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How to Use a Propane Smoker and How Does it Compare to an Electric Smoker?

propane meat smokerChoosing the best type of fuel remains an endless debate, including the world of barbecue, grilling and smoking.

In the past before refrigeration, meat and other foods were smoked to preserve it. That technique led to delicious results like bacon, sausages like knackwurst, smoked ham, smoked fishes like trout and herring–commonly known as kippers)–jerky of meats like beef and venison, jalapenos for chipotle peppers, salt and paprika for seasoning and smoked salmon.

Today, most people do smoking for pleasure, whether it’s making your own bacon or having family and friends over for ribs and pulled pork. If you are already enjoying the benefits o a propane smoker, here is some advice.

Tips for using your propane smoker

  • Make sure you use the right type of wood. There are specialized woods designed for your propane smoker that are available, including both flavored and unflavored varieties. The last thing you want to do is to use treated lumber or plywood. These woods contain chemicals that are harmful when smoking food.
  • While you are marinating your meat, soak your wood in water for 30 minutes so you can create a smoky flavor in the smoker.
  • Much like a propane grill, you should always preheat your propane smoker for about 10 minutes or so before you place the food in the smoker to cook.
  • When you have finished cooking your food, turn off the burners and close the gas valve on the propane cylinder.
  • For safety sake, clean the smoker only after it has cooled down to prevent injury.

Propane smokers versus electric smokers

Choosing what you use for smoking can be a big investment not just of your time but of money. If you are considering investing in a smoker and you’re wondering about the benefits of a propane smoker compared to an electric smoker, here are some key differences between these two types of units.

Consider convenience

At first glance, the electric smoker looks like a convenient choice. They are easy to use with a push of a button. They are also available in both digital and analog versions, have easily adjustable thermostats, and get the food done faster than propane smokers do.
But let’s take a closer look.

There’s a big inconvenience when it comes to electric smokers. Electric smokers naturally have to be plugged into an electric outlet to work. If you don’t have easy access to an outdoor electrical outlet in your back yard, you’ll have to handle getting one installed. Another problem is that if the power goes out, your smoking duties go on hold and the meat in the electric smoker could spoil.

Another issue with electric smokers is that they take longer to heat up before you can start smoking, just like an electric oven that needs pre-heating.

Portability

The need to be plugged into an electrical outlet is limiting when it comes to an electric smoker. You have to keep it close to an outlet, so you are limited as to where you can use your smoker in your own back yard. If it’s raining, you have to make sure you’re in a covered area because water and electricity represent a big risk..

And forget about going places with an electric smoker. You can’t take an electric smoker almost anywhere like you can a propane smoker. Propane smokers do not need an electrical outlet to work. That means you can position it anywhere in your back yard, perhaps near where you can relax under a shady tree while tending to your smoking. And you can also take a propane smoker on your camping trip, on vacation in your RV, or the big family reunion at a state park.

Comparing cost

Both propane and electric smokers come at reasonable prices. You can get a quality smoker of either kind for around $200, and sometimes for even less. But propane smokers do generally cost less than electric smokers.

However, running an electric smoker for a long time can add to higher electricity bills. Propane is affordable. And, since electric smokers often come with digital technology and other technical features, repairs can get much more expensive. Propane smokers are simpler in terms of parts and technology. If you need to have your propane smoker repaired, it will not be nearly as expensive as an electric smoker.

Quality of food

Now we’re getting to the most important big question when it comes to propane smokers vs. electric smokers. Which kind of smoker provides the best results?
And the winner is propane!

One of the big advantages propane smokers have over electric smokers is that you can get smoked food that’s closer to authentic results like you would get with a traditional charcoal smoker. It makes sense, as the technique used in propane smokers is very close to the technique used when using a charcoal smoker. In fact, it’s so close, some BBQ restaurants use propane gas smokers!

One telltale sign of propane’s superiority when it comes to smoking your food is when you serve the meat. Meat cooked in a propane smoker will have a better smoky flavor, and is more likely to have the desired smoke ring.

Find out more about the advantages of propane all around. Contact local propane provider today.