What’s the Best Propane Smoker? We look at several fantastic propane smokers that we’re confident you’ll love. There’s something here for everyone.
What’s smokin’? Your backyard might be if you own the best propane smoker on your block. As things begin heating up for the summer, smokers are bringing in some serious heat in outdoor cooking. A propane gas smoker cooks your meat of choice to perfect tenderness and a mouth-watering smoky flavor that can only be achieved with one of these bad boys.
Intro | Best Propane Smoker
Smoking meats is not the newest trend in outdoor cooking. In fact, the technique of cooking meats through the smoking and drying process has been around since the caveman era. The art of smoking foods takes dedication as it is a slow and tedious process. The low and slow method of this cooking technique takes patience, but the end result is definitely worth the wait. It’s also a healthier way to cook meat. Here are some tips to get the ultimate experience with the best propane smoker.
36″ propane smoker | Cuisinart COS-244
Best Wood Chips for Smoking
When you want a delicious smoky flavor infused in your foods, you have many choices to opt for. If you’re new to the art of smoking foods the variety of wood chips available for gas smokers can be overwhelming. It all comes down to what you’re cooking and what type of flavor you’re looking to achieve.
Not all woods are meant for smoking foods. Pine, for instance, is not a wood you would use in a smoker as this will render your food inedible. Knowing which wood pairs well with specific types of meat can be a key element in giving you the best propane smoker experience. Here’s a breakdown of different choices starting from mild to bold flavors.
Apple wood, cherry, and other fruit woods produce a mild smokey flavor. These woods work well with lighter foods such as poultry or even pork.
This is another mild smoking wood that’s just a little heavier. This is a suitable wood to use when smoking fish, such as salmon. Alder is another great option that pairs well with seafood as well.
Hickory falls in the medium category between mild and bold along with maple and pecan. Hickory chips are a popular choice as they pair well with most meats. In addition to their flavor profile, hickory and oak also add an appealing element of rich color to the meat.
If you’re looking for a stronger smoke flavor, go with Mesquite. Mesquite pairs really well with beef and it is also used in combination with other flavors.
You can mix up combinations of different woods to experiment with different flavors as well. Some advanced pitmasters will mix hickory with a fruit wood such as apple or cherry for smoking pork.
One mistake you don’t want to make if you’re a rookie is over-smoking your meat. Too much smoke will ruin the meat. Add the wood chips once your smoker has been heated to above 200℉ in 3 to 4 doses at approximately 4 ounces each time every 30 minutes.
Check the water pan at the bottom of the smoker chamber periodically. This serves to maintain moisture during the slow-cooking process to keep your meat from drying out. Some backyard warriors prefer to use apple juice, chicken stock, or beer for their liquid to add an extra element of flavor.
Vertical Propane Gas Smokers
A vertical propane gas smoker provides convenience over the traditional old-school methods or an offset charcoal smoker. These are designed with a cabinet style box consisting of cooking racks to hold various food types, a gas burner and a tray specifically for wood chips and water. The enclosed box design provides better temperature and smoke control for enhanced flavor and consistent cooking.
A vertical propane smoker is relatively inexpensive compared to offset or horizontal models. They are pretty simple to use and easily portable to transport to and back from your favorite campsite or if you like to take your smoker on the go. They’re also easier to store as they have a smaller footprint and can easily fit in the corner of a patio or balcony.
Features to Look For in A Propane Smoker
The best propane smoker for your needs will be based on how and where you use it. The climate you live in can play a major factor in the heat retention of your smoker. The types of meat you intend to cook in it and frequency should also be taken into consideration when it comes to features.
For colder climate areas choose a smoker that is constructed with heavy-gauge metal. Cheaper models are often constructed with thin-gauge material that lack insulation and will not perform well in terms of maintaining heat under harsh cold temperatures. Accessories and modifications may also be available such as welding blankets to help conserve heat.
Adjustable cooking grids is a valuable feature to have in a smoker for cooking a variety of meats. If you plan on cooking a large bird like a turkey or beef shoulder, make sure the shelves can be removed and adjusted to different heights. Some smokers come with specific types of cooking grids or racks. If you’d like to make your own jerky or smoked sausage choosing a smoker that comes with a hanging rack can be a plus.
Smoke Hollow 38202G – 38″
Best propane smoker for the money.
- 3.4 cu. ft. capacity
- Welded steel cabinet with 2-door design
- Cast brass burner with push button ignition
- 4 chrome plated cooking grids with multiple adjustment levels
- 2-door design with cool touch spring wire door handles with new “sure-lock” latch system
- Water and wood chip pans included
- 4-Chrome Plated Cooking Grids with Multiple Adjustment Levels
- Sausage hanger included
- Fuel type: LP gas output at 20,000 BTUs
- Push-button ignition system
- Upper and lower vents for maximum temperature control
- External temperature gauge
The Smoke Hollow smoker offers many desirable features for convenience and added value when it comes to smoking your meats. It provides 3.4 cubic feet of cooking capacity with ample room to smoke your favorite meats in. It comes with 4 chrome-plated cooking grids which you can adjust to various heights as needed offering versatility to load it up with various types of foods. It also includes a sausage hanger.
