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Top 5 Best Propane Smokers (Review)

by Lianne Jones April 05, 2022

Top 5 Best Propane Smokers (Review)

Who doesn't love the taste of a well-smoked piece of meat? Whether it's brisket, pork chops, a chicken, or whatever else you like, chowing down on a perfectly cooked, smoky cut is one of life's great pleasures. That's why a lot of people like to buy their own smokers so that they can enjoy it at home whenever they like.  

Propane smokers are a great option for these people since they're a nice and simple way to get a smoke going.

However, there are a lot of options on the market and some of them are, to be frank, not worth the money you'd pay. The last thing you want is to fork over a hefty sum of money for a dud, but don't worry because help is at hand.  

This article will give you the lowdown on some of the very best propane smokers available right now so that you'll get your money's worth. We've also included a buyer's guide and an FAQ to make sure you know absolutely everything you need to know before you decide.  But for now, let's get right into the smokers themselves!

1. Masterbuilt MB20051316

Masterbuilt MB20051316

Ease of use alone might be enough to recommend this smoker. Straight out of the box, it'll probably take you around an hour to put together. It's not quite as simple as a flat pack coffee table, but it's not all that much harder either, there are just a few more pieces you need to be aware of.  

Once you've got it set up, it's not hard to get cooking. All you need to do is fill the water pan with water, prime the propane tank by opening the valve, press the ignite button, and then set whatever temperature you need.

It's really that simple, with no fancy technical settings to struggle with. You might find that wood chips don't last all that long in this smoker, which can be inconvenient. However, you can also use larger chunks which will last longer, making the cooking process more streamlined.

The four racks inside the smoke cabinet mean that you'll have a great deal of space to work with, so you'll find catering for larger groups or parties to be no trouble at all.  

One small problem here is that the smoke cabinet isn't perfectly sealed - you'll notice smoke escaping from the edges. This means that some of that smoky flavor that you really want in your meat is being wasted (presumably along with some heat as well). Still, it's not a dealbreaker since your meat will end up flavored regardless.

An important and welcome safety feature is the shut-off function for the burner - it turns off if the flame is extinguished, meaning you won't have to worry about any mishaps with the propane.

About the heat, though - that's another area where this smoker does an excellent job.  When you set the heat level that you desire, not only will it go to that exact temperature (in all parts of the smoker - no uneven heating here) but it will stay there too, even if you're leaving it on for several hours.

In a world where too many ovens and smokers are inconsistent, heat unevenly, or drift after a while of being on, this is a huge plus, and it means you can be confident that your meat will be cooked perfectly every time.

All in all, this is an ideal first smoker for anyone looking to dip their toes into the BBQ world.  It's of very solid quality for the price and since it's so easy to use, even beginners shouldn't have much trouble getting the best out of it.  

Even more experienced smokers will be impressed by the great temperature control, so this is a good option for just about anybody.  

Pros

  • Very straightforward to use.
  • Good value in relation to price.
  • Heats evenly and consistently.
  • Can take both wood chips and chunks.
  • A safety valve makes sure the burner is shut off if the flame goes out.

Cons

  • Smoke cabinet isn't perfectly sealed, leaking smoke.

Also available on the company's own website.

2. Cuisinart COS-244

Cuisinart COS-244

You might be slightly surprised to hear the name Cuisinart pop up in a list of the best smokers.  They've established a reputation for making very solid kitchen appliances, but as it turns out, they do a mean smoker too!  

To start with, we have to say that it's very well-designed and built. There won't be any problems with smoke escaping from the smoke cabinet here, as the handles make sure the door is well and truly sealed.

The wood chip pan is also coated in heat-resistant porcelain, guaranteeing that it's safe from damage, and it's also surrounded by the water pan.  

This adds a nice dose of steam to the heat and smoke, which helps to keep your meat juicy and avoid it drying out, even with meats like chicken that can be easy to dry out if you're not careful.

