Best Propane Smokers: XL, Set & Forget, Portable + More

Nothing beats a luscious piece of beef that has been painstakingly smoked for hours until it is juicy and melts in your mouth. There is one item that is more scrumptious than that succulent smoked meat.

And that means eating the exquisite smoked meat anywhere you please: in the parking lot before your team hits the field, out in the woods with the family, on the beach with a few beers, or at a friend's house for the grand final.

A smoker cooks meat at a low temperature using plant-based fuel and smoke, such as charcoal or wood chips. It will infuse the meat with a rich flavour and tenderise it over a period of four to twelve hours of consistent contact with moderate heat and substantial smoke.

Charcoal smokers will tell you that when charcoal smoking is done properly, the meat falls off the bone and has an appealing smoky flavour.

If you lack experience, using a smoker may be tough, especially when it comes to establishing cooking times and even the kind of wood to use. That is why we will dissect how to run a smoker so that you may cook confidently and comfortably.

This is where the gas smoker, your new best buddy, comes into action! No extension leads are required; all that is required is a canister of propane. That is, it is OK to smoke yourself and your family into a food coma in your favourite environment.

You may thank us afterwards! Our collection of the best propane smokers available ensures that your smoking always hits the mark.

What Is A Propane Smoker?

A gas smoker is a kind of outdoor cooking equipment that smokes food using propane. Additionally referred to as vertical propane smokers, these devices, like their charcoal counterparts, burn wood.

The fundamental difference between a gas and a charcoal smoker is the heat source.

Rather than using charcoal briquettes, gas smokers heat using propane or (with a conversion device) natural gas. Both machines are far simpler to operate than a charcoal barbecue, but neither is very robust.

Gas smokers are a low-maintenance option that is available in a variety of forms. Almost all are cast iron or stainless steel in construction.

The best gas smokers vary in terms of features, cooking surface, temperature control options, warming racks, double doors, a variety of cooking and smoking racks, and optional accessories such as push-button ignition and WiFi-enabled digital thermometers.

With so many choices, it's essential to read recent smoker reviews before making a purchase.

A vertical gas smoker heats a cooking chamber through which air circulates, convectively heating the food. Smoking engulfs a piece of meat in a cloud of hot smoky air, raising the meat's internal temperature and imparting a rich, smoky flavour.

As with charcoal and electric smokers, gas smokers are vertically structured, with the cooking chamber on top and the heating source on the bottom. Gas smokers comprise the following components:

Grill racks

The majority are equipped with stainless steel grill racks that may be used to cook meat directly on the grill or to support cast iron skillets for roasting. As with gas grills, vertical gas smokers have connections for a propane tank, which acts as the source of cooking fuel.

British Thermal Units are used to describe the heating capability of a gas smoker (BTU). As a general rule, higher-priced models provide more BTU.

Gas Burner 

Each gas smoker has a propane-fueled gas burner (though some propane smokers can run off a natural gas tank with a conversion accessory). This stainless steel burner produces a live flame that acts as the major source of heat in this kind of smoker.

Wood Chip Tray

A wood chip tray surrounds the burner, enabling selected hardwood fragments to burn softly and create smoke.

Water Pan

Above the wood chip tray is a water pan that is first filled with cold water to prevent the device's interior temperature from quickly increasing. When water is heated, steam is produced, which aids with convection cooking.

Vents And Dampers 

Due to the oxygen-fueled nature of the flames, a gas smoker's temperature settings may be modified by airflow. Heavy-duty dampers located at the bottom of the machine may be opened to enable extra air to enter the device.

Oxygen feeds the flames, which provide heat. Meanwhile, the top vents or dampers of the smoker may be opened to let heat escape. Additionally, heat is lost when the front door of the unit is opened.

Types Of Smokers You Can Try

OUR TOP PICK

Cuisinart's COS-244 is our selection for the best all-around gas smoker. The COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker is a convenient model. Let's begin with the vertical smoker configuration, which maximises available space on your patio or in your garage.

Additionally, they moved the vent from the top to the back of the smoker, freeing up the top for tools, spices, and maybe a cheeky beer.

The supplied 40-inch line is very flexible and works with any standard propane tank. It heats up quickly, and for a more controlled cook, you can adjust the gas supply to manage the heat, as well as the vent to limit the amount of smoke in your oven.