The smoke box features a separate door from the main door so you can change out wood chips and control the water without having to release heat from the smoker while your food is cooking. It is designed with a cast brass gas control system and push-button ignition for ease of use and temperature control. The convenient features, ease of use, and easy assembly make this smoker a great option for a beginner.
36-inch propane smoker.
Smoke chicken breasts in under two hours, stuffed mushrooms in one hour, or a thick cut of meat in 10+ hours. Best propane smoker that’s built tough and smokes great.
- Four 14 in. x 14 in. removable stainless steel shelves
- Porcelain enameled water and wood tray
- Vent located on back of smoker to provide additional tabletop space on top of smoker
- 40 in. hose and regulator
- Two doors for optimal smoker access
- Twist-lock handle seals door tightly
- Includes a recipe book with tips and recipes
- 5.45 sq. ft. of interior space
This 36” vertical propane smoker comes at a great value given its capability. It is equipped with 4 removable stainless steel cooking racks to cook everything from whole birds to seafood and vegetables with 5.45 square feet of internal cooking space. It is designed with porcelain enamel coated components to ensure better quality for extended periods of smoking at high temperatures. A 40-inch connector hose is included along with a regulator.
A vent has been incorporated in the rear of the smoker that can be opened or closed to control the amount of smoke and heat desired. There are 2 separate doors for the main compartment and the smoker box to maintain optimal heat as you feed the smoker wood chips and water. The doors feature a twist-lock handle that seals heat and smoke in when closed. At just 40-lbs this vertical smoker is lightweight and easy to move around with two side handles for storing and transporting.
Smoke Hollow 3615GW – 36″
One of the best propane smokers if you’re on a budget.
- Large, easy to clean, tempered glass viewing window
- Large capacity external-loading smoke flavor wood chip tray
- 4 chrome-plated cooking grids with adjustable cooking heights
- Professional quality heat indicator
- Porcelain-coated water and wood pans
- Adjustable gas/heat control stainless steel burner
- Push-button igniter
For many, part of the joy of cooking comes from the visual aspect of watching it in action. The main door of this Smoke Hollow vertical smoker features a tempered glass window for viewing. You can keep an eye on the progress of your food without having to open the main door allowing heat and smoke to escape. The external wood chip tray and water pan can be easily removed to add more wood chips as needed. They are also both porcelain coated for better quality.
There are 4 chrome cooking racks that can be adjusted for cooking a variety of foods in different sizes and are easy to clean. It is equipped with push-start ignition for easy start ups and an adjustable heat control burner to allow you to control the ideal temperature range in a various environments.
Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL — 20051316
Can Smoke : 16 whole chickens or 4 whole turkeys or 8 rack of ribs or 45 sausages or 44 burgers or 8 pork butts. (Based on average sizes)
- Thermostat controlled temperature – no need to manually adjust as with traditional propane smokers, and no electricity required
- Safety valve shuts off burner if flame is extinguished
- Tank fuel level gauge indicates the amount of propane in the tank
- Temperature sensor controls burner to maintain desired temperature
If seeing is believing then your eyes will be in for a treat with this propane smoker. A built-in window gives you a clear view of the progress of your food without having to open the main door to check it. This smoker has many safety features incorporated for a simple and safe smoking experience that other traditional smokers don’t offer. It is equipped with a thermostat which you can set to the desired temperature to maintain a consistent level of heat for optimal cooking performance.
You can almost set it and forget it. A safety shut-off valve will turn off the burner if the flame goes out. A fuel gauge is also included to keep track of the amount of propane you have before you begin. It comes with 4 cooking racks to cook plenty of your favorite foods with the spacious interior that can hold up to 4 racks of ribs, 32 burgers, 48 sausages, 4 pork butts, or even 2 whole turkeys.
44″ — One of the best large propane smokers you can buy for the money. Great value.
- 6.5 cubic feet of cooking area capacity to easily handle enough food for largest gatherings
- 7 Cooking Grids: 4-Standard Cooking Grids, 2-Jerky Grids, 1-Rib Rack 1-Sausage Hanger
- Dual door design with Tempered Glass viewing window.2 porcelain coated wood chip pans with lids.Temperature Gauge.Easy Adjustable Smoke Stack
- Dual stainless steel burners operated independently operated for optimum performance and temperature control
- Large porcelain coated water pan.
- Handles on the side make it easy to carry.
