Best Propane Smokers Fancy an easier life than using wood pellets to smoke your meats? Sure you do, propane is quicker, easier, and with modern gas grills a safer option too. I’m generally a wood pellet guy, although I do have friends who rock gas smokers and to be fair, they work well and the gas control makes temperature regulation a breeze. In this roundup, I’ve picked 4 of the Best Propane Smokers out there and tested them all. I’ve deliberately tested grills from the $75 – $150 price range to show that you don’t always need to spend huge amounts to get a decent cookout.
Smoke Hollow LS2016-2 2-Burner Propane Gas Grill
Another Best Propane Smokers two-door smoker with a crazy name (what’s with the lengthy product numbers?), the Smoke Hollow promises a capacity of 3.4 cubic feet and vents to help you get your temperatures under control.
Setting It Up
This grill takes a standard Blue Rhino gas cylinder again and comes with a set of instructions. My only issue here is that the instructions are written by someone for whom English wasn’t the first language. You can read them; however, other manufacturers get this right so I’m unsure why Smoke Hollow needed to economize on this. A push-button ignition system, and easy to use gas control complete the Smoke Hollow, whilst the vents are easy to open and shut – more on those later!
One thing that sets the Smoke Hollow apart, is the huge smokebox that comes with it. You’ll be able to smoke for quite a few hours using this grill and the size of the box allows for quite large pieces of wood. As for cooking out, the Smoke Hollow easily roasts and Turkey, and I also gave it a trial with an 8-pound brisket, which came out succulent and juicy.
Another positive with the Smoke Hollow comes courtesy of its build quality. The enamel finish appears strong and every single part has a reassuring feel out it. Costing $180, it’s one of the more expensive smokers I tested, and you can see where the money was spent. If only they had given better instructions!
A heavier grill at almost 80 pounds, yet with a solid pair of carrying handles. These handles make the Smoke Hollow an easier carry than the Masterbuilt at almost 30 pounds less! You might have some trouble carrying this grill on camping trips; however, storing it in an outbuilding or shed shouldn’t be an issue at all.
I know, the name doesn’t exactly trip off the end of your tongue. Yet even though this isn’t called the Big Easy, it shows some promise. It comes with 717 square inches of smoking space and a well-engineered flame system so even cooking shouldn’t be an issue. It’s 55 pounds in weight, slightly more than the Big Easy, and doesn’t have carry handles either. This is a smoker that’s probably going to send its days in your garden, rather than in your RV. On a more positive note, customer service is well up there with the best and it’s an easy rig to use.
- Barrel size is 20 inches wide by 16 inches deep
- Porcelain-coated wire cooking grids and heat tents
- Two 7500 BTU stainless steel burners
- Carton two wheels and two side tables
- 285 square inches of cooking area
- 2 wheels
Masterbuilt MB20050716 Mps 330g Propane Smoker
Setting It Up
As I said earlier, the Masterbuilt Best Propane Smokers is a pretty easy grill to fire up. As with most propane grills it comes with push-button ignition and gets to a steady 250 – 300 degrees in about 10 minutes. The instructions are great and it also comes with a customer service booklet that gives you some reassurance that you can get help when you need it. I’ve heard good things about the staff up at Masterbuilt so support should be easy to find.
My only real beef with the design is the lack of proper carry handles for the smoker. It’s quite light, so not a complete bust; however, it would have been nice to see some handles offered.
One of the cool features of the Masterbuilt is the fact it has two doors. One for the grill and one for the smoker. This ingenious idea means that you don’t suffer from temperature drops when adding to the smoker section. Having said that, some heat does appear to escape through the doors in use so temperature regulation isn’t quite perfect, it’s okay but not as good as the Big Easy.
I ended up cooking ribs during the test of the Masterbuilt, and to be fair it did a respectable job with an even cook across the grilling space and juicy meat at the end.
One thing that needs to be said, the quality of the Masterbuilt isn’t quite up there with the Big Easy. That’s a big surprise because the Masterbuilt costs about $20 more.
It’s lightweight Best Propane Smokers, yet has no carry handles so this grill really isn’t one to be used on your travels. It’s obvious that Masterbuilt is looking towards the light use home market with this model.
A smoker with a pretty cool name, the Big Easy is a reasonably sized grill that comes in at just under £150. That’s on the high side of my round-up; however, it’s not a bad amount to spend on your first smoker.
- The temperature sensor controls the burner to maintain the desired temperature
- Four chrome-coated smoking racks
- A safety valve shuts off Burner if the flame is extinguished
- Type 1 regulator with fuel level Gauge and hose – Fuel level Gauge indicates the amount of propane in the tank
- The heat diffuser evenly distributes heat from the burner
This grill comes with Infrared Technology, which helps keep temperatures stable and allows cook your food more evenly. I don’t know about you but some grills have a terrible tendency to shunt heat disproportionately to one side of the grill – this feature could be a good one. It can hold up to 25 pounds for roasting and comes with 180 square inches of space for grilling. That’s not a bad setup for smaller parties and family gatherings. As with most propane smokers, it comes with a dedicated smoker box that you can use to pack in that smoked flavor everyone loves.
PIT BOSS 77435 Vertical Lp Gas Smoker
Setting It Up
Nice and easy is the watchword here, the propane tank is easy to attach and as with most propane models, it’s easy to get up to temperature. As far as propane tank size, it’s a standard 15-pound model you’ll be able to pick up from Blue Rhino.
