Best Propane Smoker On The Market

We love smoked food. And chances are you wanted to make some of that delicious food in the comfort of your own backyard. Here, we discuss the factors that should go into your considerations and what features make the best propane smokers.

If you are here for a quick recommendation, then go for the Char-Broil The Big Easy for a start. It is primarily a smoker but can double up as a grill when you need to, that is really handy.

The Models That We Are Introducing In This Guide

What Are The Advantages Of A Propane Smoker?

Advantage #1. It Is Quick And Easy To Set Up

Unlike smokers that use wood-based fuel, you do not have to spend lots of time trying to light it up. It can be done with just the flick or push of a button. Not only that, you do not have to frustrate yourself with controlling and maintaining the temperature at the optimal smoking temperature. Which, by the way, is around 225F to 250F for most recipes.

Controlling the temperature are usually done with control knobs. Generally, for every additional burner the smoker comes with, there should be a corresponding knob.

Advantage #2. Gas Smokers Are Also Portable

The fact that you are using a 20 pound propane tank means that you do not have to be near a grid, unlike electric smokers. A gas smoker brings the exact mobility as a charcoal smoker, albeit not as lightweight. Generally, gas smokers are built with durable wheels, which you can use to move it in and out of the garage when it is off season.

Advantage #3. Propane Is Cleaner And Better For The Environment

Propane is relatively cleaner energy as compared to burning wood based fuels. Propane has a low carbon content, does not have high emissions, and is therefore generally considered safer for the environment.

And you are aware, smoking food takes a long time to cook and that means that you will be burning fuel for as long as hours or days. Air pollutants are one of the most serious environmental problems in the mode and choosing a fuel option that helps to reduce air pollutants will help to shore up negative effects.

Advantage #4. Propane Gas Smoker Has A Lower Running Cost

While it is true that gas smokers usually cost more than charcoal or offset smokers, the running cost of the gas variant is undeniably cheaper over the long run. Hence, for those that are looking to improve their bottom line, gas smokers are the way forward. You will spend more money on fuel on a charcoal smoker than you would have with a propane smoker running on gas over the longer period.

Advantage #5. Gas Is Less Messy To Handle With

If you are already cringing from the thought of using charcoal where the black soot and ashes will envelop you while cooking, then you are probably better off with considering a propane smoker. With a charcoal smoker, you would need to handle the charcoal. This meant that your hands will get dirty – literally. You can use a glove or whatever but somehow that black soot is going to get to your hands – like magic. It happens but you wouldn’t figure out for the life of you how it got there in the first place.

Not forgetting to mention, the cleaning up of the smoker afterward is a real pain too. Imagine that you would need to dispose of the ashes and when you are not looking, some of it will get into your eyes. On the other hand, you don’t have this problem with a gas smoker, you just need to switch it off and it is done. You do need to clean the grates from time to time.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Propane Smokers?

Disadvantage #1. The Lack Of A Smoky Flavor

Face it, we love BBQ because it has that smoky flavor – the holy grail of smoking. Using a propane smoker means that you will likely not get that smell. Don’t get me wrong, it will still get that job done, just that it will lose out a little to the charcoal smoker in the department of taste. Oh, before I forgot to mention, you can add flavored pellets into the firebox to get some wood or fruity flavor out of it.

Disadvantage #2. Reliance On A Propane Tank

Have you considered this? Imagine you have smoked your food for an hour now and there is still another hour to go when the propane gas in the tank runs out. You cursed yourself for not checking the meter before starting the smoke and now you are stuck with half-cooked meat. You can continue to cook it on a stovetop but hell, it will taste weird.

For many beginners, we wouldn’t have thought of keeping at least two propane tanks at home to prevent such a situation happening. Not least that we fear keeping too much gas tanks at home will constitute a fire hazard.

Disadvantage #3. Propane Smoker Has A Higher Initial Cost

For those that are budget-tight. Getting a propane smoker may bite a big chunk of cash in your pockets. Compared to charcoal smokers, propane smokers often cost twice as much due to the numerous and delicate parts. However, the upside of this is that the running cost of it will cover the high initial cost in the long run. So, not really a deal breaker here.

What Should You Look For In A Quality Propane Smoker?

Look For #1. A Decent Serving Size

How many people are you going to smoker food for? Bear in mind that smoked food can take up hours of your time to even produce one batch and chances are if you are going to have guests over for the evening, you only have one opportunity to smoke food.

