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Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
I own a Stainless steel verion of this smoker. I bought it at Sam's club for around $300. It is very well constructed, has dual wall construction, a brass burner, four racks for cooking, a rectangular water pan and a large wood box. I did move the wood box one inch closer to the flame.

It cooks great barbecue. It holds temperature very well and cooks all day at 220 degrees. After I finally figured out the combination with the wood box, it makes great smoke. The manual is short on details here.

It comes with a heavy duty cover and an instructional video. I had been looking at the smaller version of this thing at Lowes for several seasons and did not think the firebox was big enough and the smoker was too small. When I saw the version at Sam's club, I took a shot.

I have owned all kinds of smokers but this thing is the easiest to use and produces the best results so far. To those purists out there, you haven't tasted my barbecue! Even temperature, steady supply of smoke (wood of your choice), no ashes, no muss, no fuss. What else do you need?

Regards,
Aubrey Page
post #2 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

Boy, I tell ya..................you GOSM and Propane guys are just gettin' cockier by the day! LOL!!!!!!! :shock:

In truth Aubry, I am a purest, but I've seen great strides in Gas Smokers and retro kits lately. I have no doubt that they can produce great 'Q. They key to any good 'Q, is what works for you! If you like it and enjoy what it produces.................then you're on the right track!

Just remember...............they call it "Lazy Q" for a reason. You might learn a bit about smoke control. But your missing out on some of the fundamentals of real outdoor barbeque. Until you've tended a pit for 16 hours on an all-nighter and burnt your wood down from a log or split into your own hard wood coals.................your missing half the fun! Well, I'll say Fun..................others might say "torture". LOL! Again............it's what works for you!

Anyway, I wanted to satnd up for quite a few of us "Purest" who are still out there! Good Luck with your Q!

Jeff
post #3 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

Hey Aubrey,

I just want you to know that I've got your back on this subject. :) I've been using a GOSM for the last two years and I LOVE IT! Mine is not the stainless version, though. I bought the wide body unit from Gander Mountain last summer. While I can understand some of the purist attitude towards authenticity, the set it & forget it ability of the GOSM is hard to beat. I can maintain 225* all day long, and my Q turns out great every time. This way I can still take time to play with my kids or watch the dog chase a tennis ball.

Tell you what, Jeff...Go ahead and split all the wood you want. If that's the way you like it, I'm sure your Q is top notch all the way... But as for me,...I'll be the guy sitting under the shade tree sippin' an ice cold beer! Aubrey,... I'm with you, brother! Smoke on! 8)

Cheers,
Brian
post #4 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

hi all
ive owned the 3600 gas stainless gosm for about 7 months now and i love it it is simple to use and works great and i even used it in 20 degree weather and had no problem keeping the temp i wanted all day long works great the 3600 is a little small at times but it is the perfect size for my family of three well you guys take care bye
post #5 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

Like I said, Guys..................if it works for you, that's all that matters! I don't know where all my Wood smokers are out there? It seems I have to stand as a lone voice! LOL!

I do not recommend Gas Smokers to any newbies (EVER). I want them to learn the fundamentals first. Once they've gotten that down for quite a while and want to switch to Lazy-Q, I say..........go for it.

Jeff
post #6 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

Jeff,

I agree for the most part..

I think newbies are short-changing themselves if they do not take the time to learn the fundamental principles of tending a fire, maintaining a proper temperature in an environment that is ever fluctuating, and turning out a piece of meat in the same way that early man would have done it.

It is primal and yet extremely vital to real appreciation of outdoor cooking.. to never learn the basic art of smoking food over a tended fire is like learning to play a song on the piano from memory with no musical theory.

You can play the song but you do not have the deep connection with the music and all of it's notes, rythms, and overall score.

ok.. I am probably getting way to philisophical here but you get the gist of what I am saying.

Do yourself a favor and even if you do enjoy the ease of smoking with gas, get yourself a charcoal/wood smoker and learn the real way just for the sake of doing it.

