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Old March 7, 2013, 01:44 PM   #1
BerdanSS
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Gas or electric smoker?

I live in town in a pretty restrictive township for smoking, what do you guys prefer if you HAD to pick between these TWO. An LP gas smoker, or electric? Over a fire, or something where it would have to "burn out" if I needed to leave for some reason are out of the question.
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Old March 7, 2013, 01:54 PM   #2
wooly booger
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I had a Brinkman Electric for awhile. While doing a decent job, it is difficult to maintain temp in cold weather. I could rarely get the temp over 225 if ambient temp was less than 45. I went as far as wrap blankets around it. That said...they do amazing turkey.
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Old March 7, 2013, 04:44 PM   #3
Keg
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I have a wood or charcoal smoker that prefer..and also a Brinkman gas grill....We use the gas for fast cooking jobs and the smoker for cooking hours at a time....
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Old March 7, 2013, 05:04 PM   #4
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In very cold weather....

In very cold weather I found that taking a large "refrigerator" box and use it to shield the smoker from the wind. It helped me out with either my electric or charcoal smokers. I just removed it when needing to attend to the smoker.

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Old March 7, 2013, 05:06 PM   #5
RonR6
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I have a charcoal smoker and it seems to work better than the electric ones because it gets hotter and makes more smoke. I also throw wet chunks of wood onto the hot coals, you can't do that with the electric model. I have a old electric one stored in my attic, but I always use the charcoal one. I also use my gas grill as a smoker and turn on the center burner only and throw wet chunks of wood onto the middle hot burner element, but place the meat over the burners that are off. If I need them to be hotter I just move the meat closer to the center or turn on the other burners real low, but the goal is to smoke rather than cook. Grilles should be no issue in your neighborhood, just turn off and close lid when done. I smoke everything, deer sausage, deer jerky london broil, jalapenos, chicken wings after they are deep fried, etc. Hope this helps.
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Old March 7, 2013, 05:43 PM   #6
markj
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I use LP and wood in my huge smoker, I also use a smaller one made at home, google ugly drum smoker for instructions on how to build one yourself. Cost was like 30.00 and it will do the job. Some of the best ribs I ever made were done on the UDS.
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Old March 7, 2013, 06:06 PM   #7
jlcrss
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Not sure where you live but I would recommend a gas in the northern climates (where I am from). It helps keep a consistent temp in colder weather.
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Old March 7, 2013, 07:15 PM   #8
BerdanSS
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jlcrss

I live in central Indiana....no garage or poll barn. Sounds like if I want to use it year round I should go with the gas one.


Ron
grill, no problem. The deal is, I have overly nosy, busybody neighbors. And equally nosy vol. fire dept.....That I've had run ins with and had to have my town cop buddy REMOVE the "chief" from my property before in our township, to even do a hot dog roast with a fire over 15" in diameter you have to pay $25 for a 24 hour permit and the cooking "structure" must be inspected by the "fire marshal" prior to the permit to be approved. While it would be an enclosed flame.....wood burner, lots of smoke, bad neighbors and dang FD = being annoyed and harassed for 10 minuets. Yes I hate where I live. And when they come over, they come with the latter truck every light blazing and sirens. I had that happen when I sealed my concrete at 4pm on a friday, they showed up for a reported "gas leak" and I got hassled for 15 minuets and my buddy had to remove them.

Didn't really think about smoking in the grill...I have a mother of all MasterForge 4 burner stainless gas grill of the gods 3 level direct/indirect heat, ceramic searing pads cooking space for 6 large hole chickens
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Old March 7, 2013, 07:35 PM   #9
RonR6
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I also have nosy neighbors, but they like the smell of the smoke. The gas smoker may be the way to go but you could also try out the grill. I lift my center grate and throw in the wood chunks, but you have to shop vac out the ashes occasionally. I was actually thinking of cutting a small hole in that grate so I don't have to lift it up while its hot. Good luck with those neighbors.
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Old March 7, 2013, 09:09 PM   #10
redneck
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I have smoked deer in our gas grill a couple times now with pretty good results (need to experiment more with time and temp).

I bought a bag of hickory chips and soaked a couple handfuls in beer for a few hours, then wrapped them in a packet of heavy duty aluminum foil and sealed it up as tight as possible. Then you poke some small 1/4" or so holes in the foil packet and place it directly on top of the burner gaurd of the grill. Being in the foil packet keeps the ashes from becoming a mess in the grill, and also makes them smolder and smoke more. One packet is good for several hours of smoking.
I put the meat on the top rack of the grill, in the center and lit the burner on the far left and far right the first time with a small packet of wood chips on each. I had a hard time keeping the temp down with both burners on, so the 2nd time I tried it I only used one burner and one slightly bigger pack of wood chips. I kept the temperature right around 200 degrees and cooked it for 2 hours. It was good but kind of dry, I think less time or lower temps would be better.
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Old March 7, 2013, 09:11 PM   #11
shootniron
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My electric has always worked great.
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Old March 7, 2013, 10:38 PM   #12
Lemmon
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I have no neighbors.... Lucky Lucky Me!!!