In this sense, we are recommending that you go for a smoker that can accommodate a large amount of food. Think of what you believe you will need and shoot for one that exceeds that need. A margin of safety so to speak. However, if you are not intending to and will not be inviting any additional people other than your own family over for smoked food, then you can go for one that suits your needs.

As a general rule of thumb – I would often regard 30 – 40 square inches of cooking area to one adult serving. So, depending on how much you are going to need and the intended purpose of the smoker, you get the appropriate size.

Look For #2. Portability And Ease Of Moving It Around

Generally, propane smokers are quite heavy as they need to be made with heavy material to ensure that they can take punishment not only from the heat but also from the weather. This means that you are going to face problems moving it around if the design of the smoker isn’t made for it. Consider those models that have heavy duty wheels so that you can wheel it around easily. However, there is a tangent factor to consider with this which is the stability of the smoker. We will cover that part later in the guide.

Look For #3. Quality Material And Sturdy Design

As you are going to cook the food for a long time, you will need to get one that won’t topple over easily when someone accidentally knocked onto it. If the model you get has wheels, ensure that the wheels are lockable. It would be amusing (or not) to see your smoker slides over to your neighbor backyard.

The other thing to take note is to ensure that the build of the smoker is made of heavy duty material – such as steel. Thick steel is a good choice as it is not only able to take punishment from adverse weather, it is also able to retain heat easily in the smoker so that the food will turn out tasty and evenly cooked.

One more to note here is the material of the grates. Many might overlook this as they think that all grates are made the same. Well, they are not. Over the years, manufacturers who are at the forefront of the game often experiment with materials for the grates. And the results often fall between these few materials.

Stainless Steel. One of the hot favorites is stainless steel. It is known to be durable and can withstand high temperature, even more so than cast iron. However, one of the disadvantages of steel grates is that food tends to stick to them.

Cast Iron. A favorite of manufacturers and users alike. The advantage of a cast iron is the ability to retain heat.

Porcelain-Enameled. This material is good at retaining heat and light. Consider this as the middle ground between Cast Iron and Stainless Steel.

Look For #4. Easy To Assemble

We are all excited when we first received our new smoker. The only thing to do then is to put it all together. It doesn’t get more frustrating when we take hours trying to put it together and it just doesn’t What does that bolt do? What about that nut? That is driving me nuts! The thing you cannot avoid spending time to assemble a new smoker, but you can be sure that a good manual will go a long way to ensuring that the process is that much of a pain.

If you are not that mechanically – inclined, consider engaging a handyman to help you with that. Or if the brand that you are buying with offers assembly service, go for it. It will save you effort and frustration.

Look For #5. More Doors? Is That Good?

Do more doors mean better? What do we mean by that? Usually, cabinet style smokers are often designed with two doors. One of them is the chamber for cooking or also known as the main chamber. The other door leads to the firebox where you will add flavored chips or pellets to the fire. The separation of the two chambers meant that you will not need to open the main chamber just to add stuff. If you are not aware, opening the main chamber while it is smoking will cause the temperature to be uneven and depending on the condition, the temperature may drop drastically, and the cooking time will inevitably be longer and that adds to fuel cost.

Look For #6. Availability Of Replacement Parts

The unfortunate thing is that not all the parts of the smoker will wear down at the same rate. Some essential parts such as the burners, the regulator, and the grates will probably degrade faster than the rest of the smoker. That is because they carry most of the workload in the cooking process.

But when that happens, you would want to make sure that you can get the replacement part easily. The other alternative is to get a whole new smoker, which really isn’t what most of us have in mind. Getting a new one is only justifiable when the replacement part is as or more expensive than a new smoker.

What if you do not want to dish out that cash for those parts? Then, the next consideration is really important.

Look Out For #7. A Good Warranty Or Guarantee

We might put this as the last thing to look out for, but it does not mean that this is the least important. When things start to break down before it is designed to, we will panic not only because we can get things done. We panic because it is going to break the bank if we were to maintain our current standard of living. This is where a good warranty comes really handy. If the smoker that you are going to get does not already come with one – which it really should, it would be good to check with them if you have the option to purchase one. A good warranty is an investment.

Best Propane Smoker For A Sumptuous Dinner

#1. Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker

 

The first model that we are going to introduce comes from Cuisinart and for those that are not aware, this is a big brand that makes good grills too. Featuring four 14 by 14 inches removable stainless racks, that is a total of 784 square inches of smoking space. This amount of space can accommodate up to 19 people worth of food at any one time.

If you are going to smoke a whole turkey or large slabs of meat, you can remove these shelves and what will appear instead is a spacious 5.45 square foot of smoking space. This means that there is plenty of room to smoke a variety of food. Powering the smoker is a 15,400 BTU burner.

