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Please help me decide - Propane or Electric?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have finally decided to buy a smoker, and after countless hours researching the Internet, I have only been able to reach 2 conclusions:

 

1) Charcoal is what the pros use, but I do not have the time, skill, or patience for charcoal

2) Wood pellets seem like a close second, but I don't want to spend $700 for my first smoker

 

Since I want easy, I am left with either propane or electric, and this is my real dilemma.  I have read in some forums, websites, etc, that electrics are fine for fish and cheese, but don't do a good job on meat.  On others, I have read that electrics are better than propane and are almost indistinguishable from charcoal, and still others that say there is no difference between propane or electric.  I am thoroughly stumped as to which one to choose.

 

I understand that propane and electric each have their tradeoffs, but which would you recommend considering:

 

1) I will be smoking only meats (mainly ribs, pulled pork, brisket, birds)

2) My first priority is getting the best taste

 

(I also live in CT if that factors in at all)

 

Thanks for your help!

post #2 of 9

I tell you what. Build a UDS and you won't be sorry!


Edited by rbranstner - 11/16/11 at 6:10am
post #3 of 9

If you decide on electric, I would also get a AMNPS to go along with it. It will give you a much better flavor than wood chips & it doesn't need to be reloaded for hours. IMHO, my propane smoker gives a better flavor than my electric, but it uses wood chunks, and I have it set up so they burn completely much like a wood burner would. It also can reach higher temps., mine will go above 400 degrees easily so you can cook chicken with a crispy skin. The electric with the AMNPS is totally set & forget. The gasser needs to be looked after a little. I hope I didn't confuse you, and I'm sure you will be happy with either choice. Both will produce great Q.

post #4 of 9



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayinct View Post

I have finally decided to buy a smoker, and after countless hours researching the Internet, I have only been able to reach 2 conclusions:

 

1) Charcoal is what the pros use, but I do not have the time, skill, or patience for charcoal  I believe most professionals, cooks and competitions use wood, charcoal is easily mastered with a bit of experience and very popular with the backyard smoker

2) Wood pellets seem like a close second, but I don't want to spend $700 for my first smoker  

 

Since I want easy, I am left with either propane or electric, and this is my real dilemma.  I have read in some forums, websites, etc, that electrics are fine for fish and cheese, but don't do a good job on meat.  On others, I have read that electrics are better than propane and are almost indistinguishable from charcoal, and still others that say there is no difference between propane or electric.  I am thoroughly stumped as to which one to choose. To be honest I have never heard any of that.  Forum members have good success with anything they decide to cook on either electric or propane.  I am very doubtful that electric is indistinguishable from charcoal or wood. but this is an ongoing discussion and either type of smoker properly used will produce great results.

 

I understand that propane and electric each have their tradeoffs, but which would you recommend considering:

 

1) I will be smoking only meats (mainly ribs, pulled pork, brisket, birds)  For now, once you get into it you will start trying to smoke everything you can imagine

2) My first priority is getting the best taste   As a dedicated wood burner I would say  "Then burn wood"

 

(I also live in CT if that factors in at all)  Unless you live in a condo or neighborhood that restricts open fires or the use of smokers where you live should not make a difference.  An electric or propane smoker  may be easier to use under a patio or porch then a wood or charcoal burner

 

The cheapest way to get into smoking is either a UDS  (ugly drum smoker) or an ECB (el cheapo brinkman).  If you don't mind spending a couple hundred bucks you can get a decent electric smoker and be perfectly happy with your purchase.  They tend to be set and forget and produce fine BBQ.

 

Thanks for your help!



 

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by alblancher View Post

Originally Posted by jayinct View Post
 

I have finally decided to buy a smoker, and after countless hours researching the Internet, I have only been able to reach 2 conclusions:

 

1) Charcoal is what the pros use, but I do not have the time, skill, or patience for charcoal  I believe most professionals, cooks and competitions use wood, charcoal is easily mastered with a bit of experience and very popular with the backyard smoker

2) Wood pellets seem like a close second, but I don't want to spend $700 for my first smoker  

 

Since I want easy, I am left with either propane or electric, and this is my real dilemma.  I have read in some forums, websites, etc, that electrics are fine for fish and cheese, but don't do a good job on meat.  On others, I have read that electrics are better than propane and are almost indistinguishable from charcoal, and still others that say there is no difference between propane or electric.  I am thoroughly stumped as to which one to choose. To be honest I have never heard any of that.  Forum members have good success with anything they decide to cook on either electric or propane.  I am very doubtful that electric is indistinguishable from charcoal or wood. but this is an ongoing discussion and either type of smoker properly used will produce great results.

 

I understand that propane and electric each have their tradeoffs, but which would you recommend considering:

 

1) I will be smoking only meats (mainly ribs, pulled pork, brisket, birds)  For now, once you get into it you will start trying to smoke everything you can imagine

2) My first priority is getting the best taste   As a dedicated wood burner I would say  "Then burn wood"

 

(I also live in CT if that factors in at all)  Unless you live in a condo or neighborhood that restricts open fires or the use of smokers where you live should not make a difference.  An electric or propane smoker  may be easier to use under a patio or porch then a wood or charcoal burner

 

The cheapest way to get into smoking is either a UDS  (ugly drum smoker) or an ECB (el cheapo brinkman).  If you don't mind spending a couple hundred bucks you can get a decent electric smoker and be perfectly happy with your purchase.  They tend to be set and forget and produce fine BBQ.

 

Thanks for your help!



 



 



I would have to agree on every point and would add, try a cheap walmart GOSM to get you started I had a $90.00 GOSM that done me fine for years.

post #6 of 9

Welcome to the Forum,Jayinct. We are all here to help you in your new intrestbiggrin.gif. Any question you may have,someone will have the answer.I feel both the Elect. and the Gass units are good, I preferr wood, as it gives me the true taste I am looking for in my "QUE".drool.gif

 

Second best choice (for mee) would be a Webber 22.5",plenty of room to do most anything you want,and small enough to use in a neighborhood. We here at SMF dedicate ourselves to helping others enjoy thier experiences and lead them toward better and better methods and end products.

 

As I said,I enjoy my Wood Smokers and use Propane only as a starter, using wood from then on,saves the cost of using a lot of Gas.The wood I use comes from my neighborhood and friends in the Country,it's free and I make friends by Bartering for the wood with the folks around here.

 

When I have a party, I go full tilt:

 

Betty 004.JPG

 

Betty 014.JPG

 

and have '4' smokers and a fire pit I'm working on(when I get out of my lazy moods),for Grilling and extra space for cooking.I keep the lids on my smokers shut and doing several different meats with different cooking times takes several units.(that's the best argument I could come up with for Trish's choosen 'superlatives' about needing more than ONE.)

 

Have fun and as an oldtimer mentioned to me..."Choose what you want and go one size larger";you won't be sorry...biggrin.gif

 

Gooding and...

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your advice.  I decided to go propane with Camp Chef's Smoke Vault - we'll see how it goes!

 

(Nice pics oldschoolbbq, next time include the google map to your house!)

post #8 of 9

Good luck on your purchase, let us know how it works out for you.

post #9 of 9

Good luck..

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