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How efficient are propane smokers?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi. I've never smoked or even had smoked/BBQ'ed meats before. I decided that I can't watch another last episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives without buying a smoker. icon_smile.gif

I've been researching smokers for a few days on this forums and elsewhere. It seems like a propane smoker is going to fit for me. The GOSM seems to be the most popular model. I found a one-used GOSM in my town for $75 and I'm thinking of jumping on it.

Besides dealing with issues I've read about that it gets too hot for proper smoking, I'm wondering how efficient these burners are ie. how much propane will they burn during a, let's say, 6 hour smoke.

Thanks for your input.
post #2 of 15
welcome to the forum. I cook for days on a 20lb. tank. The only mods i have made is I installed a needle valve to maintian lower temps and use a cast iron pan for chips.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Can you estimate how many 6 hour sessions you could get on a 20 lb talk? I just want to make sure you're not going through a tank in like 3 sessions.
post #4 of 15
Welcome to SMF Mike! You sir, are in for a real treat but be prepared to become addicted. There is more info here on smokin' than a person could take in in a lifetime so dive in and get started! Make sure to visit the Roll Call forum and introduce yourself. You'll be warmly welcomed!

I have used a GOSM for years and love it. Only downsides are relatively small cooking area (but lots of them) and it means turkeys are tough to do (a familiy favorite) and rib racks have to be cut in half.

Your statement about too hot for smoking isn't quite true. The problem is they won't go low enough for real "low and slow" cooking like jerky. They do fine from about 190-200 (225 is considered by many to be ideal) but many of us want less heat. You won't even notice this until you get much more proficient/experienced.

As far as efficiency, they do great. I get probably 40 to 50 hours on a 20# tank. That's a lot of good eats for the cost of a tank of propane!!

Seventy-five bucks is a good price for a used one. They go for ~$175 for new stainless steel (regular size, not the big ones).

Again, this is an outstanding smoker and a real value. It is not entry-level, it is better than that. So jump in, smoke a pork butt or chicken or two and get hooked on this great hobby!

Happy smokin'
post #5 of 15
You will get about 30 hours smoking out of a 20 lb. tank. That's a ball park figure, depends on the weather, ambient temperature, wind, etc.
What size is the $75 GOSM? Price is right. BIGGER is better. Get the largest you can afford. If you buy the small one later you will wish you had the big one.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys.

You can't take racks out to get more height?
post #7 of 15
A GOSM is my first real smoker (not counting an ECB I only used for a grill), and I've gotten wonderful results from it. Reading the SMF lets you know that there's a learning curve with it, but one you'll be ahead of and best of all, you have a place where you can ask questions... and get almost real time, reliable answers.

While it's not a 'set it and leave it' thing, it's also not something you have to baby sit constantly, get the one that you've got a lead on, and learn the ins and outs... try different things, add some of the mods folks on here talk about... I think you'll enjoy it, and the food that results!

As for what I can get on a tank - the answers you've gotten are good. We use propane for so many things - smoker, grill, brewing beer, that a tank doesn't stay put long enough for me to give an answer!
post #8 of 15
Mike welcome to SMF I have that same smoker and the tanks last for awhile like has been posted. I take a rack out when doing a turkey in fact I'll be doing a turkey tomorrow its brining right now. These are great smokers at times they are too small but thats not often. Ribs usually have to be cut in half to fit. I have smoked six butts at the same time on it. I'd be on my way to buy it if it were me.
post #9 of 15
I have a GOSM and I bought it used.
I was not to sure about in the begining.
The more I use it the more I like it.
I bought a cast iron skillet to replace the dinky chip box that comes with it.
I use the the propane only to maintain the heat after the initial charcoal and wood burn down.
I do it a little different than most, but it works good for me.
post #10 of 15
I average 25 ta 30 hours on a tank, always keep a spare on hand full cause ya know it's gonna run out in the middle of a smoke when nobody's open ta fill yer tank! I buy that GOSM in a heartbeat!
post #11 of 15
A 5 gallon propane bottle will last 25 to 30 hours for me also.
post #12 of 15
Whaddia smoking, pineapples? ;{) If so, lay 'em down! Welcome to SMF. Give up on the Diners---...yadayada etc. WE'LL SET YA STRAIGHT!
post #13 of 15
I usually average around 30 hours a tank. I also run mine a lot in 300 to 350 range for the chicken wings I do and then rest of the smokes between 250 and 275. I have the Big Block and started with small block. Wish now I had kept my small one. The only thing I don't like about my Big Block is that they didn't put in stainless steel racks like my smaller version had. Its a good idea to have a back up tank in case of that one time you think you have enough gas and run out like 2 am in the morning lol.
post #14 of 15
I get about 40 hrs also on a 20lb tank.
See how low you can get the temp before you make and mods on it. I can keep mine at about 180 and I have not made any mods to it at all, guess I got lucky.
post #15 of 15
I get 25-30 hours to a 20 pound tank with my GOSM

Hope this helps!

Take care, have fun, and do good!


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