Both pans can be easily pulled out for quick cleaning, and the porcelain surface is easy to wipe down. The vertical design also means that you'll be saving quite a lot of horizontal space, which is great if you have a busy patio.

Inside, there are four racks for grilling many different kinds of meat simultaneously.  It'll fit more or less anything, although if you have a large rack of ribs, you might need to break it up into two or three pieces.

One problem you might encounter is the racks being a bit close together - if you're smoking something with a lot of height (like a chunky chicken or turkey, for example), you might have to make do with only two or three of the racks.

Another very welcome detail here is the warranty - it's good for three years.  This is a lot longer than most of the competitors, and should give you great peace of mind about this smoker's longevity. 

Pros

  • Well sealed smoke cabinet.
  • Four racks for large meat capacity.
  • Porcelain surface is easy to clean.
  • Produces juicy, tender meat.
  • Long warranty (three years).

Cons

  • Hard to use all four racks if meat is vertically large.

 Also available fromWalmart.

3. Pit Boss 77435

Pit Boss 77435

Pit Boss is a famous name when it comes to smoking meat and this is another excellent entry in their range.  Just to be clear, even though it's called a gas smoker, the only fuel that it will accept is liquid propane - don't try to use natural gas instead.

To start with, you shouldn't have too many problems putting it together - the instructions are clear enough, and none of the parts require all that much effort to put snugly in place. It's heavily built and very sturdy, so you can expect it to last for years as long as you keep it well maintained.  

Despite this, it only weighs 52 pounds, meaning that you'll find it pretty easy to move around your yard as necessary. To make it even easier, it comes with wheels and a handle, so that anyone will be able to move it.

It's an excellent smoker when it comes to maintaining a stable temperature, and you can pick from a range 100 - 350 °F, which should be plenty for just about anything you'd be likely to want to smoke.  

It boasts four grilling racks, of which three are porcelain coated - this makes for much easier cleaning, so you won't need to worry about grease and burnt pieces getting stuck to the racks.  

The glass front of the smoke cabinet makes it easy to check on your meat as it's cooking, so there'll be no need to constantly open it to check.This is very good, as doing that can mess with the heat levels and stop your meat from cooking as it's supposed to.

The wood chip drawer and grease tray can both be accessed externally, which means that you can easily get to them even while the smoker's cooking - good if you need to top up any more wood chips before that meat's done.  

That water tray will hold enough water to last for around three hours if you're cooking in the 200 - 200 °F range, which means that you won't be able to leave it unattended for a whole night, but aside from that, it'll do an excellent job.  

Pros

  • Glass front for easy checking on meat.
  • Maintains a stable temperature well.
  • Easy external access to the chip drawer and grease tray.
  • Easy to move around.

Cons

  • Water tray won't last overnight smoking.

Also available from Pit Boss's website.

4. Solaire SOL-EV17A

Solaire SOL-EV17A

This one is something a little different to most other propane smokers, even though it still uses propane as a fuel. We'll explain how.

This grill is what's sometimes called an infrared grill, whereas most propane grills use something called "blue-flame grilling". This infrared grilling means that instead of being cooked over a flame, the heat comes from a ceramic heating element. The ceramic burner on this grill is capable of generating a lot of heat very quickly - indeed, its power output is way beyond most of its competitors.  

While most grills heat your food both directly and indirectly (by heating the air within the grill like an oven does), the heating here is all direct, which means it works much more quickly than the combination of direct and indirect heat.

This is ideal for getting a perfect sear on your meat, and you'll find that the meat that results is juicier than meats cooked the traditional way. It's also more fuel efficient, and you'll find that your propane will go further than it would with a more traditional propane grill.

It also takes a different approach to getting the smoky taste into the meat as well.  It doesn't take wood chips or chunks unlike most of the other smokers on this list.

Instead, it employs an innovatively designed grilling surface to help do this. It catches the drippings from the food and then immediately incinerates them, with the resulting smoke being added to the food as delicious flavor.  

