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So I ended up with a Browning Smoke Vault

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I went to Gander Mountain today to pick up a Smoke Hollow smoker (after trying to return a dented up GOSM I got for Christmas to Walmart), but after seeing it I was a little worried that even the larger size would be a little too small for large racks of ribs and packer cut briskets. Then I saw a 24 inch wide Browning Smoke Vault with stainless steel door for $250 and the rusty wheels inside my head started turning.

My first experience with a Smoke Vault (I bought one the very first year they came out, back when Camp Chef was making them) was lousy and I swore I would never own another one. The unit was damaged beyond repair so I ended up returning it, losing $50 in the transaction for shipping. I ended up with a stainless steel Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse which served me well for 10 - 15 smokes before it quit working. I must not have any luck with smokers.....

So here I am with another Browning. I'm a little worried about opening up the package for fear of yet another propane smoker that looks like it came from a scrap heap (nothing wrong with that if you don't pay much for it, but at full price I expect a unit that's in perfect condition). The Browning is certainly much, much heavier than the 20 inch GOSM and Smoke Hollow so here's to hoping that translates in to better food.....
post #2 of 16
I have been looking at the Browning Smoke Vault as well so keep us posted how it works out. Our local fleet store in town carrys them. My brother in law who is one of the managers there says they are discontinuing them after they are gone and are going to another brand but he wasn't sure which brand. He said he will let me know if they go on a clearance price.

I want the convienence of propane in the winter when I want to get something fired up quickly to smoke some ribs or pulled pork.
post #3 of 16
I have a Smoke Vault 24 and really enjoy the smoker. I started out with the small GOSM and realized that I needed a larger unit. I couldn't get the BB GOSM out here so I went with the Smoke Vault.

Forluvosmoke aka Eric did a comprehensive review of the smoker..including temperature readings at the various rack levels and ventured simple mods to tweak the smoker. If you check the Propane smoker section of our forum, his post is dated 10/5/2009. It could be the 4th page in. Take care...
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Just opened the unit. Just a few small scruff marks, but nothing major and nothing to worry about. The finish is smooth throughout, but the body itself is slightly warped and has some flex. Without the handle, the door catches slightly on the bottom of the unit and the top kind of sticks out (the top part of the door doesn't naturally want to close all the way with the lower part). I would not pay the asking price for this unit, but the price is ok if you can find it at a close out sale. The back panel pops in and out, but everything else seems fine. I think it's a keeper, and when I put it together the unit might feel a little sturdier (and hopefully, the door straightens out). As far as propane units go, the build quality does seem higher than others, but no where near the masterbuilt Electric Smoke House I own. I don't understand why propane units are made so cheaply.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I've read that post before. I hope I enjoy the unit once I get it together.

Do you use chips or chunks?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Did he say why they are discontinuing them?
post #7 of 16
"Do you use chips or chunks?"

I am usually smoking thinngs in the 230-240 range. I usually use place a medium sized chunk on the heating plate and set the smoker temp at high to get the chunk smoking. Then I lower the temp of the smoker to what I want to smoke at, place the meat in the smoker and not open the smoker again until an hour or so later when its time to add another chunk of wood.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks again.

So chunks only last about an hour? Have you tried stacking them to get more time? If I can find a way to get 4 hours or so, I'd be thrilled.
post #9 of 16
I would take that one back and insist on getting one the the door fits better on. The first one I purchased from Sportsman's Warehouse had a similar issue with the door. I took it back and exchanged it for another one and the fit is much better. You will still get leakage around the door but it doesn't affect the smoking efficiency at all. Just keep in mind that it is made in China!icon_rolleyes.gif
post #10 of 16
No he didn't but it's not uncommon. Most likely another manufacturer was willing to give the store a better profit margain than Smoke Vault. Usually this has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with profit. Could be a new guy on the block with a better product wanting to get it out there. I could buy the Browning and then find out what they replace it with is a better product at a cheaper price.
post #11 of 16
Lately I've been using Macadmia nut wood that I get in bulk. I can cut the pieces to chunks/splits that gives out an hour to an hour and a half. However, when I use hickory which I purchase, I have done as you suggested, stacking. Works good for me too.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm getting tired of cheap products. You buy cheap, you buy again. Unfortunately, that has moved on to mid ranged products (and even some so called high end products) where you think you're spending extra money on quality only to be fooled later.

As far as the unit is concerned, it was the last one. I'll call Browning next year and see what they say. I do not want the door to rub off the protective coating.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, the unit is mostly together (I know, I'm taking my time) and the door seems to be fitting much bettter. The door is no longer rubbing the bottom of the unit, but it's still not close to square (the gap at the top front edge is 2 or three times larger than the gap on the bottom front edge). Still, the unit looks and feels more impressive since putting it together.

On another note, the included screws are extremely cheap. The heads strip way too easily from hand tightening. Also, since the heads strip, I wasn't able to tighten one of the legs very well. It's still tight, but I'm unable to tighten to the point that the nut will no longer turn from the pressuer of a mini ratchet (the screw turns with it and I'm unable to stop it with a screw driver since the head of the screw strips).

If I could somehow align the door properly, I think I'd be very happy with the unit.
post #14 of 16
"The door is no longer rubbing the bottom of the unit, but it's still not close to square (the gap at the top front edge is 2 or three times larger than the gap on the bottom front edge). Still, the unit looks and feels more impressive since putting it together."

I had a similar problem with mine as well. Seems like the hinges that the door is afixed to were welded out of alignment causing that space at the front top edge to be off. Mine had a 1/8 inch gap at the first 5 inches from the top. I had to use spacers (washers) to raise the bottom left of the door to close the gap. Then I went to an range/oven repair shop and bought some silicone gasket (used to seal the oven doors) that I stuff the length of the door at the edge with the gap. Only thing is that each time I open the door to check on the product, I use a chopstick to pry it out....Not a problem as it seals in the smoke. It seals it so good that smoke now escapes from the two side vents which I modified to close completely. The only other modification I did was extending the Chimney by about 8 inches as was suggested by Forluvosmoke aka Eric...... I hope this will help you. icon_mrgreen.gif
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
My door isn't that bad (I don't think there's an actual gap between the door and the inside flap that stops the door). I just think the door itself isn't square, and who knows how it will change once I heat the unit up.

That's a good idea about the gasket. Obviously, I'm going to try mine out first, but if I can find some kind of super thin liquid gasket that is oven safe I might go for it (I'd like to avoid replacing the door handle with a chop stick if possible PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif).
post #16 of 16
I think the Browning is a great choice from what I read, and if I ever decide I need a propane unit that will be the one I would most likely get. I bought the 40" MES so I could smoke a whole rack of ribs and the Browning 24 will do the same.

Congrats on the new smoker
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