About a year ago, I made up my mind to learn to type. Now.. I can hunt and peck so fast that my hands and fingers are a blur. No kidding. I can hunt and peck around 35 wpm.

Not bad you say.

But I knew there was a right way to do it so I found a little tutorial online and worked about an hour a day for several weeks learning all of the right fingers for all of the right keys and then made myself type correctly.

At first I was slow and emails and posts and webpages took forever and I was tempted to revert back but I stubbornly said NO.

Now.. a year later I am typing correctly at 40 wpm and getting faster every day.

My point is that sometimes you have to make yourself do things the way it is meant to be even if you have found an alternate way that seems to work.

As a highly proficient smoker let me recommend that all of you newbies and not so newbies that have never done anything but gas or electric, take the time to learn the skill of tending a real wood fire and even if you never smoke in a competition it will boost your confidence and you will feel like a professional whether you are or not.

Trust me. You will be glad you did!

And that is my $0.02 worth!
post #7 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

hi guys
i never said that i never tended a fire all nite long before i ve tended many fires for the q and cold smoking the wood stove to heat the house i ve cut so many cord of wood it would make you want to puke i ve spent many of long cold nites watching the q but i think it was time for me to convert to gas so i did and i like it it does work for me
post #8 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

SalmonClubber, I have a gas smoker that I use once in a long while also.

I think the gist of what I am trying to say is to at least learn how to tend to a smoker using real wood and fire and then after you become proficient at that and you want to use gas or electric then fine.

I think it is that foundation of knowing how that will make you a great smoker.

I am not a purist like Jeff from Florida.. I use foil ever once in a long while.. not often but I do use it when the mood strikes me and like I said I own every type of smoker known to man except for a pellet smoker and I will eventually get one of those most likely.

If you like gas smoking then go for it. wink.gif
post #9 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

I'd like nothing more than to be able to sit and tend a wood smoker, my buddy does and has a cooler full of adult beverages beside him the whole time!wink.gif

I rarely find the time to sit and watch a race let alone tend a fire so I'm looking for a way to set it and forget it, I know there will be compromises in this but it's the best I can do for now. Maybe when I retire I can give it the dedication it demands, but not now.

Another problem I have is my location. I borrowed a wood smoker once and destroyed a batch of jerky. The winds here vary so much I couldn't keep a constant temperature no matter how much time I spent tending. I'll have to build a shelter if I'm ever going to get it right. :(
post #10 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

Well, okay guys, I must admit that both Jeff's have made a very convincing argument regarding the need to understanding the fundamentals...

I have long considered myself a well seasoned, veteran grill jockey. I've been using wood to enhance the flavor of grilled meats for as long as I can remember...Heck, I was practically weened on an original Weber pot belly charcoal grill. However, I must admit that I am still a relative newbie to the art of slow smoking. In fact, even though I purchased my GOSM last summer, I have relied more on the trial and error method than through any real experience. Those who know me well will agree that I can be rather impetuous, at times, and will understand that my desicion to purchase a GOSM was not based on any real research. The two factors that influenced me were a) a good friend of mine bought one first and I liked the chicken, and b) it came with an instuctional video. Enough said.

It was not until I stumbled upon this forum a few weeks ago, and the vast wealth of knowledge contained herein, that I began to appreciate what a true art that this hobby is. As a direct result of things that I've learned here, I have managed to improve upon certain "specialties" that my family tells me that I had long ago perfected. Now, I am talking about my family of course, so they are understandably biased, but I truly thought that my ribs were the best! It's not like there were ever any leftovers, or anything!

Anyhow, my most recent rib smoke produced the most succulent and flavorful ribs that I have ever tasted...anywhere. I coudn't believe the difference, it was incredible! The point I guess I'm trying to make is that I wanted to learn something new, and through the advice and experience of my new friends here in the forum, I was able to accomplish that goal successfully. Thank you for that.

