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Gas vs electric smoker

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Was researching here but still not sure which would be better for high altitude smoking. I used to smoke with charcoal and wood chips at sea level. Loved the flavor. After moving to 9,000 ft and repeated failures I realized there just wasn't enough oxygen to get a good charcoal heat. I am currently living at sea level again but looking to move back to the mountains (9,000 ft). Curious if one would work better over the other at that altitude.
post #2 of 10
Electric it does not need air to work gas will need air to burn right should work ok but I would go electric
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by hank2000 View Post

Electric it does not need air to work gas will need air to burn right should work ok but I would go electric

I read a couple threads that electric wouldn't burn hot enough to get wood chips to smoke properly. Any experience with that?
post #4 of 10
It's not the heat gets plenty hot. The eye once it gets to temp does not by n long time enough to keep the chips burning right I have an MES I love. Temp will get to 275 easy I don't use wood chips in it any more I have a MES cold smoke kit that has an electric element in it that kee A the children s burning there abou $50 depending on where u get it I got mine at Amazon. Or u can get on of Todds tubes they work good I would not get his pellet tray living that high up. The tube needs less air I would pm bearcarver he is the go to guy on electric he uses the MES 2.5. And I would email Todd he can tell witch tube and or tray would be best for you
post #5 of 10
There will be plenty of air up there to use gas. But i have no experience with either (i just got a new propane smoker but havent used it yet) so i cant say what would be best.
post #6 of 10

Electric all the way.  Less maintenance and cheaper to run. 

post #7 of 10

I own two propane smokers that I've used extensively, and I have used the MES a few times at a few SMF gatherings. You should have plenty of O2 to run propane, just make sure you have a steady source that you don't have to drive far to get.


The disadvantages of propane are ensuring you have enough for a long smoke (for example, I can get about 30-35 hours on a 20lb tank of propane, so I have to take that into account before starting a long smoke on half tank). Also temp control can be a little hard without a needle valve installed. They don't really blow out in steady winds, but winds will cause temps to fluctuate. Other then that the maintenance is actually very little.


The disadvantages of electric are they usually can't go much higher than 275, which is a bummer for doing poultry. Also, for some reason it doesn't do a good job making smoke, so in other words, the first thing you have to buy after purchasing an electric smoker, is a device that generates smoke. wtf1.gifAlso, power outages equal no smoking, so ensure you have a dependable grid. It's also hard to get a nice smoke ring on stuff you cook, (but that's just for looks really). Sometimes the heating elements needs to be replaced and the electronics too. Lastly, my biggest turn-off about electrics is they look like giant microwaves, but it's just my personal opinion. There are like a million MES users on this forum and they will probably disagree with me, but I still support them b/c anything that promotes BBQ and smoking in numbers like that is a good thing to have!

post #8 of 10

I think it really depends on what you plan to smoke most of the time.  If  pork, red meat, etc, which typically uses a higher temp, I'd probably go with propane.   With fish, you typically smoke at a much lower temp, so electric might be the way.

post #9 of 10
Electric is probably the best "all around" smoker because you can get low temps if you want ( like for fish or sausage smoking). They don't seem to get the smoke without a device, but that's an easy fix. Just be VERY careful that you have a circuit that can handle it. The reason I switched to gas is because I slowly over a couple of years cooked a GFI circuit. You need a dedicated 20 amp circuit ( not GFI ). I had to replace 4 outlets.
I love the Masterbuilt gas smoker I have now, but it has it's issues as well. It's a struggle to keep temps below 240. Others talk about not having blowouts but I have. IMO just for smoking meat in general, I prefér gas now and a 20# bottle goes a long way. A lot of people here use electric and do some amazing things!! Just make sure your wiring will handle it.
Just my 2 cents...
post #10 of 10

I have both. that being said I use my MES-40 most of the time now but with winter starting to come on the propane will come back on line. I like the MES because I can run/control the lower temps easy that I cannot do with my propane. as far as burning chips I have to use my big kahuna or one of Todd's units for most of my smokes. I only get decent smoke with my propane if the temps are on the HIGH side. just my 2 cents


Keep On Smokin,



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