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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 08-19-2013, 04:10 PM   #1
Mschultz0009
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Default Propane smoker vs Charcoal

Hello all, just wondering if their is a big different in taste between the two. I'm looking at getting a vertical smoker. I'm new at this smoking stuff so I'm still learning. Thanks mike
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Unread 08-19-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
IamMadMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mschultz0009 View Post
Hello all, just wondering if their is a big different in taste between the two. I'm looking at getting a vertical smoker. I'm new at this smoking stuff so I'm still learning. Thanks mike
In reference to the cheaper smokers like "Brinkman". There are pro's and con's to both versions of the vertical smoker;

The charcoal version needs regular scheduled additions of charcoal because the unit is thin walled and the doors leak causing the charcoal to burn up faster than an insulated airtight unit.

The propane will burn through the night but it burns up wood chips / chunks quickly and these need replenishing every couple hours during the early hours of the cook.

These smokers can be modified for better performance, and they make a good starter unit while you decide if you wish to continue in the craft before making or buying a better smoker.

.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 04:25 PM   #3
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Yes.

Go charcoal. If you go gasser, you'll regret not having the charcoal as soon as you get "hooked" on the new hobby.

I don't like the gas smokers for a variety of reasons:
-taste is inferior (not bad, but just not as good)
-I don't like the "how much propane" guessing game. If you lose the game, you ruin your cook.
-Have had hard times keeping temp DOWN low enough on Propane

As long as you get a decent charcoal setup (WSM/UDS) and stay away from the Cheapo bullet smokers you won't have a hard time with temp management. People here swear by UDS' but I prefer a Weber Smokey Mountain. Easy, pretty fuel efficient once you learn how to do it, and it'll last forever.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 04:26 PM   #4
Douger
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Go UDS
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Unread 08-19-2013, 04:48 PM   #5
DownHomeQue
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no Gas unless your burning weeds... Charcoal all the way.. unless a stickburner is available and is a viable option..
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Unread 08-19-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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I ran a gas vertical with wood chip trays over the burner for 10 years and thought I had learned to make some pretty good Q. Then I built my stickburner; the taste and texture of everything was significantly better. if you can't burn wood (I prefer hickory) then good quality charcoal or lump is the only way to go. Just my $0.02.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 05:04 PM   #7
jonshep16
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I have a propane smoker right now due to condo restrictions but I cannot wait to get a charcoal cooker. Propane is very pricey.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 08:17 PM   #8
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I believe what dwfisk to be true. Nothing wrong with Q that comes off a gas burner. But I prefer charcoal and prefer wood even more over it. Good luck with your new found addiction and welcome to your new support group! Although a support group usually helps to fight an addiction and these people will just get you more hooked! Shame on you people
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Unread 08-19-2013, 08:54 PM   #9
Mschultz0009
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Thank you everyone for your help. Mike
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Unread 08-19-2013, 09:10 PM   #10
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I started off with a Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain propane cabinet smoker. It wasn't long before I moved to a Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker. I definitely prefer the charcoal fired smoker.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 09:44 PM   #11
Copronymous
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I started with a Master(built or craft) gasser. Learned how to use it and made some stellar que. Great way to get acquainted with the process.

We're I to do it all over again, I'd have made a UDS. Easily half the price it uses charcoal.
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Unread 08-20-2013, 08:50 AM   #12
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Do all your home work carefully. Review all the types of smokers and decide on which
style cooker you want then you can review the brands that make that type of cooker.
If you are set on a vertical cooker there are a lot of great brands out there to chose from.
Before buying you may want to go to a comp and check some of them while in action. Most teams
are more then willing to talk about their cookers as long as it's not during turn in times.
You can click on the EVENTS button on the KCBS site and see what comps are close to you.
The next one in NJ is in Creskill (Bergen County). I believe the Seaside event is also in Sept.
Good luck with what ever you decide to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mschultz0009 View Post
Hello all, just wondering if their is a big different in taste between the two. I'm looking at getting a vertical smoker. I'm new at this smoking stuff so I'm still learning. Thanks mike
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Unread 08-20-2013, 09:47 AM   #13
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i'm no scientist, but i'm pretty positive there's some chemical reaction when propane is burned and I can always tell when it comes out of a propane smoker. Go charcoal, wood, pellets, but avoid the gas.
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Unread 08-20-2013, 10:25 AM   #14
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I cook on my propane smokers all the time, I love em. I did learn by using charcoal first though, but propane gives you a bit more freedom when it comes to the temps. As long as you keep the chips or chunks coming in the beginning its all good. The taste is not that big a difference.
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Unread 08-20-2013, 10:34 AM   #15
DamifIknow
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I have cooked on everything from a brinkman bullet style (charcoal and electric) stick burner offset smokers and gas cabinet smokers and currently have in the past couple of months been using my own home built gas cabinet smoker with great results (and have feed over 200 people cooking for our company picknic and president of companys Family reunion) with everyone being well pleased.
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