A convenient thermometer can help you make such adjustments throughout the cooking process. It's encouraging to see the wood chips maintained away from the flames, since this maintains an equal smoke and temperature throughout.

There are no aggravating flare-ups or temperature fluctuations.

Two doors make it easy for users to access the smoker. Both of them securely shut with a twist of the handle, retaining all of the flavour you're creating. Four 14 14-inch stainless steel shelves are included on the inside for stacking delicious delicacies.

Additionally, they're easy to remove, which comes in handy when smoking a large bird or piece of meat.

You won't have to spend hours cleaning up, since the wood chips and water are collected in a porcelain enamel steel pan. At an economical price, the Cuisinart COS-244 comes packed with everything you need to cook a delightful smoked meal.

Pros

  • The two-door design enables you to add water and wood chips without having to open the main cooking cabinet, which would disturb the temperature and smoke.
  • A tight door seal helps to minimise smoke and heat loss.
  • Detachable racks provide significant adaptability.
  • Utensils may be left on top of the gadget due to the back venting.

Cons

  • When you add more water to a combined wood and water tray, the temperature lowers and you temporarily lose smoke output.

EDITORS CHOICE

The Masterbuilt Portable Propane smoker is ideal for smoking in small locations while yet being large enough to roast whole turkeys, pig butts, and more.

Utilize a one-pound or a twenty-pound propane tank. This smoker is great for indoor usage, tailgating, camping, and beach outings.

If you want to be the envy of every camping or beach BBQ on your social calendar, the Masterbuilt Portable Propane Smoker should be your first choice.

Constructed for mobility, this bad boy will accompany you and your family to countless cookouts, delivering exceptional results.

Naturally, given that this is a Masterbuilt, push-button ignition and an integrated temperature gauge are included. However, you have a brilliant little design with folding legs that makes putting it in the trunk or stashing it in an overcrowded garage a snap.

These critical dimensions come in at a compact 23 x 23 x 15 with the legs stowed, which means that everyone now has a little smoking space in their lives.

Two chrome-plated cooking racks provide enough space for a turkey, two pork butts, two racks of ribs, or four gorgeous chickens. As a consequence, no one should be hungry, whether on the beach, during a game, or when hiking through the woods.

Pros

  • The foldable design makes it easy to take this smoker in the trunk of your car.
  • For added convenience, a temperature gauge is incorporated.
  • The push button ignition makes starting simple.

Cons

  • If you want to use it with a larger propane tank, an adapter hose must be purchased.

BEST VALUE

The extra-wide body of our Dyna-Glo LP Smoker makes it excellent for cooking ribs for a crowd or for individuals who want jumbo-sized servings of meat. You get four height-adjustable grill grates and a total cooking area of 1,235 square inches.

However, this is not the case. This kid will adapt to whatever tasty cut you chose to feed your family next, thanks to the attached sausage hooks and retractable rib rack.

If size is important (which we believe it is when it comes to smoking), consider upgrading from the 36-inch standard size to the 43-inch variety. With 1,904 square inches of grilling space, you'll have enough space to smoke for the whole neighbourhood.

Regardless of its size, the Dyna-Glo Wide Body LP Gas Smoker is worth mentioning for its two cast iron burners. While this added power costs somewhat more fuel, it also ensures that your meat continues to smoke regardless of the weather outside.

Because the doors are pre-installed with a gasket, there is no room for mistake when it comes to containing smoke.

The temperature monitor has a "smoke zone" indication that indicates the ideal temperature for smoking meats. Ideal for those new to the smoking scene who want guidance.

Additionally, the item is composed of durable porcelain-enameled steel, with both the water bowl and wood chip box fashioned of thick gauge steel.

Their size eliminates the need to check on things every ten minutes, giving you more time to relax with friends, watch a game, or practise your hush puppies.

Pros

  • Extra-large cooking capacity in a wide-body design perfect for cooking whole racks of ribs and other larger portions.
  • As standard, it has sausage hooks and a separate rib rack.
  • This larger model's dual cast iron burners provide enough heat to enable smoking in frigid places.

Cons

  • Although twin burners use more gas than single burners, this difference is significant when running a larger apparatus.

RUNNER UP

Masterbuilt is the market leader in temperature control for gas smokers, which should come as no surprise. You'll like cooking on the Masterbuilt ThermoTemp Propane Smoker if you're a meticulous control freak.

