Propane smokers

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Feb 19, 2006
Denver North Suburbs
One of the hardest parts of smoking is keeping the temperature constant. I recently learned that you can purchase a Propane Temperature Control Valve from Sentry Propane which will control the temperature of your smoker. The unit is designed for turkey fryers and has a sensor which is installed in the cooker and is connected to an adjustable control valve in-line between the tank regulator and burner. The unit costs about $25 and can be ordered on-line at I have one on order and will follow-up with performance report once it is installed and working.
Looks interesting PG, and you're right about the hard part (keeping a constant temperature). I can see it's place in a commercial setting like catering where time is money and a person has other things to do cateringwise than tweaking the fire.

I like the challenge of mastering the fire vs. the weather. Sure, I know where I need to turn the control dial to maintain a 235 * box. The wind or lack of it and the ambient temperature (too cold or too hot) makes it necessary to fine tune the flame to maintain that temp. Besides, it gives me an excuse to go outside and leave the back door wide open (it annoys the wife! :twisted: )

Let me know how it turns out. I may have to get me one as I have several caterings booked for this summer.
PG, Thanks for the link that sounds like a neat lil gadget that just might have to make its way to the north country.
Dutch, I was laughing at your hard Coffee almost came out my up here in Michigan...where the days temps are now ranging from 18 to 50 , I get yelled at all the time to for leaving the door open.....first they yell about the door being open....then they get a whiff from the smoker and say...ummm that smells good what are you cookin?
I received the unit today....looks pretty straight-foward. You can learn more from some guys on the forum at who have adapted it to their smokers. I have a wood burning barrell smoker for those days I can spend a casual day of smoking, but there many weekends that I want to smoke but can't spend the time to tend the fire. By the way, the wood smoker produces the best results! I have four smokers, and use them all.

High-Tech Smoking.....I also plan to install a convection fan in my box smoker to keep even heat throughout the box. Also eliminates the need to rotate or move the meat around. I mainly use the box smoker for larger batches of meat (12 to 14 racks of back ribs) or multiple meats.

I'm not a commercial smoker, my family and friends just love my BBQ. I vacuum pack my meat and bottle my sauce for them to take home. They furnish the beer and good company!
I'd be interested in knowing what the operating range is on that propane control valve. It has to be a pretty wide range. The ideal temp for smoke cooking which we all know is 250 is way to low a temperature for any kind of deep frying. If that is the low end of the valves operating range I would definately check its accuracy with a good reliable digital thermometer before I set a promising piece of meat in there and forgot about it for the afternoon.
Hey bradx, the range is from zero to 450 degrees. Turkey fryers should operate at 350 degrees.

I installed the unit yesterday and fired up the smoker (no meat, just the empty box) and set the temp at 200 degrees. It brought the smoker up 200 degrees and kept it there for 1 1/2 hours. I then set it for 250 degrees, it took about 15 minutes to reach 250, but once there it maintained the temp until I shut it down 1/2 hour later.

This is just a 1st test with my box empty. I had to make some mods for installation and installed the unit in-line instead of the at the burner input. Seems to work fine. I also left the original temperature control knob in place and set it on the "high" setting. Can't wait to put it to the real test with some ribs in the box!
Thats good enough for me. Guess it's time to pull out the ol' credit card. I got the same problem as you. The love of smoke cooked food is severly overcome by the inability to give it the time required. Thanx guy. :)
PG, Can you tells us in detail what your modifications were and maybe post some post some pixs?
The sensor wire/line is about 3' long with a small temperature sensor on the end. My installation was temporary to see how it worked. I plan to drill a small hole and insert it towards the top of the box.

I will post some Pix next weekend. I purchased a 3' gas hose and some brass fittings from Lowes and inserted the valve between the regulator and where the regulator hose normally attaches to the grill.

You can purchase the Sentry Valve at Cabela's or Bass Pro if you are lucky enough to have them in your neighborhood. A Bass Pro recently opened here in Denver, Awesome Place!
PG, I ordered on on line yesterday and I didn't even think to check Cabela's!! I kicking myself because there is one 30-40 minutes south of me. Oh well-I got confirmation that the payment was received and should be at my house in a week.
Have mine on order, should be in late this week. I not much of a modder but this looks pretty stragiht forward....hopefully it will be.

Take care,

Earl, I know you checked out the Bradley forum and saw the installation of the unit on a custom made unit. The guy did a great job building his smoker but didn't do much with installing the TCV. Maybe he isn't finished. At any rate his testimonial for the TCV was positive. (I have a Bradley Smoker which I use for fish, Jerky and Chicken. Works great for small loads.)

Reflect, there are plenty of smoker folks here to help if you need it. The mods are actually pretty easy. The hard part for me was figuring out the proper fittings to adapt the unit to the propane system. I found them all at Lowes, the Big-Boy-Toy-Store.

If the weather is nice this weekend (it's been snowing and cold all week in Denver) I can finish my installation and test it under true smoking conditions.

Ok... I have a question. Looking for a small propane smoker that I can mount to the rear bumper of my camper (I live in it). It will be tied into my 2 tanks.

Any suggestions? is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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