Almost all barbecue enthusiasts will tell you that the easiest way to get an authentic BBQ flavor at home is to use a gas smoker. Cooking with a gas smoker is one of the healthiest ways to produce juicy, tender and flavorful cuts of meat; nothing tastes as good as brisket, ribs or turkey that has been smoked in a gas smoker for a couple of hours.
Cooking with a gas smoker produces a luscious aroma, and the aroma leads to an anticipation that no other cooking method can match. People love gas smokers because they are foolproof; if you burn your meat in a smoker, then you’ve managed to do something really wrong. It’s because of this reason that both novices and experts choose gas smokers for their home cooking needs.
Gas smokers give you an authentic barbecue flavor, and you never taste the heating source when you cook meat with one; you use wood chips in the gas smoker’s water pan to give your meat a unique and complex flavor. It’s easy to change the flavor of your meat by changing the type of wood chips in the pan, and you always end up with a natural smoke flavoring.
Gas smokers are perfect for people who don’t want to tend to their smoker for the whole time that their meat is being cooked; you don’t have to fiddle with coals and embers to make sure that your smoker’s chamber is maintaining the correct temperature. They are almost as easy to use as electric smokers. When you have no heating variables, it becomes easier to cook up a perfect piece of meat.
Use a gas smoker and wood chips to take your favorite barbecue recipes to the next level. The best gas smoker gives you the best of both worlds; you get an authentic barbecue flavor from the wood, and you can easily maintain the smoker’s temperature for soft, juicy and tender meat.
Top 3 Best Gas Smokers
- Top 3 Best Gas Smokers
- 10 Best Gas Smoker Reviews
- What Factors Should You Consider When Buying A Gas Smoker?
- How To Get The Best Out Of A Gas Smoker
- Using Your Smoker For The First Time
- The Good And Bad Of A Vertical Gas Smoker?
- Gas vs. Electric?
- What Wood Chips Go With my Meat?
- How To Use a Gas Smoker Video Demo
|Smoker Model||Our Review||Dimensions (inches)||Color|
|Smoke Hollow 44241G2 Vertical LP Gas Smoker||24.5 x 33 x 60||Black|
|Outdoor Leisure 34168G – Smoke Hollow Propane Smoker||34 x 16 x 14||Black|
|Char-Broil Big Easy – TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster And Grill||18 x 24 x 36||Black|
10 Best Gas Smoker Reviews
The Smoke Hollow 44241G2 vertical gas smoker is perfect for people who need to smoke a lot of food at once; the unit measures 24.5 x 33 x 60 inches, so it gives you plenty of room for smoking without crowding your food. The 44 inch cabinet doors make getting food in and out of the unit a breeze.
The Smoke Hollow has a second door, and this allows you to adjust the internal pans without losing all the smoke and heat in the unit. It has dual burners that can be controlled separately, so you can easily make small adjustments to the temperature inside of the chamber. It’s a solid unit that is made of steel, so you never have to worry about warping or heat loss.
Smoke Hollow 44241G2 Pros:
- 44 inch double door system
- Dual burners; both of them are independently controlled
- Porcelain-coated wood chip pans
- Extra large cooking area
- Two door design for easy access to the water and wood pans
- Adjustable door clamps
The unit doesn’t come assembled, but most people say that they can put it together in under an hour. This solid unit is perfect for people who need loads of authentic flavor at mid-ranged prices.
The Outdoor Leisure propane smoker is specifically made for outdoor use; you can smoke all of your favorite meats on its three adjustable cooking grids. It comes with a porcelain-coated water pan, and you can easily get it going using its ignition button. The doors have magnetic latches on them, so you can always be sure that the unit is completely sealed when you close them.
Each chrome plated rack measures about 16 x 14 inches, so you’re never going to run out of room for your food; the racks are also designed to maximize airflow through the unit. The unit has variable temperature settings, so you can always be sure that your meats are cooked at the proper level. The unit measures 34 x 16 x 14 inches, and it conveniently fits on porches, patios and even in your car’s trunk when you need to transport it.
