How To Use a Propane Smoker? A Beginner Friendly Guide
Okay, I’m going to go out on a limb and just assume that you already have the propane smoker put together and have done the seasoning as per the instruction in the manual. So let’s skip that part cause it might get boring.
A new smoker is like a pet, you want to get acquainted with it before trying to be its master. Are you getting me? If yes, then please bear with me a bit more.
I am also assuming that you have already prepared your desired piece of meat to be smoked, ready to slide it into the smoking chamber and preferably rubbed with proper spices.
Ugh, screw this! Let’s quickly get into it step by step, shall we?
Hook up your propane tank properly. Just remember to make sure that it is stable in its place.
Turn the handle 90 degrees in counter-clockwise to open the door.
Then remove the smoke box and fill it with mesquite, oak, hickory, apple/cherry etc. and wood chips. Now, return the box to the cradle made of wire just above the burner from you removed. Before doing that, don’t you forget to replace the lid of the box(as it should be).
Take a large piece from the heavy duty foil roll. Line the water pan with it. Make this a habit as part of your smoking process. This will help you to clean all of the sticky waste out of the water pan. You will save a lot of time by just simply removing the foil, then dispose of it. Your pan will be again ready for the next smoked adventure.
Go and fill up a bucket with half a gallon of hot water. Bring it to the smoker. Then pour the whole thing into the foil-lined water pan.
This part is fun... Turn on the smoker. Check if that created a spark next to the burner or not. If there’s no spark then connect the wire properly. Try again. Contact the Manufacturer or Service Company if your problem still persists.
If there’s a proper spark then ignite the propane burner as per instruction.
Let this go on for a minute or two on high. Then set it to low and medium temp. Your target is to settle in at 225 degrees.
The wood smoking will start in around the 5 minutes mark or maybe sooner than that. So be ready to quickly slide your meat into the chamber.
If only want to smoke a small amount, put the rack and the thermometer at the same level. That way you’ll know the exact temp at the meat level.
If you are smoking a large piece then leave a little space for airflow. It will make sure that the meat is smoked to perfection.
After you’ve put the meat in the chamber, shut the door by latching it. Turn the latch handle 90 degrees clockwise.
Wait until around an hour, more or less and chill with a beverage. Don’t forget to check now and then to maintain the temperature you want. Make adjustments accordingly.
You will notice that it takes around 3 small minutes as the temperature levels out after you make an adjustment. So make small adjustments and wait to see how the condition changes.
With enough practice, you will figure out what to do when maintaining a certain temperature.
After around 1.5 hours it’s time to add more chips into the chip box. When will you know if it’s time for adding wood chips? When you will notice very heavy smoke coming out. This is the sign that says time to add more wood!
Open the door swiftly and gently. You can use heavy duty dongs with a pair of glove thick enough to protect you from the heat to pull out carriage with the chip box. Remove the lid and chip box. Put it down to replace the chips.
Remember to close the door so as to maintain the heat during the chips replacement process.
Remove pieces of coal and ashes from the chip box and pour them into a metal box. This will make sure that there is no possibility of catching fire in the area.
Put the chip box back into the carriage by following the reverse order of how you removed it. Do it promptly, it will minimize the heat loss.
For smoking ribs or poultry or anything like this, you will maybe only need to change the wood chips only one time. As for larger pieces like Brisket, it might take 2 or 3 replacement of chips.
An effective way you can follow to measure it is by replacing the wood until the temp of the meat goes up to 140-150 degrees. This will be enough.
When the time is almost up for the meat to be done based on the tenderness you want, get another cold drink. Don’t go far from the smoker so that you can take the meat out just when it’s cooked to perfection.
Turn OFF the smoker using the knob. And then to turn off the propane tank, turn the knob clockwise until it stops.
Gently pick up the smoked meat and take it to your cutting board to prepare it for slicing, pulling or however you want to devour it.
Check the smoker one last time so as to make sure the smoker is all shut. And all the ashes and hot coals are cooled so that these can’t start a fire. Which would just destroy all the fun!
Sit down with family and friends and enjoy your smoked deliciousness to your heart's content.
Final words, as I said at the very first, this propane smoker is like your pet. There’s no fixed way to go about it. You need to experiment it until you figure out what makes it fun for you. So we’ve given a basic idea of using a propane smoker. Follow this and feel free to change up some steps to adjust to your liking. Hope you’ll have a good time with it!