So which gas smokers is worth your hard-earned dough? This list is organized from lowest price to highest.
1) Smoke Hollow 2415PG Pellet Grill | 2) Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill with Flame Broiler | 3) Masterbuilt Compact Outdoor Camping Propane BBQ Smoker Grill | 4) Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 LP Gas Charcoal Smoker Searing BBQ Grill | 5) Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker | 6) Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker | 7) Landmann USA 3495BGW Smoky Mountain Vertical Gas Smoker | 8) Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker | 9) Smoke Hollow PS4415 Pro Series 44″ Propane Smoker | 10) Smoke Hollow Pro Series Lp Gas Smoker | 11) Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker | 12) Smoke Hollow TC3718SB Gas-Charcoal-Smoker Combination Grill |
This gas smokers guide will start with the pros and cons of using gas as an energy source for a smoker and following on a description of how a gas smoker works together with our opinions of the gas smokers that I’ve been lucky enough (or not in some cases) to cook on.
I must say at the top that not a “gas” man, I much prefer charcoal or wood as my chosen fuel source and judging by the reduction in brands over the last few years it would appear that you do too.
Gas is excellent for hot and cold smoking because it works well for the production of smoke and (in the case of hot smoking) is also a good source of supplementary heat.
The Advantages Of Gas
- It’s a clean burn, the only by-products are water and carbon dioxide.
- It’s portable in the form of LPG so making it easy relatively quick to set up a cook out.
- It’s controllable (to an extent). Turn the valve on the burner and you get a bigger or smaller flame that will change the overall temperature in the smoke chamber more or less immediately.
- Water is a by product and with smoking we are actually trying to reduce dry weight. It’s a subtle point and one more for cold smoking than hot where a water bath may be used anyway. To be honest, I’ve never found it to be a problem.
- Despite being controllable it’s sometimes still very difficult turn down the gas without it extinguishing.
- The gas flame can blow out in strong winds.
- LPG is odorless but gas smokers do still give a different flavour to food.
- Gas can leak. This shouldn’t be a big concern provided you regularly test your equipment and always ensure that your gas tank is in the open air. It’s a pain when you’ve had a leak and didn’t notice it, especially if you’re ready to cook and haven’t got a spare canister.
- Gas is expensive
How Does A Gas Smoker Work?
I’ve prepare this drawing below to help you visualise what’s going on inside the gas smoker.
The gas burner in the bottom provides the heat through lava rocks to the upper food chamber. The purpose of the lava rocks is to provide a hot substrate on which you can smoulder your wood chips and create smoker.
This part of the smoker might differ from model to model indeed even in my homemade smoker I used an old frying pan rather than lava rocks.
Above is the food chamber. The number of food racks will be driven by the size and the height of the chamber and whilst having a larger volume for food it’s always worth remembering that the bigger the food chamber, the more energy required to heat it.
Separating the heat and smoke from the food is the water bath which provides humidity to the proceedings. It also acts as a drip tray to stop fat dripping down onto the heat source and also to some extent for smoke dispersal.
Not all gas smokers take the shape of this bullet smoker and as you read on through the gas smokers guide there are a number of subtle differences but in essence the process remains the same.