Outdoor Leisure 34168G Pros:
- Chrome-plated adjustable racks
- Push-button ignition system
- Variable temperature settings
- Side handles for convenient transport
- Accurate thermometer for easy monitoring
This well-built unit is strong, sturdy and made to withstand the elements. It’s big, but it doesn’t use a lot of propane; people have smoked for days on one single tank.
The Char-Broil Big Easy uses technology to make sure that all of your food cooks evenly; the smoker uses a TRU-Infrared system to make sure that no hot spots form inside of your cooking chamber. Infrared cooking makes spit rods, air dampers and water pans a distant memory. You can easily fit a 25 pound turkey inside of this unit, and its unique door design allows you to easily remove food when it is done.
The unit has a specially designed propane burner that is fully enclosed. The insulated walls evenly distribute infrared heat, and they help to seal juices inside of the meat that you are cooking. There’s plenty of air flow inside of the unit, so you never have to worry about your food drying out.
This versatile unit can quickly be converted into a grill, and its 180 square inch grilling area gives you plenty of room. The unit measures 18 x 24 x 36 inches, so you shouldn’t have a problem transporting it.
Char-Broil Big Easy Pros:
- The unit can be used for roasting, grilling or smoking
- Holds turkeys as big as 25 pounds
- Temperature control
- Powered by propane
- Specially designed propane container for safety
Versatility is the key to a great smoker, and you get plenty with the Camp Chef Smoker. Let’s start with the gas
supply, and this is one of the few models that can use both propane and natural gas. The temperature range from 150F/65C to 500F/260C it’s more than enough to do a low-temp smoke or cook something a lot quicker such as a pizza or bread.
The appliance comes with two racks with 420sq in of smoking space, enough for even the biggest pork butt, and a tray for smoking jerky. There is space and attachments inside for further racks if needed. The burner drum in the bottom of the smoker is protected, which gives a more even and consistent temperature throughout the smoker and during a cook. Getting that consistent smoking heat over an extended period needs good controls and good insulation.
The Smoke Vault has three air dampers, one on the top, and two on the sides to ensure there is a good draft through the appliance to get the best smoke possible. The thick steel walls mean the heat is kept inside, with little smoke loss. If there is one drawback about Smoke Vault is its weight. At 75lbs/35Kg, and no wheels this is not a smoker that is portable like some others.
Camp Chef Smoker Pros:
- Wide range of temperatures with excellent control
- Powerful heat output
- Can use propane and natural gas
- Removable water pan and base tray
- Expandable grill space
- Burner drum protected
This is one of the better-built gas smokers, as the many glowing reviews testify. The premium build quality makes it great value for money.
If you haven’t got much space to have a separate smoker and grill, the Masterbuilt 20051311 maybe the answer to your prayers. The appliance is multi-functional as a grill, smoker, or fryer, and can run on propane gas or charcoal. OK, so it’s not the cheapest smoker today, but for anyone who is looking to cook frequently cook without much hassle, then there is probably a no better option.
The Masterbuilt 20051311 is a propane burner with a cooking chamber that can do a number of functions sitting on top. The unit itself is not very big, so it is highly portable and would be ideal for a tailgate party, or a camping trip. The modular design means it’s a matter of mixing and matching the parts you need for any particular job.
We can tell you are saying to yourself it can’t be good at any of these things, well you would be wrong. This is a great grill and smoker, as it has excellent temperature control – just what you need for the best smoked meat. This is a well-built appliance which should last for many years.
Masterbuilt 20051311 Smoker/Cooker Pros:
- Versatile function
- Good temperature control
- High heat output from the gas burner for grilling, frying and boiling
- 10.5-quart fry/boiling pot with basket included
- Porcelain-coated steel construction
- Built-in temperature gauge
- Removable charcoal basket for charcoal smoking or grilling
On the whole, this is a very credible smoker and grill, with the ability to use either propane or charcoal. Its portability makes it a favorite with those who love the outdoors.