- Built-in grease drain system funnels grease into the water pan
Watch this Smoke Hollow 44-inch gas smoker in action as it cooks up enough food to satisfy a large crowd. The door features a tempered glass window so you can watch this smoker at work as it cooks food to perfection. Two 12,000BTU stainless steel burners can be used independently for the ideal temperature control as well as performance. The smoker comes with 4 standard cooking grids, 2 jerky-style grids, and a sausage hanger for optimal versatility and accommodating to large gatherings.
If you’re going to be putting this smoker’s 6.5 cubic feet capacity to the test you will appreciate the 2 wood chip pans for delivering the perfect amount of smoke flavor. It also comes with a large porcelain coated water pan. It has a temperature gauge to give you better temperature management and an adjustable smoke stack. It is recommended to look into a gasket to reduce smoke loss during the cooking process if you want to achieve a bold smoky flavor.
Camp Chef Smoker — Smoke Vault SMV24S
24” propane smoker
- Two adjustable smoking racks
- One jerky smoking rack
- Water pan
- Heavy-gauge steel wood chip tray
- Removable porcelain base tray for easy clean up
- Three adjustable damper valves; one on top and one on each side
- Easy to read door thermometer from 50 to 350 degrees
- Protected burner drum for maximum heat control
- Convenient matchless snap-ignition
- Cooking tips, ideas, and recipes included
- Body Dimensions (w/out legs): 24″ W x 16″ D x 30″ H
- Total Height (with legs): 44″
- Door Dimensions: 22 1/2″ W x 28″ H
- Cooking Rack Dimensions: 21 1/2″ W x 14″ D
- Total Output: 18,000 BTU/hr
- Maximum Temperature Reading: 350 degrees
- Shipping Dimensions: 25″ x 17.5″ x 30.5″
- Weight: 75 lbs.
This Camp Chef 24-inch smoker is built to last and offers a great value for the quality put in to it. Features like 3 damper valves built in, adjustable heat control knobs, and a built-in door thermometer in addition to the protected burner drum provide consistent temperature control. It comes with two adjustable cooking racks that can hold up to 4 chickens at once or a whole turkey. This 24” vertical smoker is compact in size and fairly lightweight making it an ideal option for portability.
Learn more about Camp Chef Smokers
Like most smokers the temperatures can reach from 160 up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit but the Camp Chef delivers the best consistency throughout the smoking process. One of the features that stand out in this vertical gas smoker is the compatibility to convert from propane to natural gas.
Additional Accessories to Keep in Mind
There are some features that make a smoker stand out as the best propane smoker for a particular user, while leaving out a few accessories to be desired. Fortunately, there are many options that can be purchased separately to enhance your overall experience.
Thermometer upgrade. Most propane smokers have a built-in thermometer featured on the door, however these aren’t always accurate. Invest in a separate thermometer to ensure your smoker meets the desired temperature you want to achieve for cooking your meat.
Rib rack. When cooking particularly messy and sticky meats like ribs, a separate rib rack may be a valuable accessory to extend the use of your grilling racks. Porcelain-coated cooking racks, for instance, are not suitable for scrubbing because you risk taking off the finish. Opt for an inexpensive steel rack for use primarily when smoking ribs.
Bigger water tray. Your smoker will most likely come with its own water tray, which you will undoubtedly have to replenish multiple times during the cooking process. If you are using a single-door vertical smoker this could mean frequently opening the door to replace the water which will let heat and smoke escape. You can purchase larger water supply pans that will last longer to deliver juicier meats without compromising the internal temperature.
Always go by the manufacturer’s guidelines to your smoker when purchasing additional accessories. Know the size and specifications needed to fit your smoker with aftermarket products like cooking racks and covers.
Converting a Wood Smoker to Gas
Just as with barbecue grills, going with gas over wood for smoking meats has its pros and cons. It may be a matter of preference, ease of use, or availability. No matter the reason, making the switch from a conventional smoker to the best propane smoker doesn’t have to be costly. If you have a charcoal or wood-fueled smoker, a few minor modifications can be made to convert it to liquid propane gas.
This conversion method is used for a cabinet-style vertical smoker, although it would likely suffice with a few adjustments made if converting a horizontal or offset smoker. Things you will need include (but not limited to) a propane burner, such as one from a turkey fryer, and a drill. A low-pressure propane burner can easily be purchased with a regulator hose included from online retailers. You may also want to replace the charcoal pan with a wire rack to fit your smoker.
Based on what model type of smoker you have and your burner, you will most likely need to drill a hole in the bottom back panel of your smoker large enough to run the burner through. After drilling the hole, place the burner inside the smoker with the connector hose running through the hole outside of the smokebox. Use a wire rack above the burner to rest the wood chip pan on. Now, you should be set.
Always use caution when connecting a propane line. Check for any leaks prior to using your smoker. Also keep an eye on the flame periodically to ensure it hasn’t gone out. This can cause a dangerous buildup of gas. Know and understand how your smoker works and give it a test run before using for the first time.