Propane Smokers item created by bmudd14474, Jun 14, 2010
Pros - Gas is cheap. Lights instantly, Large Chamber
Cons - Flimsy fish/ jerky trays, hard to dial in an exact temperature consistantly, Cheaper material than other brands
Smoker is everything you need as a novice or pro. I converted my smoker to natural gas. Extremely easy conversion explained by the company on their website. Bought the #51 drill bit at Ace Hardware for fairly cheap.
This is way better than my Smokin' It (Cookshack) smoker and the electrical bill cost so much more than natural gas. After a few smokes my monthly gas bill was still only $13.
I added charcoal in with the wood and it tastes identical to a charcoal smoker.
Pros - easy to control temperature, plenty of room
Cons - if you dont have to move it, you're good!
My wife bought me this smoker for Christmas two years ago. I love it, smoke year round in the northeast, although I have to pick my days during the winter.
Great for experimenting with rubs and marinades as you can do a few pieces at a time, Have done 6 racks of ribs and three chickens at the same time (extra shelves required).
Overall a great starter / test set up, plenty of BBQ for family and friends.
Pros - Quality construction, well packaged, large size, easy to convert to natural gas!
Cons - No wheels to move it
Nice, well built smoker! Easy to assemble and convert to natural gas. Start to finish less than an hour. Heavy construction with quality parts.
This past weekend I smoked the most delicious, moist pulled pork I have ever had. Smoked for 13 hours. Only had to add water to the water pan one time. Added chips a few times and covered the cast iron pan with foil to control smoke and prevent it from burning up.
Since there are no wheels and moving it from the covered patio would require additional hands, for $100, I had a friend weld an aluminum angle frame with aluminum plate for a shelf custom made with large locking caster wheels. I now have the freedom to move my smoker hot or cold without getting help. My Dad liked mine so much he wanted a caster wheel frame for his Camp Chef SMV 24 one but then changed his mind to go with a pellet grill. If anyone is interested I will sell the extra aluminum set up for $100 plus shipping.
Pros - temp control, size
Cons - a few durability issues
I've had this unit for a few years now (smoking usually at least once a week) after I got it a screaming good closeout deal on Ebay. Overall, I'm very happy with it. The wide range of temperature control is probably the best feature for me. I can smoke jerky and fish at low temps, and sear other things at 400+. The size is huge, you can fit so much stuff in there. Seems to keep temperature steady, even in windy/cold weather. Occasionally I have an issue with the flame going out or gas needed to be bled a little to stablize the flow, but thats common on most gas units to some degree.
My only issues have been some durability concerns.
1. Front door panel is a little warped after 1 yr. Don't know if it's the heat that's done it or something else. It sometimes caused smoke/heat to leak out the front by not closing fully, but that was also partially due to next problem (see #2 below).
2. Door handle broke after 2 yrs. the "hook" and hardware holding the handle (inside )just plain wore out. I continued to use this for about 6 months after it got really squirrely, but I got to the point I had to put something up against the door to keep the front panel closed. Bought a new handle assembly from Campchef, and it works fine. I think the design could be a little better, as it just seems to be designed to wear quickly (the guts of the handle assembly).
3. The "paint" on the Temp control knob (warm, low, medium, high) wore off this past year.. had to get another one from Camp Chef.
3. Front door panel must be opened ALL the way to take out trays.. this is a little hard to explain, but you can't just open the front panel door facing you to get a tray out of the smoker, you have to go about 3/4 towards the back. Not a huge deal, but a little bit of a PIA when working in a tight space or trying to get that hot tray out with a big ole brisket on there.
4. Camp Chef has good customer service, but they sting you on shipping.
Overall, very happy and would have no issues recommending this unit.
Pros - Ease of use, easy to assemble, capacity, holds temperatures well
Cons - Thermometer is not too accurate.
I recently purchased the Smoke Vault 24" online for under $300 after getting tired of having to stay on top of my offset smoker. So far I have no complaints. I knew the thermometer was going to be an issue before purchasing it so that is no big deal to me. Mine tends to be about 25* cooler than what my digital thermometer reads. So far I've only had a few racks of ribs on but there is plenty of room for lots of food for large groups. Assembly was easy. I think it took less than 30 minutes to have it together and on the back patio ready to go.