This smoker tears the reviewers apart, some think it is the best budget smoker today, while others complain it is too lightweight to do the job. However, it does rank as one of the better gas smokers available, and at a good price is excellent value for money. The light construction of the Dyna-Glo Smoker has both advantages and disadvantages.
Being light it is extremely portable, but that does mean the metal smoke box is relatively thin, and some reviewers are concerned it would not last a long time. Having said all that, the double door design gets universal praise for making things easy to replenish water tray and the wood chips. Having a small water tray, it will need regular topping up during a long smoke, so access is critical.
The performance of the Dyna-Glo Smoker is as good as many appliances costing many times more. That is partly because the cast iron burner and smoke cabinet are well insulated and maintain a consistent smoking temperature over an extended period. Inside the smoker there are four adjustable grills, giving a total cooking area of 784 sq in (0.5 sq m). Getting the temperature inside the smoker just right is a breeze, as there is a temperature control dial, along with a thermostat display. There are also three air dampers, one on the top and two on the sides of the appliance to maximize smoke generation and regulate the temperature.
Dyna-Glo 20051311 Pros:
- Good value for money
- Wood chip tray and water bowl
- Temperature control features
- Damper vents
- Large Grilling Area
- Dual Door Design
This is not an expensive grill and comes ready for assembly. Putting it together is not a significant problem, although some users reported missing screws when they received the product. If you intend to keep the smoker outdoors in the winter, a cover will help protect it from the elements and rust.
This is one mighty big gas smoker, and it can smoke more than 8 pork butts and 12 racks of ribs or at a time. With that much room for food, it is probably more than enough even for the biggest home barbecue. Like many of the gas smokers today, it is a simple basic design, it has a single burner at the bottom of a cabinet, with a door which is full height giving access to the smoking chamber and the burner, water tray and wood chips.
All these designs do have a problem in that unless the door is tight fitting they tend not to hold smoke, which in turn means a higher fuel burn and consumption of wood. The GS40 is very popular, and there are lots of ideas online on how to improve the appliance, along with recipes and ideas on how to use it efficiently. The online community of owners makes up for any shortfalls in the product. The GS40 may be too big for most domestic situations.
Masterbuilt Model GS40 Pros:
- Simple design
- Smoker with a lot of capacity
- Good online community support
- 1,333″ of smoking space
- Door with center mounted thermometer, full height
- Water pan coated in porcelain
- Steel construction coated in powder
The criticism of the GS40 lies in the fact that it’s a very large smoker, built for an affordable price. Because of that, the construction may not be as sturdy as some owners would prefer. If you need the large capacity and don’t have an enormous budget, then this is an ideal buy, but if you don’t others we recommend may serve you better.
At first glance, this looks like all the other meat locker style gas smokers today, but this Char-Broil comes with a unique warming rack on the top of the appliance which sets it apart. It has become one of the more popular gas smokers today because of the convenient way it has been designed. The cool touch handles make it easy to open the doors and move the appliance around if needed.
The piezoelectric starter for the burner means there is no faffing around with matches to light the flame. Inside there are specifically designed grills, two to smoking jerky, one for ribs, and to standard racks for anything else. The controller on the bottom of the unit, along with an internal thermometer allows the cook to accurately regulate the heat inside the smoker.
Let’s not forget the convenient warming rack on the top of the smoker, which is there to keep your meat warm after smoking, or to warm up any sauces and such you might want to use as a garnish when you are ready to eat. The dual doors make it easier to access the water tray and wood chips to replenish them during a cook. Some users have commented that the position of the water bath surrounding the wood chip tray, immediately above the burner is a little awkward. Neither is very big so will need constant supervision and replenishing during a long smoke.
Char-Broil Smoker Pros:
- Simple operation
- Bottom drawer access to the smoke tray and water pan
- 580 total square inches of smoking space
- Rotary piezoelectric ignition
- Different racks for smoking different meats
- Warming rack on top of smoker
This smoker has most of the difficulties and/or drawbacks of other meat locker-shaped appliances. However, the end product is a great tasting smoked or barbecued meat, which will make up for any problems. Unlike some other devices this is not one to switch on and forget, it needs regular tending to get the best out if it.