Through the use of patent-pending ThermoTemp technology, the temperature sensor modulates the burner. Thus, once set, you can sit back and let the gadget do everything while you claim credit for it.

A heat diffuser uniformly distributes heat throughout the brisket, ensuring that no part of it is undercooked or overcooked.

Four chrome-coated smoking racks provide enough storage for your most recent experimentation.

The normal model has a cooking space of 700 square inches; but, if you're in a hurry, fire up the 40-inch model and you'll quickly be able to enjoy 12 chickens, two turkeys, four racks of ribs, or four pork butts.

Your wood chip tray is concealed under a second door, which enables you to experiment with various flavours without fear of heat loss.

Masterbuilt has taken precautions to ensure your safety, including a safety valve that instantly shuts off the gas supply if the burner flame goes out.

Additionally, a type 1 regulator and a fuel level indicator are included to simplify and safeguard gas management. Most importantly, there is no danger of running out of gas while presenting a half-cooked piece of meat to a voracious crowd.

To summarise, the Masterbuilt ThermoTemp Propane Smoker is a handy all-in-one solution for gas smoking.

Pros

  • It has a self-regulating temperature control, obviating the need to adjust the gas to maintain the appropriate temperature.
  • A heat diffuser distributes heat evenly around the room, preventing hot spots.
  • The fuel level indicator indicates how much gas is left in the bottle.

Cons

  • While the glass door design is appealing, it can fog up with moisture while cooking, making tracking the development of the meal difficult.

RUNNER UP

Perhaps you have a big family or a broad circle of friends. Or maybe you just like smoked meat. We understand.

And Masterbuilt agrees, having designed the MPS 250S XL Propane Smoker to answer exactly those first world concerns. If you're going to cook on a large scale, you're going to need this gadget.

With 1,318 square inches of cooking area divided between four chrome smoking racks, this is a veritable beast of a smoker. Two push-button-ignition burners ensure that every piece of meat gets the smoky treatment.

This also allows you to attain high temperatures if required, demonstrating the versatility that Masterbuilt is known for.

Due to the unit's size, the double door design is advantageous, as are the integrated wheels and rear handle, which facilitate transportation. Additionally, two grease pans and a separate water pan are included.

Additionally, the MPS 250S enhances temperature, smoke, and moisture control by having three dampers for fine-tuning your cooking environment.

As well as this, there is a readily accessible thermostat and an intuitive control panel, so you won't have to worry about your next big cook.

Pros

  • Dual burners ensure that this huge machine receives an adequate amount of heat.
  • The dual door design enables you to add water and wood chips without interrupting the cooking process by opening the main door.
  • Three dampers provide you more control over your home's temperature, smoke, and humidity levels.

Cons

  • Wheels on only two legs can make for difficulty when moving the smoker.

RUNNER UP

[amazon fields=”B000URBBVK” value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]
Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24" Vertical Smoker, Body Dimensions 24 in W x 16 in D x 30 in
Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24″ Vertical Smoker, Body Dimensions 24 in W x 16 in D x 30 in

If you want to utilise your natural gas supply to fuel your smoking habit, the Camp Chef Smoke Vault is the answer. Once linked to the supply (through the optional Natural Gas Conversion Kit), you will never run out of electricity during a power outage.

While natural gas does not provide as much heat as propane, this is irrelevant for low and slow smoking, and you will also save money. Having said that, if you're looking for a portable smoker, this device works great right out of the box on propane.

Once started, which is lightning quick because to the unmatched snap ignition, the temperature is controlled by heat-control knobs and an incredible three damper valves.

You've installed a thermometer in the door to monitor the oven's temperature and ensure that your smoking is at the appropriate temperature.

With two adjustable smoking racks and a jerky rack, there is plenty of room for experimentation. Additionally, the heavy-gauge steel wood chip tray and water pan demonstrate the unit's superior craftsmanship.

Pros

  • With the addition of a conversion kit, it is possible to convert it to operate on natural gas.
  • Three dampers allow for exact control of the amount of smoke and heat produced.
  • Two adjustable smoking racks and one jerky rack maximise kitchen flexibility.

Cons

  • Expect some smoke to pass through the door, which may optionally be sealed with a gasket.

What Other Types Of Smokers Are Available?

