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Wood Pellets in a propane smoker

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by Nths1976, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. Nths1976

    Nths1976 Newbie

    New to the group (just signed up today) I was given a nice propane smoker for my 25th anniversary at work. Very new to the smoker business - so I was wondering... pro's - cons of
    Chips (I would thing they burn too fast but I'm a newby)
    Chunks - burns longer
    Pellets ??


    Thanks in advance :)
  2. mike243

    mike243 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the site, any of those will work fine but I always preferred the chunks ,chips or pellets will aso work but get the pellets that are all the flavor wood, I prefer Lumber Jack ,post up some pictures as its easy, this site hosts them so you don't need another place to store them
  3. Braz

    Braz Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    When I used my propane smoker I used a mix of chips and chunks. Never tried pellets. I have moved to an electric smoker and rarely if ever use the old one.
  4. Holly2015

    Holly2015 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Propane burns wet so propane smokes tend to have higher humidity levels. You can use chips chunks, pellets or dust.

    Having used chips, chunks and pellets (in a charcoal and electric smoker) I have settled on pellets. They are by far and away the cheapest and last the longest. A 1/2 pound of pellets will smoke for about 12 hours. Chips or chunks for the same smoke duration it takes several pounds.

    A hurdle you will run into with a pellet tray in a propane smoker is the high humidity lever will sometimes saturate the pellets and they will not burn. This will also happen with chips. So to combat this you make a remote smoke generator that sits beside the smoker and pipe to it. This does two things.

    1. The satellite smoke generator is not effected but the interior of the smoker. So it easily burns and reliably puts smoke in to the smoker
    2. As the smoke travels from the smoke generator to the smoker (mine sits 18 inches away other place then 5 or 10 feet away) the smoke cools and creosote drops out leaving only clean smoke flavor to wash up over the foods in the smoker. While this is more noticeable with cold smoking I do think the is real benefit from a remote smoke generator even when hot smoking.

    After a smoke or two you'll notice the interior of the smoker generator and piping is coated with black tar/creosote. This is far better collected in in the smoke generator and piping rather than being allowed to be able to wash up over the foods.

    A very common smoke generator is a easy to make out of a metal mail box, 3" stove pipe/fitting and a pellet tray. If you search "mailbox" mod you get pages of information and builds. Total investment will be about $60 but it'll up your smoking game and you'll put out superior product. The nice thing is a $20 20lb bag of pellets will generate smoke for about 500 hours whereas a $5 2lb bag of wood chips will generate smoker for about 12 hours. If you do frequent smokes the cost saving using pellets will quickly offset the cost of the mailbox mod.

    Welcome and happy smoking!