When it comes to advanced features, the Masterbuilt Thermotemp has the all. It is probably the most technologically advanced gas smoker today. The appliance has lots of safety features with valves for automatic shutoff, and temperature sensors to control the flame on the burner, and the heat inside the smoker. The temperature sensors and thermostat inside the smoker cabinet can control the burner so it does not need to be constantly monitored and adjusted by hand, which is the case with most other gas powered smokers.
The gas supply auto shutoff operates should the flame go out for any reason. This makes it ideal for smoking meat overnight as it can be reliably left untended. To make things easier, it has a fuel level indicator built-in so you can monitor how much propane is left in a bottle. The last thing you want is to run out of propane midway through a smoke. With a dual door design, you have the added convenience of tending to the water bath, and wood chip tray without letting the precious smoke out of the cooking chamber.
The glass panel in the door allows you to see the 965 sq in (0.62 sq m)of grilling space over four racks where there is plenty of room for even the biggest pork butt.
Masterbuilt 20051316 Thermotemp X-Large Propane Smoker Pros:
- Patent-Pending Temperature Control System
- Dual Door Design
- Front View Window
- Safety Valve
- Fuel Level Gauge
Other reviewers do not have much negative to say about the Masterbuilt Thermotemp. However, they do point out that the grill racks appear a little flimsy considering the weight of meat they are expected to carry. All-in-all this is one of the best smokers today, producing high quality smoked meats, with as little effort as possible, and with all the modern tech you would expect.
Until now we have looked at traditional meat locker gas smokers, but you can also use the better gas grills to smoke. There is none better than the Weber Genesis, which has many of the excellent features the manufacturer is known for. This is one of the premium models in the Weber range and has a huge 5077 sq in (3.2 sqm) surface for grilling or smoking.
It also has two extra side tables for additional work space. The grill can operate on propane or natural gas, with the canister stored conveniently in a storage cabinet below the grill. With three gas burners, which can be lit separately, and a built-in thermometer and internal temperature display on the lid, controlling the heat for your smoke could not be easier.
The cast iron cooking grates help in distributing the heat throughout the grill cabinet. A smart grease retrieval system redirects it away from the burners into special vaporizers. This vaporization is intended to add flavor to the cook and extends the life of the burners.
Weber Genesis 6531001 E-330 Pros:
- Great design
- Three burner system
- Huge grilling/smoking space
- Dual fuel
- Fuel gauge
- Good temperature control
Obviously, this is a grill/smoker for someone who loves to barbecue. It’s got the option of being used as a grill or a smoker, and none of the drawbacks you would find on cheaper appliances.
What Factors Should You Consider When Buying A Gas Smoker?
Capacity – It’s important to find a gas smoker that will give you an adequate amount of cooking space. If you only cook for yourself, you can probably get by with a small portable unit. If you plan on cooking for others, then you want to find a unit that’s big enough to hold all of your food. Generally speaking, if you can afford it, you’re better off buying a bigger unit than you think you’ll need; it’s better to have extra space instead of trying to cram everything into a small chamber.
Dependability – When you buy a new smoker, make sure that it comes from a dependable manufacturer. There are tons of smokers today, and it’s up to you to choose one that will produce quality smoked foods. If you look for a sturdy unit with good insulation, your unit should be able to maintain the proper temperature inside of the cooking chamber. Flimsy units will smoke your meat, but temperature variations will make it harder to cook your foods perfectly.
Price – Mid-ranged smokers are usually the best for most home chefs. When you buy a unit, you don’t want to buy the cheapest model that you can find; if you do this, the unit probably won’t produce the amount of smoke needed to cook your food. Fortunately, mid-ranged units start at around the 150 dollar mark, so you can get a quality product without breaking the bank.
Materials – The materials that your smoker is built out of can drastically change the quality of the unit. Look for heavier units that use thick steel and insulation. If the metal that your smoker is made out of is thin, it will warp and lose heat when cooking; this is especially important if you plan on using your smoker when it’s cold outside.
