Many say that smoking meat should be left to the professional chefs, well, we say otherwise. With some handy hints and informative decisions having the right smoker for your backyard is not as hard as it sounds. Other the last 6 months we have tested the belong smokers with different foods and under different conditions. The focus was on gas smokers over electric smokers as we believe they over a great entry level price for smoking meat with excellent results. Firstly we’ll discuss our findings and then jump into some general information about what exactly makes up the best propane smoker.
|PROPANE SMOKER||QUALITY||PRICE||OUR RATING|
|Masterbuilt 20050211 Black Propane Smoker [ Amazon Link ]||A+||$$$|
|Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36" Vertical LP Gas Smoker [ Amazon Link ]||A||$$$|
|Smoke Hollow 38202G LPG 2-Door Propane Smoker [ Amazon Link ]||A||$|
|Landmann USA Smokey Mountain Vertical Gas Smoker [ Amazon Link ]||A||$$|
Masterbuilt Black Propane Smoker
Right off the bat, this is one of our top picks on the list. It made the most delectable smoked ribs we’ve ever tasted (and we’ve tried a lot of ribs!).
On arrival, the box looked a little worn, but my smoker was intact. Alignment of items on the smoker with the ground is essential during installation. If this doesn’t happen, then you may find the front door does not close correctly. It will take you about an hour to put together
We loved the push button ignition and a built-in temperature gauge – quickly on, quickly off. The vast amount of shelving space is a highlight feature of this smoker. The capacity of this propane smoker vault lends itself to a large cook up the family would love. You can fit plenty of meat in here compared to its rivals on the market. In fact, there is 1, 307 Square inches of total cooking space.
Features We Loved on this Smoker
When it came time to cook, that’s when the Masterbuilt Pro stamped itself as the best smoker. It nails all the basics of a smoker. This includes a standard built-in temperature gauge and cool touch handles. The handles are on the outside to make it easier to open the door. But the impressive feature of this smoker is the ability to lock in the heat. Just inside the door, you will find an inner lining. The tightly fitted lining keeps the smoky flavors inside the smoker. As those of us who scoured the propane smoker reviews will know. Many propane smokers will leak heat at an alarming rate. Some even need you to install insulator to stop the heat from escaping.
We recommend investing in some small caster wheels from your local hardware store. This will ease the stress of moving the Masterbuilt Pro around. Also look to invest in some Weber drip pans (the 7.1″ x 11″ x 2″ size). These new pans replace the old pans in the same position. Thus increasing your ability to take water and reduces your clean up.
If you become super attached to your Masterbuilt Pro, there’s a handy little propane smoker cover (Amazon Link) you can purchase to cover for your smoker.
| Huge amounts of space
Really locks in the heat
Great customer service
| Need to be perfectly aligned to ground
Heavy to move around
Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP
The Dyna-Glo is a well designed, generously sized and manoeuvrable smoker, that looks the part to boot. The two door design is a stand out feature. It allows you manage the chip box and water without disturbing the main cooking area.
This model comes in at a lower price range contender for the top spot. Dyna-Glo reduced costs with the type of materials used in the build. For example, the quality of fabrication of the outer shell of the vault was not on par with competitors. However, the useful electronic push button igniter compensates for this very well. It was much faster to heat up than we have seen on similar models. The 784 Square inches of total cooking capacity was impressive too. Four adjustable steel wire racks support the frame very sturdily.
We enjoyed the compliments at our first debut barbecue with the Dyna-Glo. It’s a great looking and heat saving smoker. The porcelain enameled steel wood chip box with handles and a lid looks top notch. The porcelain water bowl minimizes the heat loss due to evaporation.
Impressive was the constant heat no matter the weather. However, we did find that it will not go higher than around 225 degrees. For a non-insulated smoker, it does a reasonable job with its heat maintenance.
Dyna-Glo’s customer service is excellent. When our item arrived, it had a dent on the side (from looks like a shipping handling issue). The customer service team immediately sent out a replacement shell. No questions asked, you beauty!
Conclusion – Is This One of the Best Smokers?
We recommend using big chainsaw chips in the vault for this smoker. Make sure you apply a minimal quantity of water, wine or beer to the chips. This will ensure that they do not burn up too fast. Try to avoid using chunks or logs with the water pan. If you do this, you will find there is more than enough space to cook almost anything.
| Great customer service
Two door design is awesome
Maintains heat very well
| Damage during shipping
Lower cost materials in build
Smoke Hollow LPG 2-Door
Welcome to the next level of smoking! The Smoke Hollow is on our list for many reasons. Namely it’s huge capacity for both food and chips.