A charcoal smoker is a device that uses low, indirect heat created by burning charcoal to smoke food for a lengthy period of time. While some grill manufacturers provide equipment that includes both a grill and a smoker, a charcoal smoker is not the same as a charcoal grill.

The terms "charcoal smoker" and "smoker grill" or "water smoker" are often used interchangeably.

Best Propane Smokers XL, Set & Forget, Portable + More

A standalone vertical charcoal smoker is a four-sectioned appliance.

The firebox is the source of heat. A 15-pound bag of charcoal will burn for around 15 hours, which is more than sufficient time to smoke a brisket. To give each batch of meat a different flavour, wood chips will be added to the coal briquettes.

Above the firebox, the water pan (or water chamber) is positioned and filled to around three-quarters full with cold liquid. This doubles as a temperature controller (you don't want your charcoal smoker to overheat) and a steam generator (which aids in the cooking process).

Food is cooked in the cooking chamber, often on grilling grates similar to those found on a standard barbeque grill.

A cover is put on top of the smoker, which confines the smoke and allows it to permeate the meat. The lid will have a vent to enable smoke and steam to escape as needed.

While cooking your dinner, a charcoal smoker maintains a steady temperature for many hours at a time. The internal temperature of the meat inside the cooker will ultimately approximate that of the surrounding air.

The meat will only have the flavour of a BBQ smoker if it is cooked slowly, as opposed to on a regular barbecue grill, where flames lick at the flesh and it sears in minutes.

Experiment with woods that have a high degree of tensile strength. While not every new electric smoker will have a wood-burning option, the finest nearly invariably do.

Along with creating your own bespoke dry rub, marinate, or wet brine (like the finest outdoor chefs do), you may make your own personalised wood mix.

Perhaps you are a purist when it comes to meat smoking and would never combine one kind of wood with another, but you may find success mixing hickory, alder, or mesquite with a fruitwood such as apple or cherry. Beef smokes very nicely with all woods except apples.

Chicken is delicious when smoked with a variety of woods besides oak and maple. When smoked with alder, oak, or mesquite, fish becomes very delectable. Vegetables taste fantastic when smoked over hickory, pecan, or maple.

And, with the exception of mesquite and oak, pork shoulder and pig butte go well with practically everything.

Large chunks of wood, rather than chips, should be utilised, since they smoulder more slowly and consistently. The wood pieces should smoulder and burn toward the hottest portion of the fire, rather than right on it.

Each cooking cycle, a piece or two of wood smoke is all that is required to infuse your meat with wood smoke.

The best burn and flavour are achieved via the use of carefully designed hardwoods, fruitwoods, and nut woods. Soaking the wood pieces before laying them on the coals is superfluous; wood does not absorb much moisture, and moisture may cause the coals to get damp.

Tips For Using Your Smoker

In comparison to other kinds of smokers, operating a gas smoker is relatively straightforward—perhaps not as simple as using an electric smoker, but certainly easier than using a charcoal-based device.

Whether this is your first or fiftieth time smoking, the following are a few easy guidelines that each prospective pit boss should follow:

Maintain an immaculate smoker. The fact that propane burns cleanly is a significant selling point. Allowing burned food waste to accumulate in your grill will negate this benefit.

After each cooking session, give your cooking surfaces, from cast iron pans to frying grates, a thorough cleaning.

Maintain an appropriate temperature while smoking meat. Gas smokers are intended to cook meat at a far lower temperature than a conventional charcoal or gas grill.

To get soft meat with a smoky taste, plan on a lengthy cook—anywhere from several hours for a rib rack to a whole day for a large turkey or ham.

Cooking durations for brisket, perhaps the most popular smoked meat, average around 75 minutes per pound of beef, assuming an ideal smoking temperature of 225°F. 

While many vertical propane gas smokers now have built-in temperature gauges or WiFi digital thermostats, for maximum accuracy, you should still invest in a digital meat thermometer.

Allow plenty of cooking space for yourself. While you don't want your smoker to take over your patio, make sure it has a big enough cooking surface to allow for precise preparation of your meats.

A tall vertical smoker may double or treble the cooking surface, while a broad smoker with twin doors enables you to smoke larger cuts of meat without cutting them up.

At the end of the day, having a grill that is somewhat larger than necessary is preferable than having one that is slightly smaller, although certain scenarios will need a smaller cooker.

Mick Rogers