Advice Needed...Propane vs Electric Smoker?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by idsmokethat, May 26, 2016.

  1. Hello Fellow Smokers..

    I currently own a charcoal/wood smoker and enjoy using it, but my wife and I just had our first baby.  I want to smoke more often, but maintaining the fire isn't as convenient with all of my extra duties around the house.  I know you get what you pay for...but I'm hoping to stay under $200. Any advice or recommendations are welcomed!

    I've also seen the Bradley smokers, but I'm not sure about those puck things for the smoke..I currently use logs so I'm nervous about switching and maintaining a good smoke flavor.
  2. jirod

    jirod Smoke Blower

    Why types of food do you generally smoke?  Do you do a lot of ribs where you wouldn't want to cut them in half to smoke them, full packers, etc?  Some of the smaller smokers (like the MES30 and the Masterbuilt 2-door propane) aren't very wide.  Do you do much for smoking things like summer sausage/ring bologna/dried beef?

    I have both an MES40 (which may be a bit out of your price range) and a 2-door Masterbuilt propane.  I used the propane for years and really liked it (supplemented it with the A-Maze-N tube smoker) and like it.  But when I started making sausage had trouble keeping the temp low enough without losing the flame, so went to the electric, which I use mostly now (until I get my new Bellfab offset here shortly I hope).

    My experience the MES are good and with the tube or pellet A-Maze-N smokers are basically "set it and forget it" for lack of a better term.  The propane you don't have to baby much, but at least to me the external temp/wind changes would mess with it some.  So if I got it set early in the morning, by mid-day temp could be different.

    What type of smoker do you have now?  Guys have had pretty good luck it seems like with extended cooks using things like the Digi-Q.
  3. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I have an MB 2 door gasser that I like, but you're still going to have to babysit it some & it's hard to keep lower temps. Since I got the offset all I use the MB for is cold & warm smoking with a mailbox & hotplate set-up, which it's great for.
    With your situation it sounds like you'd be best off with an MES & a pellet tray.
    A pellet pooper might work, too, but I don't know much about them...
  4. My favorite things to smoke are ribs and brisket.  I have a vertical smoker now, so I have to separate the tip from the flat part of the brisket to get it in there, but it hasn't impacted the flavor too much (not that anyone has mentioned anyway)...  My main concern is flavor followed closely by temperature control.  I know electric is usually a set it and forget it, but Ive also read that electric smokers take a lot longer to get up to temp and then if I open the door to add wood or baste the temp will drop and take too long to get up.  I've also read some reviews that said some electric smoker struggle to maintain 225ish when completely full of meat.

    I'm also not sure how easy setting the temp on a propane tank will be.  I don't want to sacrifice any more flavor than what will automatically happen when I make the switch from my charcoal/wood smoker.

    Thanks for your advice!
  5. I only have propane - a Smoke Vault 18' - but I love it. Definitely easy to maintain a steady heat.
    idsmokethat likes this.

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