Please help me decide - Propane or Electric?

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by jayinct, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. jayinct

    jayinct Newbie

    I have finally decided to buy a smoker, and after countless hours researching the Internet, I have only been able to reach 2 conclusions:

    1) Charcoal is what the pros use, but I do not have the time, skill, or patience for charcoal

    2) Wood pellets seem like a close second, but I don't want to spend $700 for my first smoker

    Since I want easy, I am left with either propane or electric, and this is my real dilemma.  I have read in some forums, websites, etc, that electrics are fine for fish and cheese, but don't do a good job on meat.  On others, I have read that electrics are better than propane and are almost indistinguishable from charcoal, and still others that say there is no difference between propane or electric.  I am thoroughly stumped as to which one to choose.

    I understand that propane and electric each have their tradeoffs, but which would you recommend considering:

    1) I will be smoking only meats (mainly ribs, pulled pork, brisket, birds)

    2) My first priority is getting the best taste

    (I also live in CT if that factors in at all)

    Thanks for your help!
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If you decide on electric, I would also get a AMNPS to go along with it. It will give you a much better flavor than wood chips & it doesn't need to be reloaded for hours. IMHO, my propane smoker gives a better flavor than my electric, but it uses wood chunks, and I have it set up so they burn completely much like a wood burner would. It also can reach higher temps., mine will go above 400 degrees easily so you can cook chicken with a crispy skin. The electric with the AMNPS is totally set & forget. The gasser needs to be looked after a little. I hope I didn't confuse you, and I'm sure you will be happy with either choice. Both will produce great Q.
  3. big andy a

    big andy a Smoking Fanatic

    Another newbie weighing in. . .

    I just bought my first smoker, a GOSM stainless unit that I bought through CraigsList.  I did my first smoke last weekend with 2 racks of spares and they turned out great.  The smoker was VERY easy to use.  Basically once I got the temp adjusted to 230, it didn't waver from there for 6 hours.  The only time it moved was when I opened the door to replenish the smoke box but came back within 15 minutes.

    I have no experience with electric but I couldn't be happier with the propane unit I got.

    Good luck,

  4. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Propane is easy, consistent, and can be converted to natural gas to hook up to the endless supply at your house.  Electronic controls, circuit boards and elements can and do fail. 

    BTW: I am not a pro, and I love to smoke with charcoal!  It is not difficult at all, and does offer the best results (if you use the good stuff), IMHO.
  5. jayinct

    jayinct Newbie

    Thanks for all your advice.  I decided to go propane with Camp Chef's Smoke Vault - we'll see how it goes!

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