So why choose wood?

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by canned smoke, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. canned smoke

    canned smoke Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    OK, I have been absent from the smoke world for a while. I went crazy smoking lots of stuff when I got my first MES then it went belly up. I have been smokeless since. That is up until a short time ago. My wife just bought me a new MES and I will be back to smoking soon and posting my Qview.

    Now here's the deal. I am moving on from the electric smokers. I have the tank purchased, and I had some initial designs drawn up for a reverse flow using suggestions and ideas from users here. The question I have is why go the wood / charcoal route? Wouldn't a propane heated smoker with a smoke generator such as the Amaze n smoker give you just as good results but with a more even cooking temp? My initial design is for a wood burning reverse flow but I am now thinking about a dual chamber propane heated smoker. Basically just running the bottom of the tank with a burner, putting a water/drip pan the tank length above the burner and a box on the end for an Amaze n smoker.

    Besides added smoke, what other benefits does cooking with wood offer that I couldn't get with propane and a smoke generator?
  2. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The simple answers are 1) Tradition and 2) the challenge.

    Many of us started out on an electric or propane unit for the simple fact that they are easy to use and to learn on and yet still puts out some great grub.

    As we progressed and learned the ins and outs of our units, we felt the need for something more and lets face it, some of us like to play with fire!

    Many of us moved on the the UDS or a sfb unit fired with charcoal or moved up to the bigger wood burning units. Some did it for the challenge, others did it because they need the bigger units to smoke larger amounts of food.

    While your idea of using a reverse flow type set up rigged for propane has merit, I think that you will find yourself burning through the propane just to keep the unit at an optimal operating temperature. That is why the majority of propane units are the smaller cabinet type smoker.

    I know that some pig roasters are propane fired, but then they are usually roasting the hog at temps higher than the 225°-250° we typically use for smoking.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Some think the best smoke flavor comes from wood fired smokers.

    In the large units wood is often cheaper to burn than electric or propane especially if you can find free wood

    As Dutch said there is also the tradition part of it
  4. canned smoke

    canned smoke Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the reply Dutch.

    My original design was for a wood burning reverse flow. This other idea was a closed dual chamber propane smoker. Burner on the bottom of the tank, then water/drip pan full length of tank, then the cooking chamber. Maybe I should just push through with the wood burner.
  5. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I guess everyone has there preference, Me personaly, I love the wood for the flavor, the challenge, it's cheaper, etc..etc..etc..Oh yeah, the best reason is I still like playin with fire LOL
  6. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Man make fire!  LOL

    But, there really is a wonderful flavor coming from "true" wood smoke.
  7. canned smoke

    canned smoke Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the replies. I guess my goal was to find a cooking method that produced the closest consistency time and time again. I want to develop a signature flavor and I felt like I couldn't achieve that consistency with wood since there are for more variables that could alter the outcome. The wood being aged differently. Something in the wood unseen. Spikes and dips in temps as wood is added and burned down. Possibly not having access to the same kind of fuel wood every time.

    The use of propane and a smoke generator would possibly create the consistency in the cooking and smoking process allowing me to get more accurate results of testing different rubs and sauces if that makes more sense.

    Maybe I am just over thinking it.

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