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Electric vs propane dilemma

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have been using a Brinkman charcoal smoker for the last year and I am looking to upgrade to a new smoker and I am stuck with a dilemma of propane or electric. I would like to get something that does not require so much attention during cooking.  I always had to refill the charcoal and I was having a lot of trouble getting the temp to be constant.  Even with the modifications I made to my ECB (vents, gaskets and raised charcoal above ashes) I was still having a hard time controlling the temp and keeping the charcoal lit.

 

I have narrowed my choices between two smokers either the master forge propane or the masterbuilt 30 inch electric smoker.  I have done a lot of research in this forum and the internet and I am having trouble deciding which way to go.  It seems the that the propane smokers need to have there temps monitored since the weather conditions can make the temp fluctuate but they can reach higher temps then the electric modules.  The electric modules seem to have more parts that can malfunction (heating element) but coupled with AMNPS and when they work they are truly set it and forget it. 

 

I am more interested in the quality of the food that they both produce.  Is there any different in food that is made on a propane smoker then with an electric smoker? I like the convenience of the electric smoker but I don’t want to diminish the quality of the food. 

 

I am sure that I am not the first person to have this dilemma and hopefully you guys can help me decide between the two.   I have posted this in both the electric and propane forums since I would like to hear from people who are using both types of smokers.

post #2 of 8

I run propane and charcoal...both with grills and smokers. As you have already indicated, electric smokers have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, as do propane. I have not yet gone to electric, mainly due to the same circumstances you mentioned, being too many things to fail. Simpler seems to be the most trouble-free, and propane is actually quite simple. There are a few quick and easy measures that can be done with propane smokers in order to use the AMNPS for hot smokes, but you need a wide-body smoker in order to have enough space between the cabinet and the burner.

 

 

Eric

post #3 of 8

I echo what Eric just said, if you go Propane, the smaller units like the Master Forge 2 door are basically too small to take advantage of the benefits of the AMNPS in a hot smoke.  Cold smoke, you could use a cardboard box (plans are in the threads somewhere).  You need to go to what's called the Big Box GOSM.  There are many benefits to the BBGOSM.  First is most obvious, more room.  You can never have enough space for your smoking efforts.  Good luck in your search.  We've all been there and still are looking for the next best thing.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses from both forums.  I think I have made my decision and I am going to get a propane smoker.  It seems to be a better option for me.  Now I have to decide which one to get.  Originally I was thinking of going with the master forge double door but now I am considering the masterbuilt XL and the walmart GOSM (3405BGW).  I thinking the masterbuilt and GOSM may be an over kill for me since I will only be smoking for the family and possibly 10 people max.

 

Is there any added benefit going with the masterbuilt or GOSM besides the extra space?  I also noticed that the master forge has 2 vents at the bottom of the smoker and the masterbuilt and GOSM does not.  Is there any advantage to having the vents on the master forge?

 

Thanks again for the responses.  It looks like I may need to make a decision by this weekend since it looks like Sam’s Club is having a non members weekend and I could get the stainless steel masterbuilt at this time since I do not have a membership.

post #5 of 8

Chris, I'm not sure if the bottom vents have any advantage I have the GOSM 3405BGW. I like it a lot after I have made some mods to it. Two guys I work with just bought Masterbuilt's XL, so far they like them but they haven't used them too much yet. I live with my son and he doesn't really eat a whole lot so I pretty much just smoke for myself but I bought the widebody thinking if I get the small one I will be wanting a bigger one later. Another thing that sold me on the widebody was I can fit whole racks of ribs without having to cut them in half. Recently I made a decision that with the price of propane I wasn't going to fire it up unless it was full and that has worked out very well because now my freezer is full of lunches and dinners for quite awhile. I vac-seal everything in individual portions and it makes cooking during the week very easy. I have been tracking my current bottle of propane and I am at just over 42 hours on it and there is still some left. Whichever route you go I'm sure you will be happy with it.

post #6 of 8

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris311 View Post

Thanks for all the responses from both forums.  I think I have made my decision and I am going to get a propane smoker.  It seems to be a better option for me.  Now I have to decide which one to get.  Originally I was thinking of going with the master forge double door but now I am considering the masterbuilt XL and the walmart GOSM (3405BGW).  I thinking the masterbuilt and GOSM may be an over kill for me since I will only be smoking for the family and possibly 10 people max.

 

You may be pleasantly surprised shortly after you get acquainted with a bigger rig just how much you will appreciate the extra width for smoking larger cuts, such as a packer brisket (or two) and multiple pork butts, chickens, etc, etc. It's difficult to really say you won't need that extra space now...maybe you won't. But as your skill level grows, you may find yourself cooking for larger groups, such as your co-workers, and when (if) this happens, you'll be ready. Also, if you decide to make home-cured and smoked jerky, the larger rig will accommodate for larger batches...when I make jerky, I make a day of it and make a batch large enough that it will hopefully last for several weeks to a few months (stuff goes fast, so I don't wanna mess with just a few pounds). I may have a hot smoke going in one rig for lunch (quartered or whole chickens, chops, steaks, CSR's) along with a larger cut that I started the night before for dinner...all that while I have a cold smoke and drying going for jerky, just as an example.

 

SO, to say 10 people max, you may be under-estimating what the future may bring. I cooked brisket and butts for a work meeting a few years back, and they're still wanting me to do it again, but the meeting venue and time of day has changed (out of town) and made bringing it all together much more difficult.

 

Is there any added benefit going with the masterbuilt or GOSM besides the extra space?  I also noticed that the master forge has 2 vents at the bottom of the smoker and the masterbuilt and GOSM does not.  Is there any advantage to having the vents on the master forge?

 

A wide body will allow for the use of the AMNS or AMNPS for hot smoking with a few simple mods to make it work, if you later decide to go with one of these smoke generators. A smaller vertical rig seems to be more difficult to achieve good performance from these for hot smoking, though for cold smoking, pretty much anything for a smoker will work well for them.

 

Thanks again for the responses.  It looks like I may need to make a decision by this weekend since it looks like Sam’s Club is having a non members weekend and I could get the stainless steel masterbuilt at this time since I do not have a membership.

 

Hmm, yes, I can see where that does complicate your decision a bit. I guess consider the pros/cons of each type again, but also considering a wide-body for larger cuts...that would probably be the deal-breaker for me on going electric.

 

Oh, one other thing to consider is that a propane rig is just like charcoal, being it can be portable and taken anywhere you want to go...camping, family reunions or other gatherings where you may not have utilities, and you would then need a generator to power the electric smoker. Again, you may not think this is a possibility right now, but in the future, it could be something that you'd wish you had as an option.

 

Portability can be a major factor, and is the best route for gatherings with onsite cooking, just so you don't have to rely on utilities. I've cooked away from home many times over the past several years, so keep it mind.

 

Good luck on your decision, and may you have many great smokes!

 

 

Eric

 

 

post #7 of 8

I never run out of electricity unless we have a power failure and everyone seems to love the foods that come out of my electric smokin-it Model1

post #8 of 8

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by capntrip View Post

I never run out of electricity unless we have a power failure and everyone seems to love the foods that come out of my electric smokin-it Model1

 

 And there is the issue. White outs, wind storms, hurricanes, tornados........ Power lines down.... No power. Propane keeps rolling, just gotta have a back up tank.  xrocker.gif

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