Once out of the giant box, it’s fairly easy to set up and install. It should not take you longer than an hour. Like other reviewed propane smokers, this smoker has the two-door system. That means you are not losing heat when refilling the wood and water trays. Regarding space, you have a 38-inch capacity. A 3-course meal sorted by a four-rack system.
Noticeable difference to the other models reviewed here is the good quality metal in the shell design. It’s not the thickest we have seen, but not weak or in any way loses excessive amounts of heat. On top of this, you can also adjust the shelves. This is a small but important point as it allows you to cook any size meal you desire.
We have read reports that some smoke does leak out of some areas around the door. To solve this, you need to adjust the oven gasket to seal the door tighter.
In summary, this is a contender for the best gas smoker in this price range. The storage space alone is a winner in our books. An excellent buy for a chef looking to cook up a storm.
| Massive capacity
Easy set up and installation
Good quality box design
|Smoke occasionally leaks|
Landmann USA Smokey Mountain Vertical
Landmann know how to make a top quality smoker and this USA Smokey Mountain is just a fine example of their work. Well built, well sized and very well packaged, the attention to detail on all fronts was very good.
There is 1576 Square Inches of cooking space, enough for plenty of gourmet meals. Our first test cook delivered some excellent results. We could fit five full-size brisket flats and one chicken all at the same time with ease. When cooking, the pan and fire box was impressively firm and sturdy. In our area, we face some pretty brutal winds. It was impressive that the whole smoker kept standing through these conditions.
The packaging of the box was very secure. We read about other customers receiving damaged goods. However, it seems Landmann and Amazon may have learned from their mistakes and doubled down on packaging and shipment. It was effortless to put together, more comfortable than the previous models we had tested.
The porcelain steel water tray and heavy duty steel wood tray with a lid seem well made. It was a noticeable difference to the other smokers. These models had an adjustable top chimney and side vents with plastic tab guards. Moving down to the bottom of the item, you will also notice a water pan. This feature means it has the capacity to hold more than enough water. It also saved me much cleanup time after the cook.
We had some minor issues when testing. Firstly, the magnetic closures are very weak. This is frustrating because when you have the smoker up and running, the door will open. The solution that we used was to wrap some bungee cord around the entrance to ensure it stays sealed. This seemed to work a charm. Secondly, we found that the temperature control was a little too sensitive to changes. A minor movement of the gauge and the temperature jumps disproportionately to how much you moved it. The only solution for this issue was to practice until perfect.
All up a great smoker with a large capacity vault. It’s well worth the investment of an extra few dollars. It’s a big tick of approval.
| Room glory for lots of food
Sturdy pan and fire box
Adjustable top chimney
| Magnetic closures were a little weak
Temperature control was too sensitive to change
Why Use Gas?
Gas has been around since early 1820’s but mostly on an experimental basis (how scary!). It was only around the 1880’s that gas stoves rode into the retail world. And as you can imagine they were somewhat cumbersome in those early days. But around 1910, the manufacturers started creating gas stove’s coated in enamel for easy cleaning.
Today’s modern gas ovens and stovetops are very popular after, and they look damn good too. They have two types of ignitions, either pilot or electric. Pilot ignitions, being the most reliable as they do not require electricity.
Take a look at the old Gas Stove from the 1900’s (above). Now take a look at a typical Propane Smoker (right). See the similarities? It’s not surprising as they run on the same principal. However, the name itself is the first distinguishable significant difference. A smoker vault can give your food that extra smoky something in which an oven cannot.
How Does a Gas Smoker Work?
One of the first features you will know inside a propane smoker vault is the pan or pans at the bottom. These items are designed to be filled with water and wood. Underneath these pans still the burner which is of course powered by gas. Once lit, the burner will cause the wood and water to create steam and this steam is what smokes the food.
Now to regulate the temperature, smokers have vents on the sides and top. As a double bonus, many smokers include a gauge for monitoring the temperature to the precise degree. Be careful, however, as it’s often better to use a temperature probe on the food directly for the most accurate reading.