Pros - size, large smokeing area
Cons - none that are of any interest
I love this smoker. I make my own bacon and I can get about 20 pounds of pork belly into the unit. It's great for ribs, 2 racks of ribs per rack adds up to ten racks of ribs. This is great for smoking fish, the unit doesn't get to hot on the bottom or top. The fish turns out the same on all the racks.
Pros - Price, setup, easy to use
Cons - thermometer,thermometer and thermometer
I have had only one problem and that is trusting the thermometer !!
Pros - Price is very reasonable. Camp Chef was the only unit that provided for a conversion to natural gas. Great smoker for beginner
Cons - Like several others, the first unit I received from Amazon was damaged. Temperature gauge is not very accurate
Amazon makes it very convenient to return damaged items and they give you more than ample time. So, it wasn't a real problem returning the first one. The second unit that I received was undamaged. I have a natural gas fired Weber Grill and wanted a natural gas smoker. Camp Chef provides directions to do the conversion, and a reasonably priced conversion kit that works great. One word of caution, do not take the valve apart. It is simple to remove the valve from the burner unit and drill to widen the valve orifice. The most difficult problem I had was finding a #52 drill bit. I finally found one at Graingers. Camp Chef customer service is super. They are easy to chat on line, and are very accessible by telephone. If you call after hours and leave a message they will call you back.
Pros - Easy to assemble, very nice construction, recovers temp well, easy to use, good value for your money, generates lots of smoke, great temp range
Cons - Thermometer, chip tray is a bit small
I've wanted a smoker for years but never found what I wanted. The Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24 seemed to fit my needs.
The assembly went together with ease and only a few tools. I was impressed with the quality of parts and how well they fit and the alignment of all the holes. I managed to get it together in under a half hour. I wish other products would assemble as nice as this smoker. I did read the manual cover to cover twice before starting the assembly.
Once assembled, I seasoned it, let it cool, and seasoned it yet again. This was so easy, but necessary. This left it with the tell tale brown smoke covering of all the internal parts
Having never smoked anything before, I was a bit nervous, but felt confident with the recipes I found for pork shoulder. I smoked two 8 lbs pork shoulders the first weekend I had the smoker. The first was marinaded overnight in apple juice (no injection), the second had a nice rub a little heavy in cumin, but we like cumin in our food. The results were outstanding. The bones just fell out of the cooked shoulder. Each meat was terrific on their own and the bark was outstanding. However, mixing the two pulled pork butts resulted in a wonderful combination of flavors. I've done one other pork butt since.
The absolute best meat I've done so far has to be the standing rib pork loin. My guests called it the prime rib of pork. That did not last long, there were leftovers only for one meal.
I recommend this smoker to anyone interested in starting to smoke meats. It is easy to use, operate, clean, cook with, and produced wonderful meats. The manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) is $344.95, but you can find it for $254.95 on Amazon with free shipping, or even lower elsewhere if you spend a little time shopping online and are willing to wait for them to come into stock. I was not and opted for one from Amazon.
I read where there were several units that arrived with dents in the door panel, some severe enough the door would not close. I am happy to report that mine came with only a very small dent from packaging where the hinges rested on the door front. You can't see them unless you get the light just right on the door surface. It does not interfere with the operation of the door, nor the ability to cook/smoke meats.
Since this is my first smoker, I have nothing to make a comparison to except my propane grill, which I never could get to produce any quality or quantity of smoke, so I am tickled pink with this smoker. I look forward to my first attempt at all the meats in the smoker.
Baby Back Ribs are on the menu this weekend.
Pros - Ease of use
Cons - Hard to control heat at low end of spectrum
I have had this smoker for a few years now, and have no real problems with it. My main issue is with the difficulty to keep it smoking towards the low end of the scale, i.e. below 150 degrees F. I overcome the problem by adjusting both the dial on the smoker and the propane tank knob until I get it right.