We haven't even mentioned the fact that it's totally portable as well - it only weighs 15 pounds, and it fits easily into the trunk (or, failing that, the back seat) of your car. This means you can take it with you for outings and have delicious meat at your picnics.

However, this does come with an obvious cost - the cooking area isn't the biggest. In fact, it's one of the smallest ones on the market. Of course, this is what makes it portable, so it's up to you to decide whether the sacrifice in the cooking area is worth the portability.

Also available here.

Pros

  • Easily portable.
  • Generates a lot of heat very quickly.
  • Sears steaks exceptionally well.
  • Keeps meat - particularly red meat - very juicy.

Cons

  • Not ideal for low and slow cooking.
  • Small cooking area.

5. Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D

Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D

This excellent smoker comes in both propane-powered and charcoal versions, but we'll be focusing on the propane version in this interview. It comes in three different sizes: standard, large, and extra large.  

Whichever one you go for, you'll be getting a large, well-built machine. Even the standard sized one has more than enough room for large cuts of meat, as well as things like chickens and turkeys. The grill racks are all moveable (and removable), so you can arrange them however is convenient for you, to allow for more space for particularly large pieces of meat.

The water and wood chip trays are not only made of steel, but enameled in porcelain. They're located separately from the main cooking section, so you'll be able to access them during a cook without needing to let any heat escape, which is great.  

Speaking of which, it's also great at keeping the heat in in general - the cooking section is well sealed - which means that it won't leak smoke either, meaning that all of that flavor is going to the food rather than being lost to the air. It also means that inclement weather conditions won't affect the cooking process.  

The smoker also includes removable rib racks and sausage hooks so you'll be able to smoke these perfectly. A lot of other competitors don't include these as standard, so this is a pretty nice bonus.

Pros

  • Retains heat well.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Easy to access the grease and water trays.
  • Well-built.

Cons

  • An analog thermometer isn't the most accurate.

The smoker is also available from the manufacturer's website.


Buyer's Guide

Choice Of Wood

You might already know this, but there are several different woods you can choose from when it comes to smoking meat.

It's not an irrelevant choice - different woods can give you different flavor profiles, changing the taste of the meat. We can't go through every possibility here - there are just too many - but there are some common ones you might want to consider.

Oak

One of the most common smoking woods, and a solid choice for beginners.  It gives a flavor that's usually about medium strength and doesn't risk overpowering the meat.This makes it ideal for those just starting out, although many experienced smokers appreciate the flavor too.  It works well with just about anything, really, so don't be shy to try it out.  

Apple

Smoke from applewood will give a sweet and mild flavor. However, it does take longer than some other woods to really settle into the meat, so if you want to use applewood, make sure you're prepared to smoke the meat for a long time.  It goes particularly well with pork and poultry, including chicken.

Mesquite

This wood packs a more intense flavor than most others, and so is best used in small quantities, or in combination with another wood to provide extra flavor.  It's best suited to red meats that can handle the stronger flavor.

Portability

Some smokers are portable whereas others aren't. People generally like to use them in their own backyards, which means there's not much need for them to be portable.  

However, their being portable means you can take them with you on excursions. Portability typically comes at the cost of size (and therefore cooking space). You'll have to decide for yourself whether you think the trade-off is worth it.

Size

The other side of the portability coin. Before you decide on a smoker, make sure that it has enough cooking space for your needs. If you have a large family, for example, you're going to want enough space to cook enough meat for everyone.  

If your smoker's not big enough, it'll lead to trouble down the road. That said, if you think you'll only need to cook smaller amounts of meat, you can probably go with a smaller smoker.  It'll probably cost less, and you'll need less propane to boot.

Ease Of Cleaning

What with all the meat juices getting splattered around the place, not to mention crumbs and burnt on pieces of food, you're going to need to clean your smoker at least every once in a while.It's easier to clean some than others.

