Can You Make Great BBQ With A Propane Smoker?

Many never-ending arguments and controversies defy resolution. The Republicans and the Democrats just won’t see eye to eye. The question of “tastes great” vs. “less filling” will forever linger. There’s the matter of the chicken and the egg, the question of whether one should roll toilet paper under or over the spindle, and baseball fans continue to take sides on the issue of the designated hitter. The question of the propriety of propane in grilling and smoking is another long-lasting controversy. Some love the convenience, others dismiss the idea of a propane smoker as something akin to sacrilege.

Obviously, the answer to that question will depend upon your personal preferences in terms of BBQ flavor. If you think the ideal piece of BBQ’d meat still offers slight resistance to the bite and has smoky flavor accents, stopping short of the strong smoke flavor of traditional pits, you can honestly say that a propane smoker is a great tool in which to prepare a cut of meat.

Those who do appreciate a stronger smoker flavor and a tenderer final product will reject the idea of a propane smoker. They’ll maintain that these admittedly convenient units just can’t replicate the flavors and subtleties of “real” BBQ.

So, what’s the truth? Can you make great BBQ with a propane smoker?

So, the question of whether you can make great BBQ with a propane smoker may really be impossible to resolve. However, one can comfortably and accurately state that you can create BBQ that will appeal to some tastes with a propane unit.

The inability of a propane smoker to create traditional BBQ classics stems from the quantity and character of the smoke they produce. The propane is used to create a fire and that fire is then used to “burn” wood chips or pellets to generate smoke. However, most propane units don’t expose the wood directly to a flame. Instead, the wood is placed in a perforated metal container that is heated to the point of producing smoke. That technique does produce results, but the smoke isn’t as thick or as heavy as it is when one relies on the wood itself (or even charcoal briquettes, for that matter) as a the primary fuel source.

That difference between the propane smoker and other options inevitably creates at least some distinction in terms of meat flavoring. The difference between a traditionally smoked cut and one made on a propane unit may not be overwhelming, but it will be noticeable.

Whether or not the meat that eventually comes from the smoker qualifies as “great” is a matter of taste. The debate rages on. Purists will find fault in meals smoked in a propane unit. Advocates of propane smokers will maintain that the meat tastes the same–if not better–than what comes out of more traditional smokers.

Serious barbecue enthusiasts including chefs, competitors and avid home cooks want nothing less than the best of b-b-q making experience a cooking system can deliver. For these experts, only a BBQ pro smoker will do. From thermostatic controls switching between hot smoking and cold smoking to an ancient Japanese designed ceramic make, a professional b-b-q smoker has the chops for turning pork, chicken, turkey, beef and fish into tender, juicy barbecue.