Three Things to Know Before You Buy a Propane Smoker

Power and simplicity are the hallmarks of propane smokers. Here are some helpful features to look for when you’re shopping for one.

Propane smokers excel at smoking large amounts of food with a minimum of effort. Propane-fired burners allow you to crank up the heat easily, which is a big advantage if you’re smoking food in cold weather. You make temperature adjustments by turning a control knob. There’s no need to open a door and add fuel to keep the heat going, and you can use one anywhere you can carry a propane tank, like a weekend cabin or deer camp. If you have a propane barbecue grill in your backyard, your learning curve as well as your prep time is considerably shorter—just disconnect the grill’s propane tank and hook it up to the regulator on the smoker.

Shop smartly for your propane smoker by keeping these three things in mind:

1. Pick a smoker with good temperature control.

Pit Boss Grills Vertical Gas Smoker
Pit Boss Grills Vertical Gas SmokerPit Boss Grills

You adjust the heat level inside the smoker by increasing or decreasing the propane flow, as well as by manipulating the vents (which also allow for regulating the amount of smoke inside). Many smoke recipes call for the smoker to stay at a precise temperature for several hours, so look for a smoker with controls that allow you to fine-tune that heat level.

2. Dual doors and multiple racks are advantages.

Cuisinart COS vertical propane smoker
Multiple racks mean you can smoke a variety of foods and a lot of them, which is a time and fuel saver.Cuisinart

Dual doors allow you to add wood and/or water without allowing a lot of heat to escape.

3. Some propane smokers do double or even triple duty.

char-broil the big easy infrared smoker roaster
If you want to roast something during warm weather and don’t want to operate your kitchen oven you can use a double-duty smoker to get the job done.Char-Broil

If you’re looking to economize or don’t have a lot of backyard space, look for a smoker that will also function as a grill. Some also function as roasters, allowing you to cook a whole turkey outside.