To control the temperature, this model offers a temperature gauge on the outside of the door and a controllable knob to tinker with the burner, as well as a rear vent which you can open or close to control the heat. We recommend that you keep that vent close unless you are cleaning it after the smoke. Twist-lock handles seals door tightly.

This vertical smoker stays up and should not wobble with four sturdy steel legs propping it up. There are no wheels with this model so you might need to spend some effort to lift it around the patio. The great thing is this model is not that heavy. For easy clean up, there is a porcelain enamel steel tray that holds the wood chips and water which you can use to dump the waste away.

At the point of writing, you can purchase a 3-year aftermarket warranty on this product to give yourself a peace of mind. Check with the manufacturer if they offer any preexisting free limited warranty if you are hesitant about buying it.

Specifications And Features Of The Model At A Glance

  • BTU Of The Burner: 15,400 BTU
  • Cooking Area: 784 square inches or 5.45 square foot
  • Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 46 inches
  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Warranty: Limited warranty

#2. Pit Boss Grills 77435 Vertical Lp Gas Smoker


The next model comes from Pit Boss. This propane features a total cooking area of 676 square inches that can accommodate up to 17 people worth of smoked food at any one point in time. If you find yourself the need to smoke whole birds, the three porcelain coated shelves can be slide out easily.

Heating the grates and the interior of the main chamber are two burners that offer a total of 13,500 BTU of heat. The burners, themselves, are made of stainless steel so you can be ensured that they can take a whole load of punishment before the need to replace them.

This model is also a two door access model. You can access the wood chip drawer and grease tray from the outside without the need to open the main chamber door. The main chamber door is sealed to prevent any smoke from seeping out. But we know that you want to peek at the food smoking, so there is a large viewing window on the door so that you can look at the meat sizzle.

To control the temperature, you can use the temperature knob at the front in conjunction with the in-built temperature gauge to get that optimal heat. For mobility, this model comes with two rear wheels so that you can move it around easily. Now, you can park it in the garage when you are not using it.

Specifications And Features Of The Model At A Glance

  • BTU Of The Burner: 13,500 BTU
  • Cooking Area: 676 square inches
  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 23 x 47 inches
  • Weight: 52 pounds
  • Warranty: Not stated. Check with the manufacturer before purchase.

#3.  Masterbuilt 20051311 GS30D 2-Door Propane Smoker

 

This Masterbuilt propane smoker features a total cooking area of 717 square inches. The ample cooking space allows up to 18 people worth of food at any one point in time. Powering the smoker is one stainless steel burner. The burner, itself, has a BTU rating of 15,400 which is ample to heat and maintain the smoker to the optimal smoking temperature range.

If you need to smoke large cuts of meat, rest assured that the four chrome smoking racks or shelves can be removed easily, exposing a large chamber for you to hang the meat in. With any good quality smoker, this model has a built in thermostat so that you can also be at the top of the cooking process. Having a bird’s eye view on the bird you are smoking.

To start this smoker, the burner can be ignited with a single push. This model uses the type 1 regulator and hose for piping the propane gas into it. For easier cleaning up after the smoke, there is a porcelain-coated wood chip tray and water pan to collect the waste.

At the point of writing, the manufacturer offers a 12 month limited warranty on this product and you can choose to purchase an additional warranty from them if you think you need it. That is totally optional although we will suggest that you get it.

Specifications And Features Of The Model At A Glance

  • BTU Of The Burner: 15,400 BTU
  • Cooking Area: 717 square inches
  • Dimensions: 21.1 x 21.4 x 43.5 inches
  • Weight: 58.4 pounds
  • Warranty: 12 months limited warranty. Option to purchase an additional warranty.

#4. Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker

 

This two door smoker model is made by Smoke Hollow and features a cooking area of 288 square inches coming from the four chrome plated cooking grids. Once you removed the cooking grids, it will reveal a 3.4 cubic feet interior that could fit most food.

Heating the smoker is a 20,000 BTU burner. What you get is ample heat to get the smoker to the optimal temperature to fit most recipes. To control the temperature, this model comes with an external inbuilt thermostat and two vents – upper and lower. While it might seem basic, these features are enough to keep you at the top of the smoking process.

This smoker can heat up to 450F within minutes for those who like to get their food done faster. Assembling this unit is also a breeze, people often only take an hour or so to put this smoker together. Hey, you might think that an hour is long, but really it is not. Assembling certain models of grills can take up to half a day. One hour is not that long. The wood pan on this model is large enough for most brand of wood chips and pellets.