I have no neighbors.... Lucky Lucky Me!!!.... and I can shoot rifles, pistols and shotguns in my front and back yard, hunt and have bond fires and grow a nice garden and other fun stuff. Its great to be:

Lemmon from Rural South Carolina
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Old March 8, 2013, 12:09 AM   #13
fatwhiteboy
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I have a Master electric. I like it because it has a timer and I don't have to keep checking the temperature. Everything has come out perfect- Pork butts, 12 hrs at 225 degrees, ribs 235 for 5 hours. Mmmmmmmmm....
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Old March 8, 2013, 01:58 AM   #14
tahunua001
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my experience with all three types.
1 electric. given it was a small one but it rarely burnt the meat, worked good but as stated, very small, no idea how a larger electric would work.
2. propane smoker, works great but seems like it can never get shut down enough and seems like every other batch of jerky we try gets burnt.
2. charcoal smoker/grill combo. my brother in law got one over the summer and after a few 'improvements' is almost the perfect smoker, doesn't burn anything, smokes great, again no great quantity but the quality is amazing.
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Old March 8, 2013, 06:54 AM   #15
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Here's what we use in the neighborhood, it's an old 90 gal aircompressor tank, that is upright. We only use two things Pecan wood and Hickory wood.
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Old March 8, 2013, 08:00 AM   #16
Keg
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Quote:
Here's what we ue in the neighborhood, it's an old 90 gal aircompressor tank, that is upright. We only use two things Pecan wood and Hickory wood.
That is smokin there....
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Old March 8, 2013, 08:21 AM   #17
Doyle
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Anything but gas. The reason is that gas produces large amounts of water vapor when flamed. There are times when "wet" smoke is OK but there are other times when you want "dry" smoke.
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Old March 8, 2013, 10:08 AM   #18
Mike Irwin
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Are you talking a smoker for things like ribs and brisket, or are you talking a smoker for things like preserving hams and bacon?

If the first, either one is fine.

If the second, as Doyle notes, gas is NOT the way to go as it creates way too much water vapor. You'll never get a good smoke with something like that and it will actually lead to molding of what you're trying to preserve.
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Old March 8, 2013, 10:23 AM   #19
BerdanSS
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Mostly ribs, brisket, chicken...but maybe a ham or two.
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Old March 8, 2013, 11:10 AM   #20
Mike Irwin
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For short, wet-cooked things like brisket and chicken, the gas won't be an issue.

But, as I and others have noted, if you're smoking bacon or a ham to keep (as opposed to using in a few days), you're probably going to have big problems.
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Old March 8, 2013, 11:35 AM   #21
Tom Matiska
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I like my Master electric. No problem getting kielbasa or ham to the proper 160 on cold days. Electric controls are a blessing. Just add more cherry wood chips every hour or two and devote your attention to other tasks.

Matercraft is a one element type, and on warm days that element doesn't stay on long enough to generate enough smoke with heavier chunks of wood. I use fully dried fine chips for those days, and less dry larger pieces for cooler days. If you're going to smoke at low temps (salmon or cheeses) I'd consider a Bradley where the smoke generator is independent of the temp control.
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Old March 8, 2013, 11:39 AM   #22
BerdanSS
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Ya I'm thinking the electric one would be best. It has a water and chip tray, three shelves and its roughly 34"Hx17Dx16W Brand new in the box 60% off

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Old March 8, 2013, 12:24 PM   #23
Mike Irwin
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Of course, you could always go full-bore nuts and get a Big Green Egg.

Friend of mine has one, and it is absolutely incredible.

It was also incredibly expensive.
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Old March 8, 2013, 02:10 PM   #24
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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I use a thermostat controlled electrically heated and insulated smoking cabinet that has a separate but fully adjustable electric chip burner cabinet connected to it. Via 6" stove pipe. Can smoke or cook anytime of the year outside. Located in MN that's a 1-plus to be able to do. (Especially during our cold winters.) Why electricity. I believe in the future at some point Environmentalist will have laws passed that will stop all use of charcoal and petroleum products for leisure activity. (because of their carbon monoxide release.) Just my opinion is all. Like so many who have threaded before me here on this subject in their preference of fuels used to smoke with.
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Old March 8, 2013, 04:23 PM   #25
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Quote:
I also throw wet chunks of wood onto the hot coals, you can't do that with the electric model.
I'm smoking right now with an electric smoker that I through soaked wood in.....on the element.......that's sitting on top of the lava rock. I've done it since new and it's smoked well for me for a few years.

When the element does go out, I'll use it as a charcoal smoker, but until then, the electric element is doing fine.
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