When the weather is lovely, outdoor cooking is an absolute delight. Barbecue nights are one of the best parts of summertime.
Whether it’s on a fire pit or a charcoal grill, nothing beats eating smoking hot barbecued meat. If you want your barbecued food to properly retain the smokey flavor, use a smoker.
Different from a charcoal grill, a charcoal smoker is most commonly used for smoking food. In a traditional charcoal smoker, the food is cooked over burning coal. Wood pellets or chips are often added to enhance the flavor. However, controlling that heat is difficult.
Here’s where propane smokers come in. With these easy to use gas smokers, you can control the temperature and cook delicious smoked food.
What is a Propane Smoker?`
Propane smokers are a type of gas smoker that runs on propane. They are more portable than electric smokers, which need an electric connection. You don’t need a natural gas line to operate them. They are an affordable and useful addition to your cooking tools.
They are often vertical units and come with multiple racks for cooking a few items at once. Lights up immediately and you can control the heat. There is a pan above the burner to burn your wood chips or pellets.
They are easy to use and comparatively safe. They do not take too much space and are easy to clean. There are a variety of options for propane smokers, with special features setting them apart.
How does it work?
Propane smokers have a few common components. We have the burner that creates the heat to cook your food. On top of the burner, there is a pan where you put the chips or pellets of wood that flavors your food.
There is always a place for a water pan to regulate the temperature and keep your food moist during the heating process. This pan is usually found between the wood pan and the smoking area.
First, fill the water pan. Attach the propane tank pipe to the smoker and turn it on. If it does not light up on the first try, don’t try again. You must close the supply and let the gas clear up first.
Always practice caution when using a propane smoker. After the burner is lit, be careful not to touch the insides of your smoker with bare hands.
After lighting it up, adjust the temperature. Let the smoker preheat for five to ten minutes to make the temperature stable. Make sure the vents or chimney damper is adjusted.
Next you add wood chips to the tray. Soaking your wood is optional, but it prevents your wood from catching fire quickly.
Understand Which Smoker is Right for You
Carefully assess which smoker will be right for you. If you frequently cook for large parties, you need a smoker that has the capacity to cook a large batch. Opt for a smaller one, if you only cook for a handful of people.
Price and quality tend to go hand in hand, so it is better to spend a few more bucks and get a decent smoker. If you wanna cook big pieces of meat, try to get a smoker with adjustable shelves.
Try getting one of the vertical smokers, as they are easier to use. Getting one with separate doors for the water pan or wood pan shelves is better as you lose less heat while resupplying.
Five Tips for Using a Propane Smoker
Once you follow the process mentioned above, your burner is ready for use. Marinate your food before you start the smoker so that you don’t feel the need to hurry later.
Keep your eyes on the wood and water, as either of these burning up might result in your food not getting smoked properly. These five tips will give you deliciously smoked food.
Keep Your Propane Smoker Clean
Smoker maintenance is not just about food hygiene. If you don’t clean the build-up in your smoker, it will rust. Clean your smoker after use to ensure that it stays functional for a long time.
Wait for your smoker to cool down. Always wear gloves because the interior can get super greasy. Start with the smoking chamber.
Use a grill cleaning brush to scrape bits of food from a grill. Try to oil the grill lightly before using to avoid hardship during cleaning.
First sweep out the food bits and ash build up. Clean with a sponge using nothing but warm, soapy water. Clean the pans and door with that too. Wipe down with a clean dry cloth when cleaning ends.
Know What Hardwood to Use
If you choose your hardwood carefully, you can achieve perfectly smoked food. The simplest rule to remember is using heavily fragrant wood for smoking meat while using mild, aromatic ones for nonmeat items.
For smoking poultry, opt for using cherry, apple, peach, maple, olive, pecan, or mulberry. Most wood from fruit trees has a mild, fruity fragrance that goes well with birds and small game meat.
For smoking fish, try using Alder, which is often used for smoking salmon.
Mulberry and untreated cedar go well with fish too. Apple suits some seafood as well.
While apple, cherry, oak, and pecan goes well with all meat, think of using hickory for pork. Strongly fragrant mesquite and walnut go deliciously well with red meat.
Using the Water Pan
The water pan in the smoker is generally used to keep the inside humid to get soft, moist meat. However, you can use the water pan to catch your drips from the grill to make a delicious gravy.
If you want to make a gravy, you can use fruit juice like orange, cranberry, cherry, etc, or cider in the water pan. If you used the marinade on your meat, you can also use that in the pan with added water if the quantity is small.
Keep refilling to ensure the liquid in your water pan doesn’t dry up. After the smoking is done, use that liquid to make your gravy.
Choose the Right Temperature
Smoking is a slow process of cooking, so your food will cook at a certain temperature for a few hours.
For poultry, the safest cooking temperature is 165ºF. For cooking red meat, the most suitable temperature is from 200ºF to 220ºF. For smoking fish try 175ºF or at max 200ºF.
Your propane smoker will give you perfectly smoked dishes. It is portable and easy to use. Get one today for the best-smoked dishes for every occasion.