation. Instead, you need to give it enough gas to heat and maintain the temperature you’d like and make any adjustments necessary throughout the cook e.g. bump it up if the weather cools down while you’re cooking. Some newer models such as the Master built ThermoTemp Propane Smoker do regulate the temperature throughout the cook for you for a complete set and forget experience.
And, if you’re dreaming of hooking up your gas smoker to the mains at home, just be aware that most gas smokers are set up for propane only. The exception to this is the Camp Chef Smoke Vault which has an optional natural gas conversion kit you can use to tap into the mains.
Grilling on a Gas/Propane Smoker
Although it would be nice if your gas smoker could double as a gas grill, most don’t. Because the burner is situated at the bottom of the cooking chamber, inside the cabinet, it’s not easy to just whip the trays out and cook up a steak.
But, because you’ll already be set up with propane bottles, you could just invest in a separate gas grill as well.
Pros of using a Gas/Propane Smoker
Easy to use
Fast to set up and reach a good cooking temperature
Small footprint for a large cooking capacity
Clean burning which reduces soot deposits on your food
Cons of using a Gas/Propane
Most require manual setting of the temperature
Most propane smokers can’t use natural gas as well
Most don’t work as a gas grill as well
Cheaper models are made of thin metal and often don’t seal well which means they’re not very efficient in cooler climates
You might need to swap tanks of gas during long cooks
Who Should Buy a Gas/Propane Smoker?
Propane smokers are ideal for anyone who wants a fuel-efficient smoker that’s easy to use and does double as a portable unit. They’re also great for anyone who’s already got a gas grill and wants to use their propane bottles in a dedicated smoker as well. Check out the Masterbuilt XL Propane Smoker or the Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker below.