Easy Cleaning – When you smoke meat, juices, fat and seasonings tend to splatter everywhere inside of your unit. If you buy a unit that has a removable rack, drip pan and water pan, then cleaning it becomes much easier. Before you buy a unit, study it to make sure that you’ll be able to clean it quickly and effectively.
How To Get The Best Out Of A Gas Smoker
So you’ve made the big decision and decided to go with the convenience of a gas smoker, then what? You know it is going to give you great quality barbecue, and you’ll have your friends and neighbors clamoring to join you in the backyard when they get a whiff of that smoke. If you want this to go on for many years and happy cooks there are a few helpful tips you need to consider to prolong the life of your investment.
Get a grill cover – If you are intending to keep your smoker outdoors all year round, then get a cover to keep it dry during the winter. Many gas smokers are made of lightweight metal, so are likely to rust if left out in the rain for any extended period. This also does not help with the hygiene of the appliance or its ability to keep the smoke inside.
Upgrade the thermometer – The thermometers supplied with smokers and grills are notoriously inaccurate. It is best to replace the supplied thermometer with one specifically designed for grilling and smoking. A meat probe thermometer is also a good purchase to check on the internal temperature of any meat you are smoking to make sure it has reached a safe level.
Get a rib rack – When it comes to messy and stick meats like ribs, it’s often better to buy a dedicated rack for cooking. A cheap rib rack can save a lot of time and effort cleaning the expensive porcelain or chromed racks that come with your smoker. Once the rib rack can no longer be cleaned completely, its time to get a new one.
Keep the heat low – Although the manufacturers of smokers often say their appliances can reach extremely high temperatures, its nothing to boast about when you are looking for low ‘n’ slow cooking. Keeping the temperature down inside the smoker, will save on fuel, and add to the flavor that comes with a longer cook.
Use a bigger water tray – Often the hardest thing to get right during a smoke is the moisture level inside the smoker. The water trays are invariably not big enough for a complete smoke and need to be replenished, sometimes more than once. If you can fit a larger water container in your smoker do it. It will save you time and the agony or ending up with dried out barbecue.
Don’t forget to clean – After every cook always clean your appliance thoroughly. This will extend the life of your smoker, and make it easier to repeat those great barbecues. Clean out the water and grease pan, making sure the wood chip tray is empty of ashes. Wipe off the grill racks, and if your smoker has a viewing window, disinfect so that it does not retain the juices from a previous cook which may taint the next one.
Using Your Smoker For The First Time
That brand new smoker is sitting in the backyard or on the patio, and you just want to get cooking. Hold on for one moment, before you do anything, read the manufacturer’s instructions. That booklet wasn’t just put in with the packaging to make up weight. There are usually lots of great tips and hints that are short cuts to you becoming a smoke master.
Before you put any meat in the smoker, best to light it up, and season it to get rid of any of the oils and residues left over from the manufacturing process. I know this will take some time, and all you want to do is get a rack of ribs or a pork butt in that smoker and cooking, but it will be worth the wait, believe you me.
After you’ve seasoned your smoker, it’s time to fire it up in anger. Let’s start with the water tray, and its a good idea to line it with foil, as it will help with the cleaning later. See if you can find a disposable metal tray that would fit inside and make the container slightly bigger to hold more liquid, this will reduce the number of times you have to replenish during a smoke. Now fill it with water, or beer, or cider. Cider is perfect for pork by the way.
It’s now time to connect your propane tank to the smoker and open the valve. Even if you are using a piezoelectric starter have the door to the smoker open before you light it. Following the manufacturer’s instructions (see you did need to read the manual), turn on the burner. If it doesn’t start the first time, switch off the valve and let any gas that might be in the cook chamber escape before attempting again.
Once the burner is lit, and the flame is established, set the temperature to around 230F/110C which is perfect for a low, slow smoke. You might have to check the owners manual again if the control is calibrated as low, medium, and high to see which corresponds to the correct temperature.
Leave the smoker to get up to heat, which will take about 10-15 minutes, and don’t forget to use the dampers on the top and sides to regulate the heat. It’s then time to put the wood chips or chunks in the tray at the bottom of the smoker. You can tell when things are ready inside when the smoke begins to billow from the vent and dampers.