Specifications And Features Of The Model At A Glance

  • BTU Of The Burner: 20,000 BTU
  • Cooking Area: 3.4 cubic feet
  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 27.3 x 47.1 inches
  • Weight: 68 pounds
  • Warranty: Not Stated. Check with the manufacturer before purchase.

#5. Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill

If you are a fan of multipurpose smokers, then the Char-Broil 3 in 1 smoker will be worth a look at. This model allows you to smoke, grill, or roasts your food with one machine. For roasting and smoking, simply remove the grill grate and pop in the 1,200 square inches smoking and roasting basket. The smoker box is conveniently placed at the side of the grill, allowing you to put your favorite wood chips without the need to open the lid.

If you need to grill, the model comes with a 180 square inches removable grill grate which plenty enough for 4 people.

To carry it around, there are two handles on the sides. This makes the unit portable enough to move around in your backyard and patio. But the weight will probably make you think twice about taking it outdoors.

This model is made with roasting and smoking in mind. Hence, the temperature of this grill would not reach a high temperature as you would expect with other grills. This temperature of this unit can reach up to 450F. Overall, this smoker is great for smoking and adequate for the occasional grilling.

At the time of writing, this model comes with a one-year limited warranty. Be sure to check this as the terms of the warranty may have changed from when we wrote it.

Specifications And Features Of The Model At A Glance

  • BTU Of The Burner: 18,000 BTU
  • Cooking Area: 1,200 Square Inches
  • Dimensions: 23.1 x 23.4 x 36.2 inches
  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Warranty: 1-Year Limited Warranty

#6. Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18″

Smoke Vault

If you are looking for a smoker with a small footprint, then consider the Camp Chef Smoke Vault. And truly, it looks like a vault alright. This model features two smoking racks of 210 square inches each and in total, provides a cooking area of 420 square inches. Bear in mind that these shelves can be adjusted to fit what you are going to put into it.

This simple smoker cooks your meat low and slow with a heavy-gauge steel wood chip tray and water pan to infuse the wood with a smoky aroma. Well, flavored chips sold separately here guys. The cooking temperature can vary from 160F to 400F depending on your recipe. This range is wide enough to accommodate most smoking recipes out there.

For precise temperature control, this model comes with an external thermostat that reads the temperature in the range of 50F to 400F. Combined that with three vents, one on top and two on the sides, what you will get is absolute control. At this time, they are also throwing in a recipe book with the purchase to help you get on the ground running.

Specifications And Features Of The Model At A Glance

  • BTU Of The Burner: 18,000 BTU
  • Cooking Area: 1,200 Square Inches
  • Dimensions: 18 W x 16 D x 30 H inches (without legs). 18 W x 16 D x 44 H inches (with legs).
  • Weight: 65 pounds
  • Warranty: Not Stated. Check With The Manufacturer Before Purchase.

#7. Landmann USA 3895GWLA Smoky Mountain Vertical Gas Smoker

 

This model may not have come from a large brand, but it does the smoking job well. The Landmann Smoky Mountain features a large cooking area of 1,576 square inches. That is more than enough to roast or smoke whole birds.

As with what you will expect from a good quality smoker, it features heat saving easy access drawers to access wood chip box and water pan without having to open the main chamber door. This is to prevent heat and smoke leakage from the main chamber, resulting in a loss of temperature. That means you might need more time to cook that slab of meat.

Fully adjustable heat control with an external front door temperature gauge and coupled with adjustable top chimney and side damper vents allows you full control over the temperature of the smoke. For stability, this features a square, wide stance legs so that it doesn’t wobble during the process. The burners for this are made with cast iron rather than steel, so that contributes to the weight of this smoker if you are wondering why is this model slightly heavier than the rest.

Specifications And Features Of The Model At A Glance

  • BTU Of The Burner: Not Stated
  • Cooking Area: 1,576 Square Inches
  • Dimensions: 26 x 21 x 47.25 in
  • Weight: 92.6 pounds
  • Warranty: Not Stated. Check With The Manufacturer Before Purchase.

Propane Smoker For Convenience

In this guide, we have covered all bases on what you have to know in selecting a propane smoker. We have also suggested certain models for you to get started. But, in the event that you are still undecided on one and wanted to hear our opinion, we suggest that you go for the Char-Broil The Big Easy for a start. It is primarily a smoker but can double up as a grill when you need to, that is handy for those who are undecided and wanted more versatility in their choice.

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