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my verdict on the smokin-it 3 vs master built 30 propane

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi Guys,


I know the debate over electric vs. propane vs. charcoal vs. wood will never end, but I thought I'd give you my the results of this weekend's highly unscientific taste test. 


Bottom line...using meat from the same place, the same rub, and feeding the same family...ribs from my propane smoker won handily. Now, before you electric fans take to your keyboards with torches and pitchforks (and tongs), I fully admit that this is a subjective claim. And I know that techniques need to change for electric. I did a lot of research and completed about a dozen smokes, each with two full BB racks in the SI3. The first the first six or so cooks improving each time before leveling off.  Eventually, I learned that putting BB's in the SI3 for 6 hours using the no-peek method with a small container of apple juice touching the smoker box yielded results that were closest to 2-2-1 on my MB propane.  My first try doing 2-2-1 in the SI3 resulted in ribs that were under-cooked. Then I learned that most people use the no-peek since the cooking dynamics of the SI3 hold moisture better...so I stopped doing the foil deal. 


Don't get me wrong...the SI3 ribs were tasty. But they lacked the depth of flavor from my MB propane using the 2-2-1 method. And I suppose it's way different than charcoal / wood. The bark was also very thin, but that was to be expected. On some cooks, the ribs didn't taste smoky enough and in the SI there's a very fine line between the right amount of wood and fire. You really need to weigh the wood before placing it in the box. 


For the record, no one wanted the electric to win out more than me. Not only did I spend a lot o' dough on the SI3, but I really like the idea of lazy-Q. I'll probably keep the SI3 for those days when I have to feed a lot of people and still socialize...but when I need to wow the tastebuds, I'll go with the MB propane.


If someone out there has other suggestions to narrow the flavor gap, I'm totally open! 

post #2 of 3

Boy are you going to get some responses on this thread!


I have 6 smokers, from electric to a stick burner, and although the flavor differences are subtle, they are distinct.


I don't think anyone will disagree that a wood fired smoker produces the best flavor.


But these electric guys like Bear are producing some really awesome Q.


Could be they are just more experienced at using their electric smokers than you are.


I also see that this your first post, so at your leisure would you swing by "Roll Call" & introduce yourself.


Then we can all give you a proper welcome.



post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi Al,


Yes, first post. Been lurking for a while. I'm sure that more experience will get better results from my SI3. And I'm also sure this thread will see some action ;). Though my intent was just to offer my impressions...not start a firestorm. Or an electric storm!


Like I said, I'm totally open to suggestions on how to make better Q with the SI3 and would love to improve my results. FWIW, the guys at Smokin-It are awesome and I mean no disrespect to that great company. The SI3 is made incredibly well and I have no regrets buying it. I just thought it would make my propane smoker obsolete...but for my taste buds (and current experience level), that didn't happen.


It seems like electric is about learning a new way to smoke...rather than just using a different type of smoker. 


Thanks everyone!

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