That being said, I am going to take Tulsajeff's advice and get back to the basics. I would like to learn the "old school" way of smoking meats. If anything, just to possess the knowledge. I don't know if I could ever be convinced to give up the convenience of Lazy-Q completely, but at least I will better be able to understand the difference in cooking styles. Also, I wouldn't want to give the impression that I have anything against long nights, cold beer, and snack foods. And, oh yeah...did I mention cold beer?!/ wink.gif

Oh well, I've rambled long enough. Whatever you favorite method is, the most important thing to remember is to have fun and eat well. This forum is a great resource for all, both experienced and new. Thanks to everyone who contributes regularly. I'm learning alot.

Cheers,
Brian

P.S. Hey Jeff, this post took me some time to compose using the hunt and peck method, but hey...one thing at a time, huh?!? :P
post #11 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

This was not intended to be a Gas vs. Wood debate. The main reason I felt I had to chime in was because I seen quite a few guys lately eagerly recommending Gas Smokers to Newbies who are interested in making the big switch from Grills to Smokers. (On both the Yahoo and New Forum)

I know you guys are doing this because you've had good results with your units and want to share. That's great! However, as I've previously stated, your actually shortchanging someone who wants to learn the true art of Smoking Low and Slow. If they already have it in their heads to purchase a Gas Smoker......................ya'll are the ones to go to!

I also realize there are situations that dictate the use of Gas. Location, inclemate weather, long work hours, etc. And if you're a seasoned Pit Master and want another unit for those days you don't feel like firing up the Pit.............Why Not?

Either way, let's let those who want to learn have the chance to "Learn" the traditional methods before sending them off down the "set it and forget it" road.

That's my $.02!

Jeff
post #12 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

I'm enjoying the information exchanged here from both sides. I never knew there were so many ways to smoke before stumbling on this forum. What I appreciate is that no matter what method a member prefers, he always seems eager to help another member no matter whether they are in agreement intheir manner or not.

SoFlaQuer, I understand your position entirely and would love to study under you, but the current schedule just wouldn't allow it. Some day though, I intend to master it, it seems it would be quite a bit of fun practicing! wink.gif
post #13 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

This Forum IS all about helping others! As you've stated their will always be differences of opinion........but we all have one goal...................achieving nirvana through the "Thin Blue Smoke"!!!

I'd be more than happy to assist you when your schedule permits.

Jeff
post #14 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

I too agree in the importance of learing the basics, before enjoying the convienence of gas.
I used wood/charcoal for years before getting the GOSMS unit.
Nothing will help you learn quicker than ruining an expensive piece of meat when you don't carefully tend the fire and keep the temp right!! :cry:
post #15 of 56
Thread Starter 

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

OK guys, I guess I started this post so I must comment.

I have tended a fire all night and understand what it takes. But fundamentally BBQ is about controlling the environment. The things I can think of are 1) Temperature, 2) Moisture, 3) Smoke quality and density.

A propane smoker if used right is good at all of the above. It also gives near independent control over temperature and smoke.

For every BBQ “session†I spend about one hour sawing up my wood. I split the wood then I use a band saw to cut the logs into one inch or so thick slices. I then use a hatchet on a upright log to split the slices to make the chunks that I use for smoking. I put the chunks into bins. I have Hickory, Pecan, Oak, Mesquite and Apple chunks available. I then mix these in my wood box for the particular smoke that I am trying to achieve. I believe then that the smoke that I generate is identical to that in an offset firebox smoker. It is caused by burning wood not any manufactured pellets.

What the propane smoker brings to the party is the ability to accurately control the temperature. OK so at my age I am lazy. Why should I make this a lot like work when it does not have to be? With the Smoky Mountain smokers, there are differences in quality between models but I think the model I use has it almost right. The smoker also has a water pan. I could argue whether water is required or not. I have commented on that subject in another forum.