One thing to consider here is the grease tray and the water tray.  In some models, these slide ride out ready for you to clean, in some cases even if the smoker is on and cooking.

Also look out for certain parts being coated in porcelain, since this wipes clean very easily compared to uncoated steel.

Ease Of Setting Up

It might not be the major concern, but you might also want to consider how easy your smoker is to set up, particularly if you're not going to have anyone to help you do it. There are none on this list that wouldn't be possible for an individual, but nevertheless, some are easier than others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Propane Smokers Good?

Propane smokers are often compared - and not always favorably - to charcoal smokers. However, the main convenience of a propane smoker comes in the speed, convenience, and affordability that they provide you with.  

For example, propane grills tend to work extremely fast because there's no need to load or light them beforehand, and they generate a lot of heat very rapidly once lit. On top of this, they're easy to use, requiring minimal maintenance (especially if you stick to the manufacturers recommendations).

All of this means that you get a quick meal before returning home, as opposed to spending half a day making a smoker before having time to eat. 

Aside from their portability, propane smokers also feature some amazing benefits over traditional charcoal smokers. First off, propane takes up less space, allowing you to pack in larger quantities of meats and/or vegetables when smoking.

This makes the cooking experience much easier, as it allows for better control over any temperature issues that may arise.

Additionally, since propane doesn't leave ashes behind after being combusted, cleaning your propane smoker is significantly simpler than cleaning a charcoal smoker - just wipe down the areas where you've placed hot foods. 

And finally, propane and gas tanks are relatively affordable, especially compared to a single, massive piece of equipment like a charcoal smoker.

This means that they're very popular with people who are just starting out with smoking meat, since it provides a low-risk way for you to dip your toes into the world of meat smoking.  

Do Propane Smokers Use Lots Of Gas?

It depends, but it might be less than you think. How much gas you burn through will hinge on which model of smoker you're using and how hot you're running it.

Certain models are more efficient than others, but most modern ones are capable of making a bottle of propane go a lot further than you might expect.

What Foods Can I Smoke With A Propane Smoker?

You can smoke pretty much anything, although certain types of food do well with certain woods. Generally speaking, you want something that has a strong flavor profile, such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, game, etc.

When choosing wood, you should look for one that has an aroma similar to what you'd find in the food you plan to cook. If you don't know what kind of flavors your food will have, try experimenting with different kinds of wood.

It's not all just meat, though. Recipes exist for smoking just about anything you can imagine.  This ranges from the fairly mundane (vegetables like corn and peppers) to the more weird and wonderful (cakes, mac and cheese, etc.).  

Do You Use Wood Chips In A Propane Smoker?

Yes, chips are generally added to propane smokers as this is usually where the smoke comes from. There are many different types of wood you can choose for this - see the section on the subject in our buyer's guide above.  

However, one of the items on our list (the Solaire smoker at number 4) uses the drippings from the meat to generate the smoke instead.

Are Propane Smokers Safe?

Yes. While some people might get a little nervous about the idea of cooking with propane, it's not really anything to worry about as long as you use your common sense and follow basic safety precautions.

You'll need a well-built, reliable smoker to start with (and any of the ones on this list more than meet that requirement).  

After that, it's just a question of keeping the propane bottle away from naked flames and heat sources, ensuring it's properly connected, and so on.

You should also always follow the manufacturer's instructions to make sure you're using the smoker in the way it was intended to be used so you can minimize any potential for mishaps or accidents of any kind.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a list of five of the very best propane smokers available to buy right now. Now that you've read this list, along with the buyer's guide and FAQ section, you should be clued in on everything you need to consider before you make a decision on what to buy.  

Smoking meat is a great hobby, not to mention the fact that well-smoked meat is one of the most delicious things you can eat. With any of these smokers, you'll be enjoying amazing meat in no time, so happy smoking

Lianne Jones
Lianne Jones


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