pros and cons of propane?

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Original poster
Apr 18, 2007
I am new and I am trying to figure out which type of smoker to buy my hubby for his b day.

I have been trying to read info on the different kinds but I haven't really found anything that sways me one way or the other.

I know most people like the larger square looking ones but it is just the two of us and we honestly wouldn't eat enough to put in there in probably a month maybe longer. So I have been looking at the smaller rounder ones which I think would be more than plenty for the two of us.

I was also thinking stainless steel maybe. ???
Any pros and cons to this?

I would love to know any brands in this type you recommend.
Also please tell me any pros and cons to the smaller round ones you all might know.

I would also appreciate any input on the propane pros and cons so I can get a better idea.

It is between electric and propane , he has a charcoal one but it is just so time consumming we rarely get smoked anything right now .
And I honestly think if it is easier to do and use we will use it much more often esp if I can use it also.

We love smoking salmon but its just such a pain.

Which one is easier to use and keep temp stable?

Anyway I will write on the electric for pros and cons there as I am not sure how the forum works exactly.

Just anything at all you all can tell me would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks melh
I have used a charcoal smoker, barrel style and an electric also barrel style, two weeks ago I bough a vertical propane smoker and found I could control it far better than the other two.

Mine may be bigger than you indicated for 2 persons, however a barrel style propane might do the trick for 2 and not be to much of a fuss to keep your eye's on it while it's working. Doesn't sound like you do to frequent smoking of meats etc,, A new smoker that is easy to use might increase your enjoyment of this cooking method. Don't forget, you can preserve smoked foods.

My opinon only above. I hope the experts on this site will give there advice and get you the data you need to purchase one that works for you and have fun smoking foods!!


I researched the different electric and propane models before purchasing my Big Block.

ELECTRIC - What I liked about the electric models since they would not require trips to the propane store. What I did not like was the 110 volt models were of small capacity and some required special wood disks which is another issue in itself. I also read of several complaints were they would not generate much heat. Most smaller electric smokers cannot accommodate a brisket laying flat and must be hung instead. The larger electric models were fairly expensive and I would have to install a more powerful outlet. Some electric smokers will allow you to cold smoke where that is probably impossible with a propane smoker. Be aware that cold smoking requires extra care with food safety since the food stays in the danger zone too long.

PROPANE - As I mentioned above, with propane you will have to go to the propane store for refills and unless you are wise enough to keep at least two propane tanks around with one always full you could run out at the worst possible moment. I chose a 24 inch wide smoker since it would allow me to smoke whole briskets laying flat on the cooking grates. I also considered a stainless smoker for a while until I thought about the 25 year old Cajun Cooker I was replacing that was not stainless and was still in good working order. If you store your smoker in a shed as I do then stainless may not be a necessary consideration. Also consider that the steel smokers cost about half that of a stainless smoker that has the same burner and racks. I rather have the steel smoker and replace it a few years later on with an updated steel model with perhaps some very desirable upgrades and not spend much more for both steel smokers than what a stainless model currently costs. There are also heavier built steel propane smokers available but both the lighter and the heavier smokers will smoke food apparently equally well so why pay double for the heavier model? Kind of the stainless versus the steel scenario. So I went with the GOSM Big Block. What my propane smoker offered me was a fairly easy method of almost smoking anything but a whole pig for less than $200USD and very little maintenance. Yesterday I smoked 12 racks of baby back pork ribs. Yum, Yum!

TOO MUCH FOOD? - The great thing about smoked foods is that they are so versatile. Smoked brisket, chicken, and pulled pork can be used in soups, salads, stir-fry, sandwiches, pasta, gumbo, jambalaya, casseroles, boudin, meat pies, etc. Heck, you can even eat smoked food by itself. Think about it. LOL! My wife depends on her freezer full of smoked food. Every so often she will tell me when she is running low on some form of smoked food and the next weekend I off with my marching(smoking) orders. By the way, the 12 racks of baby back pork ribs I smoked yesterday were about $0.85 per pound less since I bought a case. Do not be afraid to get a larger smoker.
All good answers. Another consideration is do you want something that you could cook with on a camping trip or during a power outage. If so Propane is the way to go.

I also agree with Oillogger to not be afraid to buy a smoker larger than your current needs. You will probably find that when you get the smoking bug you will notice your circle of friends increasing signicantly.
They are like moths attracted to the flame, when the smoke starts blowing the friends begin showing
all good points....

if you decide to get a smoker, i do recommend an all in one smoker as well.. for me it serves a bunch of purposes... i can smoke with propane or charocoal, deep fry a turkey, grill....all from the one smoker

all depends on your needs
And it depends on how much effort you want to put into it.

You can get them in automatic or manual as well.

I'm with Teacup on the All-In-Ones. Chances are you'll have at less one type of fuel around. Good to have multiple fuels in the event of a storm or emergency.

Did find out this weekend that when I went to get another propane tank for the new Smoke Vault - because of this strange wind / storm crap all the propane tanks from the stores were already gone. Still have lots of folks without power. I had to buy one from one of those trade-in refill places at the gas station and they charged me $50 for the tank and $17 for the gas!

Of course I still have my Brinman All-In_one that uses propane, charcoal, or electric but I wanted to try the new smoker so I paid the extra $22 price for the tank.

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