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Vertical Gas Smoker.....what to do!?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 



I have decided to take the plunge and buy myself a smoker to go with my grilling set-up. After looking at my options i feel a vertical gas smoker would best fit my needs at this point. So far i have narrowed my choices down to the Smokey Hollow 38 (no glass as i can get it for $40 cheaper at Wal-mart) or a Smoke Vault 24......I have tried finding a side by side comparison of these two units for days and have come back empty handed....


I like that i can get the Smokey Hollow for $45 cheaper than the Vault. I also like that it has 2 doors so i do not have to open my smoke chamber during a cook. 


I like the added width and cook space of the Smoke Vault 24 as well as the stellar reviews i have found all over the internet. 


Anybody have an opinion they care to share?  I appreciate your help!

post #2 of 31

I have never seen a Smokey Hollow, so I can't offer a thumbs up or down.  But I have had a good look at the Smoke Vault and thought the were well made, good fit and finish.  If you can, try and get a look at the S.H. (or both) before you buy one.  A gas smoker is a good way to get started smoking, allows you to focus on cooking without having to learn fire management at the same time.  Good luck with the search.

post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
I just realized i posted this in the wrong topic forum. Any way tohave it moved?
post #4 of 31

I moved it for you.


It's in propane smokers now.



post #5 of 31

I've had good luck with my SH38 so far, though I did have to seal up both doors, and I did the needle valve mod for finer control, and converted it to natural gas.


I've never seen the Smoke Vault 24 in person, but from a few pics I've seen here, it seems to be a little more robustly made than the SH38.

post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 

That is my debate. i realize i will probably have to do some sealing on both units. But the Smoke Vault seems to be the better made unit...I also like the wider racks. The only hang-up i am having is the single door. I am concerned that opening the door every couple hours for wood/water replenishment may cause me fits.....being inexperienced that weighs heavily.


As it is i can get the Smoke Vault from Walmart for roughly $254 and the the windowless SH for around $210. Not HUGE investments either way but once i throw in the thermometers and other gadgets i want to chose right.


on your SH38 are you using chunks/chips? If so how long are you going between refills? Any issue dialing to 225? Wind issues? Sorry for all the questions...i tend to over analyze. 

post #7 of 31

No problems holding 225-235 for hours at a time.


I forgot to mention I also did away with the original chip pan in favor of a cast iron skillet, and I run sand in the water pan, and I also have a rectangular pizza stone sitting just above the water pan, so all that thermal mass helps hold temps during wind gust, or occasionally opening the smoke chamber door.


When running in the 225-235 range, I usually have to toss a few medium sized chunks in about every 75-90 minutes, give or take? Factors like wood species, how dry the chunks are etc play a factor.


I do like the 2 door design, it is what sold me on the SH, though I would have just as easily gone for a SV if it had 2 doors.

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok so this has been put to bed. I had given up on going propane and was looking at charcoal units (PBC, WSM, UDS). Found myself looking on craigslist for barrels (neigh on impossible to find unlined barrels around here) and stumbled across a used SV 24.

The guy has had it for 7 months and wanted a pellet pooper to he could set and forget (something about crazy hours working at the Pentagon) anyways i took the hour drive and picked up the smoker, cover, propane tank, needle valve mod, a bag of Western brand mesquite chunks, 1/3 bag oak chunks, and 1/3 bag of hickory chunks for $100....seriously....basically risk free. So yeah..i have a SV 24. Time to clean her up and start learning.
post #9 of 31

Awesome score Jeff, show us some pics!


or... is it "Top Secret"? Lol

post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
Didn't think about it. I need to clean it up. The grates are supposed to be silver right?
post #11 of 31

I have a cheap two door Masterbuilt gasser with a needle valve mod,  chip box replaced with a cast iron skillet.  Runs like a champ.

post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 

Do you think the upgrade to a cast iron skillet is key for using these propane units?

post #13 of 31
Originally Posted by Jeff Hynes View Post

Do you think the upgrade to a cast iron skillet is key for using these propane units?

YES it is !

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
post #14 of 31
I would invest in a tube smoker from Todd at Amaze N smokers. Great way to provide smoke in a propane smoker when running pit temps below 285f. I would not use chips. If you do use wood use chunks. They last longer than chips. If you get a tube the 18" Will give you a good 8 hours of smoke.

There's no need to use water in your smoker. So opening the door isn't that big of a deal. I run a dry pit my water pan is wrapped with foil and empty.

With that said, propane smokers will recover temps quickly without any adjustments so if you do have to open the door it's not a big deal.
post #15 of 31
I have the smoke vault 18 and I like it. Bone stock so I cannot comment on any of the mods. I can keep 225 to 250 pretty well. Have not gone much higher. I use chunk wood bought at the local big box store and 3 or 4 chunks last me 60 to 90 minutes or so. Interesting idea on the cast iron skillet.
post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok so i am sitting outside waiting for my smoker to warm up to 250 so i can put in my pork shoulder.I filled the water pan halfway with play sand and covered that with foil. I then added a ez foil pan with water.This is the set-up the guy who sold me the smoker used. Side vents closed and top vents closed as far as it will....174...man it takes a while to heat up!

I found a local Mennonite butcher that had fresh local stuff for cheaper than Costco or Sam's....stoked! 7lb shoulder and 2 racks of spare ribs for later.

Last night i trimmed the shoulder and applied a good amount of coarse sea salt. This morning i rubbed in a liberal amount if Meathead's Memphis Dust...now i wait! What is a normal preheat time?
post #17 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok that preheat took longer than i thought. I will know next time. I decided not to wait for 250to throw the shoulder on and put it on at 230. The temp plummetefd to 180 but quickly came back up. It stayed at 218 forever but has settled in at 225 like a champ.

Meat temp last read 141 and when i went to ad chunks snf water they were not needed. I am gonna toss my ribs on at 11AM and try the 3-2-1 method.
post #18 of 31
You should leave your too vent open when smoking. You need air flow to keep the smoke moving and to prevent stale smoke.

With a needle valve you should have zero problems getting higher temps and quicker than what you are getting. To use the needle valve properly you need to set the smoker adjustment on the highest setting, then use the needle valve to control the flow of the fuel to the burner.

By using water in your smoker it will limit the temps. Water can only get to 212 degrees before it starts to boil and then turn to steam, which will cool the smoker down. I haven't used water in my propane smoker for over 8 years now. I can run it consistently as low as 120, and higher than my therm goes which is 500. That's all vents open to provide positive airflow, no water in the pan and using the needle valve as I mentioned above.

If you are having troubles getting above the temp your at there is something wrong with your method or your set up. My neighbor also has a Smoke vault 34 set up with a needle valve and he uses the no water in the pan method. He too can control the smoker like I do and can warm up to desired pit temp in a matter of minutes in 30 degree weather.
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 
Bottom vents too? I saw a few post saying keep the sides closed and top open. That is how i am runnning it now.
post #20 of 31
I have the SV18. My side vents are closed as much as they allow, which is probably about half way. Top vent is open all the way. Mike doors not have the needle and I put the disk at about medium and open the valve on the tank about one turn. I get to 250 in less than 30 minutes. Probably only takes about 20 or so. I use the water tray, never had a problem with steam but do see a small amount of water burning off.
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