During the cook, the chef will need to make sure that there is enough water and wood to produce enough steam. It’s also handy to keep an eye on the propane tank as this might need changing over during cooking. Hot tip, have one extra on hand for a quick pit stop style transition when one runs out.
Where the professionals start to differentiate themselves is the types of wood used and how much water is added. The steam is what gives the food it’s flavor, so perfecting the steam composition can have a large impact on the result.
How Much Are Smokers?
The price of smokers can range greatly starting at around the $100 mark and going all the way up to $15,000. The price of these items varies with the quality, features, and size the user is looking for in their smoker. The size of the smoker plays an important role in that price. This is because the larger the smoker the most specialist parts it will need to function.
Generally speaking, most consumers will spend between $200 to $500 on their smoker. In this price range, users will find a well functioning and long lasting smoker for occasional use. Not only that, these smokers can produce some excellent quality cooked meat.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little more when finding the right smoker for you.
What Can I Smoke in a Smoker?
In this regard, the world is your oyster. Smokers are a very versatile cooking appliance that lends themselves to a wide variety of foods.
Top 10 Reasons to Cook With a Propane Smoker
Gas cookers have come along way. There would be many with firm reasons why cooking with gas is far better than electric cooking. However, there are still some who aren’t already cooking in their kitchen with gas. Then maybe they should consider these reasons to switch over:
When you turn on the gas, the heat is instantaneous. There is no waiting around for the cooker to heat up. Or no pre-heat time wasted with electric or even coal burning smokers.
On the flipside, gas cookers cool down quicker. Easy on, easy off. That way you know when you’ve turned off the heat, your meat with stop cooking almost straight away. With other non-gas cookers, you stress about the meat still cooking after shutdown. Some cook for a further 15-minute period after flicking the switch. Nothing worse than overcooked, tough meat!
When you have a particular cut of meat for smoking at a specific temperature, you can be assured, with the propane smoker, of getting that perfectly on cue. Gas cooking is precise.
This point marries into with the preciseness of the temperature. With gas, you can adjust and control your temperature easier than with electric. This is easier than a wood or charcoal cooker.
More Energy Efficient
On the same vein of saving cash, you will use less gas than electricity when cooking. That is due to its quicker startup, and the more direct, constant heat.
Easy To Clean
Gas smokers are easier to clean than their counterparts. Just wipe with a damp cloth or give it a good, quick steam clean and you’re all set for the next cookout. See for yourself:
They have a history of low to no maintenance issues. If they do need a little TLC, the cost of labor and parts is much lower than the electric smokers.
Cooler Summer Cooking
Ever stood near an open fire or a wood-burning smoker? You will know that the heat that surrounds those suckers is quite unbearable, especially in the summer months. This differs in regards to a propane smoker, where the smoker contains the heat. That makes for much cooler cooking in the hotter seasons.
Power Outages? No Problem
Many of us suffer from power outages. Whether it’s a scheduled outage or just running out of electricity, these are frustrating problems. That’s not an issue with a gas smoker; you can continue to cook all night long.
Simple fact right now, gas is cheaper than electricity. While not as cheap as wood, however, you will use a lot less gas than timber when cooking. Something to seal it down why cooking with gas is king, check out why the top Chefs prefer a large capacity vault on propane gas smokers.
Our FAQs [UPDATED]
How long does it take to smoke ribs at 225 degrees?
This depends on the quality of the propane smoker. Generally, the time frame would be between 2 to 4 hours for ribs at 225 degrees. At Homewaresinsider.com, we would recommend trying to stretch that to 5-6 hours for the perfect post cook taste.
How long does it take to smoke a hamburger?
Hamburgers are a very common item to be smoked nowadays. The capacity of the best smokers often allows for many different types of meats to be cooked at once. However, to smoke hamburgers on there own would take around 80-90 minutes. Make sure that you are regularly checking the temperature a the center of the burger. The goal is to be in the range of 160 degrees inside.
How long does it take to smoke a salmon?
Salmon is an excellent meat to smoke and with a large capacity propane smoker vault, you can fit even the largest salmon fillets. Firstly, make sure that the smoker is around the 130 degrees mark. Once ready, smoke the fillets for at least 3-4 hours. This can be done faster, but results may degrade quickly.
In conclusion, we have presented you with a range of gas smoker reviews from across the web. Happy Shopping and Happy Cooking!