Propane smokers use a lot of wood, so ... .

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by smokersouth, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. smokersouth

    smokersouth Fire Starter


    I've been using a propane smoker lately. I'm still learning it, but all in all I like it a lot.

    But it sure does go through wood fast. Smoking a chicken with propane takes 3-4 times more wood than my Weber Smokey Mountain did and paying $6-$10 for those little bags of wood chunks at the big box stores got old fast.

    Thank goodness for Craigslist. I found a new in box electric chainsaw for $50, a used, portable workbench with a vise (for holding wood) and a guy selling smoking wood, $20 for a big wheelbarrow full.

    I brought a huge beer/food cooler to him and he filled it until we couldn't close the lid for $10.

    The wood was thick oak wood splits between one and two feet long. Over the weekend, I cut them all vertically into good sized chunks. It looks to me like I have what would have cost me $200 or more worth of wood had I bought wood chunks at one of the big box stores.

    The only other expense was a box of heavy duty construction bags to keep all those the wood chunks in.

    The amount of smoking wood I have on hand now is worth (at big box prices) three to four times what I paid for the equipment and I can use the equipment for other things too!

    I'm still very surprised at the amount of wood the propane smoker uses. I estimate that the cost of propane fuel is about equal to what I paid for charcoal to run my WSM. But wood? Forget it! The WSM is a wood miser compared to what this propane smoker uses.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use the AMNTS tube smoker from Amaze N Smokers for adding smoke in my propane smoker. I works in the smoker with pit temps up to 285. Above that the pellets ignite and do not smolder. For higher temps I use my mailbox mod and pipe the smoke into the smoker. With the 12" tune I get 4-6 hours of smoke. The 18" tube I get 8-12. Both times depend on the pit temp.
  3. smokersouth

    smokersouth Fire Starter

    Believe it or not after that long post about chainsaws etc., I like to keep things simple if I can.

    Pellets, pipes and mailboxes aren't for me. Plus, if I i want to crank up my smoker for a few minutes to finish off a chicken with crispy skin, I end up with the pellets burning up, right?

    All things being equal, are pellets more or less expensive than charcoal or pre-packaged wood?

    And there's another thing I don't like about those pellets. They look like like rat droppings from a giant wooden rat.[​IMG]
  4. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    but the pellets are concentrated so it doesn't take very much product to produce the results we like to get. No cutting, hauling, having room to store the logs, BUT,  I'll still use real logs for a brisket, but I am a pellet person using the AMPS on everything else.
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't use my propane smoker to cook poultry because I smoke all my poultry at high temps. So I use my Mini-WSM or my 18.5 WSM for that. Now if I did use the gasser as you describe and turn it up for the last few minutes of the smoke I wouldn't be concerned about burning up the pellets because the cook is over.

    As far as pricing its probably a wash.  I get 6-8 hours of smoke from a pint and a half of pellets in the tube or the same amount of smoke from (3-4) 2"-3" chunks of wood.

    The nice thing about the pellets and the tube is I can cold smoke in the gasser without doing anything. Which is important to me because I cold smoke all kinds of things.
  6. smokersouth

    smokersouth Fire Starter

    Hmmmm. I had not considered the cold smoking aspect. I've always wanted to try it. You have me thinking now, giant rats orr no giant rats. :)

    Can you just add pellets to a smoker box or something like that and hit them with a torch to get them going and cold smoke something that way?
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  7. First off, you will have to pardon me if this sounds like a stupid question but i used to work tech support and you have no idea the number of times i got a call for a monitor that was not turned on.

    Your wood that your smoker is burning up, do you have that soaked in water prior to use, or are you just dropping the dry wood right in the wood pan? If dry, soak the wood in water for 30 minutes or so, the moisture will control the burn rate, you will get good smoke, and your bag of wood will last longer.

    I bring that up cause nobody mentioned it yet, and you didn't either.

    As to the pellets, i use one of the amazing tube smokers, liked it enough to purchase the smaller model as well as the bigger one, in the big one for about a cup of pellets i can smoke for 6-8 hours easy, i purchased a couple of the 5lb bags of pellets along with the smoker and it has taken me the better part of 3 years to get through them, smoking at least once or twice a month. i smoke a lot of stuff in the summer the smoker can be running every week. those pellets last forever

    smaller model works great for short smokes for burgers and the like.

    for my tube smoker/smokers i use one of these, just set the tube smoker on it, plenty of air flow all around the tube

    i drilled 4 holes under it to provide air and have it setting as far as it can get in the bottom of the smoker from the burner. it has worked great for years.

    and to your question about just dropping them in the pan and useing a tourch, strickly speaking it will cause them to burn and smoke. but, they will consume all the fuel (pellets) very fast doing that, so your smoke time wont be much, with the tube or the box one from amazn it is made to burn them a little at a time in a controlled way so they last for hours, and you dont have to fill it. just add what you want for the time you want to smoke. 

    If anything it is a more controlled way of smoking
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  8. rc4u

    rc4u Fire Starter

    I put a tube on the bottom of my smoke hollow under the burners as there are a few big stamped holes on bottom and plenty of air and works good...never had as good of luck putting above burners in any place starting at burners and up to shelves
  9. miamited

    miamited Fire Starter

    I know this is an old thread, but I just came across it.

    I have the amazn tray and tube. I use the tray for cold smoke in my vertical gas smoker with no flame in the wood box. When doing a hot smoke, say at 225, can I do the same instead of using wood chunks or would the flame cause the pellets to burn instead of smoke?


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