Now it’s time to arrange the meat inside the smoker and begin the long slow cooking process. This is going to take several hours, and you should regularly check to see if the wood or water needs to be replenished and that the flame is still alight.
Use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat to make sure it is properly smoked. Once it is to your satisfaction, remove the meat from the smoker to let it rest. Turn off the gas supply at the valve. Allow the smoker to cool down completely before attempting to clean it.
Sit down with your family and friends and enjoy your first smoked meat.
The Good And Bad Of A Vertical Gas Smoker?
1. Propane powered vertical smokers are not very expensive, many costing less than $250, but if you can afford more, you are more likely to get a bigger smoking capacity and a sturdier construction.
2. Unlike electric smokers, these appliances do not have to be linked to mains electricity so in theory, the are portable. They could use on a camping trip or at a tailgate party, but don’t forget you will also have to carry the large propane gas tank too.
3. If you are short of space, the vertical smoker is ideal for a small backyard or patio.
4. Using propane means the burn is clean and efficient, and you are unlikely to get any soot deposits on the food.
5. Maintaining an even smoking temperature is usually easier with a gas smoker than with one using wood or charcoal.
6. Lighting a modern gas smoker is usually nothing more than a push of a button.
1. Some favorite brands are made with thin-gauge metal, which means they can leak smoke and do not perform well in cold and windy conditions as they do not have adequate insulation. Online forums and reviews will give you an idea of what drawbacks to expect.
2. Watch out for cheaper models that are not wide enough to accommodate a rack of ribs inside. If that is the case, the meat will have to be trimmed or chopped in half to get it into the smoker.
3. If you are into long cooks, make sure you always start with a fresh propane tank and have a spare ready should you run out. The last thing you want is to run out of gas halfway through a long smoke.
Gas vs. Electric?
Looking at these gas smokers, you probably realize they are very simple devices. Small meat lockers that can be heated so the pork, beef, chicken or turkey inside can be slowly cooked to perfection. Most manufacturers offer both gas and electric versions of the same product. This is the gas version of a similar smoker powered by electricity. A gas smoker has the advantage of heating up quicker than electric, as any professional chef will tell you. However, after that, there is no distinct advantage in maintaining the temperature over an extended period. Gas smokers are more portable as you don’t need a mains electricity supply.
What Wood Chips Go With my Meat?
ALDER: Has a mild, delicate flavor that goes well with fish such as salmon, and swordfish, and also can be used with lighter meats such as pork and poultry
APPLE: Another mild flavor but slightly sweet that is dense and fruity, which goes perfectly with pork, particularly ham, game, poultry, and beef.
CHERRY: Is slightly sweet with a mild fruity flavor, and works well with lighter meats such as pork, game, and poultry.
PEACH/PEAR: Again a somewhat sweet flavor, this time with a woodsy overtone that works well with those lighter meats of pork, game, and poultry.
HICKORY: Has a pungent, almost bacon-life flavor, that adds a great smokiness to meat. The more moderate flavor is better for meat that can take a stronger flavor such as beef, and can also be used with pork, wild game, poultry, and cheese.
MAPLE: A more moderately intense sweet, smoky flavor that goes well when you want a more intense smoke on the lighter meats such as poultry, and works well with ham and vegetables.
OAK: An assertive, sometimes acidic flavor, that mixes well with other woods. It works well with beef brisket and other meats where you want an intense smoked flavor.
How To Use a Gas Smoker Video Demo
Here is a video with some handy tips you should know before you purchase a new gas smoker which compliment these gas smoker reviews.
When buying a gas smoker, you need to find a unit that stays within your price range, but you can’t get one that’s too cheap. If you do, you’ll end up with a unit that doesn’t smoke your meat like it should. Always pay attention to how big your unit is; buying a small unit might prevent you from being able to create the barbecue feast that you want.
Make sure to read some reviews to help you choose a dependable brand for your gas smoker. When you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to cook juicy, tender and complex flavored meats right in your backyard.