A bigger argument though is not propane versus “wood fired†but “wood fired†versus pit smoking. Someday (probably after I retire) I will build a true barbecue pit. Let me explain. In either the wood fired smoker (most commonly around here, Texas, represented by an offset smoker design) or my propane smoker, the smoke is derived from burning wood. Back home and in much of the South, this is blasphemy. They insist that we heathens expose the meat to the smoke that contains the sap of the wood and the tar and harsh flavor of smoke that is generated when wood burns. In doing so, we make inferior BBQ. In a true BBQ pit barbecue process it is done differently. The wood is first burned down to embers in an outside fireplace. The embers are then taken inside and placed on the floor of the pit. The pit is usually a concrete block enclosure with a lid (stainless steel or other metal). The pit looks somewhat like a chest freezer. It has a vent near the top. The meat sits on a grate several inches below the lid. The wood is slowly smoked for as long as 24 hours at a time. The taste is different and less bitter than our product. If you search the internet for BBQ pit design, you will find plans for such smokers. Some are quite comical. It can be as simple as a pit in the ground with a grate for the meat and covered by a makeshift cover. The point is that they never cook with burning wood.

Regards,
Aubrey Page
post #16 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

Aubrey,

Yours is not the case inwhich I infer. You obviously have experience under your belt. My main concern is with newbies.

Very true about burning wood! I am a retired Fire Officer and wood in it's burning stages produce phenols and creosote. This will effect the food you cook. At my large quarterly Barbeque Party's, I in fact use a burn barrel that I fabricated and burn my logs down to embers. As the wood burns, it begins to fall thru a rebar grate and I simply scoop the embers with a flat shovel and fill my Fire Box. In doing so, there is no need to add wood chunks or splits. It produces the finest thin blue smoke out there!

Here's a photo of the Barrel, for those interested!

Jeff
LL
LL
LL
post #17 of 56
can anybody give me some links to a spot to buy a gas smoker... I use wood now and would like the convenience of gas. thanks in advance
post #18 of 56
Thread Starter 

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

To Soflaquer, various thoughts

I am very glad to see your contraption for burning the wood and read your comments about the effects of burning wood on the smoke. It helps validate my thinking.

These forums level the playing field. If I say something entirely wrong, I am sure I'll get clued in quickly.

I have said in other posts that I have been smoking meat for 25 years with mixed success. That is putting it kindly. I did not have a clue. Also my equipment would not cook consistent Q even if I did have a clue. For the longest time I believed the cooking temperature should be 180F. What was I thinking? I am an engineer. Once I thought about it and applied the principles of heat transfer, it became obvious that a higher temperature was needed. My poor skills and equipment however produced inconsistent results. A great Brisket one day and a month later, jerky. What I needed was a method that works and equipment that would repeat the results again and again.

The folks in the South that have been cooking great Q in restaurants for 30 years aren't sharing their secrets. While I make great pork BBQ, by other's opinion, I have no illusions that mine is any where near the quality of the Q my favorite place (Starnes in Paducah Ky.). They follow the burn the wood first approach. In fact, blocks away, you can smell the smoke and there is always a plume of smoke coming out of their smokestack as they burn the Hickory. My hat's off to them. They talk the talk.

If our advice allows a newbie to make good Q on the first try, so be it. I sure wish I had the advice given in these forums when I started. I advise a newbie to take someone who has success and copy their method exactly! Then after confidence building first pass success, then begin changing things and create your own methods.

I like to share my experiences as you can tell. Thanks for the response to my 3-2-1 post. Did I get it close? The sauce during the last hour is an assumption.

Regards,
Aubrey Page
post #19 of 56

Re: Great Outdoors, Smoky Mountain Series Propane smoker

So how many newbies give up because they can't maintain a constant temperature for 8 or 10 hours? I know of at least 4.

I always recommend propane for newbies. It's easy and it works. It brings more people into smoking and grows our hobby.

Once they have the basics of smoking down, then they might want to take the plunge into charcoal or wood. IMO, tending a fire is secondary to learning the principals of cooking long and slow.

The Great Outdoors is a great first smoker.
post #20 of 56
Walmart sells the Great Outdoors Propane smoker.
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