It takes about half an hour to set up the Big Easy; instructions are easy to read and contain easy to follow pictures if you get stuck along the way. What I would say is that the grill is standard in its construction, so regular grill users shouldn’t really need them. If you get stuck, invite a friend over who already uses grills, they’ll figure it out in no time – you can pay them back in brisket!
This is where the PIT BOSS 77435 Best Propane Smokers lives up to its name. It’s easy to get good results with this grill and I would say it’s “newbie-friendly”. I tried the grill with a whole chicken, smoking it for several hours. The results were very good and probably easier than using a wood pellet smoker. Another positive is that the insides of the chicken were moist, yet not watery as can sometimes happen with gas grills. I also used it to cook ribs, which came out tender and juicy.
- Dual valve/dual burner system provides 100-350 temperature range
- Three porcelain coated cooking grids, 800 sq in
- Stainless Steel burners – 12, 500 BTU total
- External access to wood chip drawer and grease tray
- Large viewing window with the high-temperature door seal
Landmann USA 3895GWLA Smoky Mountain Vertical Gas Smoker
Another 38-inch smoker and also similar in construction to the Smoke Hollow. The Landmann boasts 1576 square inches of cooking space and for my money a better temperature control system that the others featured. The caps and controls on this model are also made of brass, which does away with the issue of rust!
Setting It Up
Best Propane Smokers Easy ignition, a warm-up time of about 5 minutes, and instructions that are a joy to read. In the first 10 minutes of use, I got the feeling that Landmann is all about quality. It was quite easy to put together, I would say 45 minutes to an hour are needed in total but again, the instruction booklet was an easy read and informative. The smokebox and pan are really well made, so should last the life of the smoke with ease, in fact, the quality of the entire grill is superb.
The Landmann Best Propane Smokers unit is heavy! It weighs an impressive 90 pounds so you’re unlikely to want to move this one in a hurry. Having said that, the fit and finish of the grill are good, so you’ll be able to keep using this outside without too many worries about rust. I managed to fit an entire brisket inside, which was cooked perfectly. Ribs were also cooked well too and the instructions made cooking easy.
The only negative I found whilst cooking, is that the magnetic catches for the door are a bit weak. You need to ensure the door is properly closed to avoid it letting the heat out. I also found that the gas adjustment from very severe, you could easily adjust the temperature about 30 degrees with a small turn of the knob. Just like the door, being careful was the order of the day!
Nope, you won’t be carrying this grill around much. It does have 2 decent carry handles; however, it’s not a million miles away from 100 pounds which put it firmly outside of “fully portable”. You should be able to carry out a 2 person lift to get it back into a shed or outbuilding.
- A 1576-square inch of cooking area to smoke your favorite meats, fowl, and fish
- Features heat-saving easy access drawers with a handle to access wood chip box and water pan without opening the main chamber door
- Fully adjustable heat control with front door temperature gauge. adjustable top chimney and side damper vents with plastic tab guards for optimum temperature control
- Includes porcelain-coated steel water pan and heavy-duty steel wood chip box with lid. Square, wide stance legs for stability. Rotary igniter, heavy-duty Steel construction with easy assembly
- Cast-iron burner for long life. will not rust; 10-year
Masterbuilt MB20052318 MPS 230S Propane Smoker
Finally, a gas smoker on a test that’s touted as truly portable. For those of you who read my reviews, you’ll know I’m a traveler at heart, so any grill I can take on the road is one that’s speaking to me personally! This Masterbuilt MB20052318 MPS Best Propane Smokers 230S serves up 5000 BTU Best Propane Smokers of heat, plus an easy to read temperature gauge and equally easy to use gas control knob. It also has a pair of folding legs that look suited to a life on uneven ground.
Setting It Up
Easy as pie! Part of the bonus of a portable grill/smoker is the fact the features tend to be paired down version of full-size grills. That means there’s less to go wrong and less to set up in the first place. I went from fully boxed up, to fry up in about 20 minutes. The proper heating up time is probably on the 10 – 15 minutes’ mark, a little slow but perfectly fine. Instructions were present and just as the earlier Masterbuilt model featured, customer service is at the heart of the way Masterbuilt does business.
My only gripe, and probably understandable considering the portable nature of the grill, is the small smoke box size. You’ll need to keep a close eye on it to avoid running low.
You can maintain quite low temperatures with the portable Masterbuilt. I could hold a steady 190 degrees with ease, making this a true smoker. Temperature stability was decent, allow it could easily run 10 degrees higher or lower at any given time. My other slight gripe is that the temperature isn’t completely even over the cooking area. You’ll need to shield some foods from the heat with foil to get the best out of it.
Other than that, the small Masterbuilt is a fine smoker for traveling and camping use. Its folding feet are lovely and skinny, great for using on sandy surfaces as you can sink them in. They’re also made of stainless steel which will help the longevity of the grill.
- Four chrome-coated smoking racks
- Built-in temperature gauge
- Push-button ignition lights burner quickly and easily
- Patented porcelain-coated flame disk bowl allows the flame to reach wood chips while shielding the burner from grease
- 15,400 BTU stainless-steel burner
It’s lightweight and easy to carry, just as you’d expect.
My overall favorite must be the Big Easy grill. It’s reasonably priced, great quality, and is backed up by some solid customer service. It has a better system for temperature control than the rest and I found so real quality niggles. My second choice is probably the Landmann; however, it comes with a rather high price tag so you’ll need to carefully consider it before buying.
If you need something a bit more portable, then Masterbuilts 20050116 has your back. It’s a cheap price and solid performance outweighs minor quality issues. The same can’t be said about its bigger brother, choose the Big Easy instead.