How To Use A Propane Smoker In 13 Easy Steps [With Pictures]

If you’ve decided to invest in a propane smoker for your backyard cookouts, we commend you on your decision – you’ll get beautifully smoked meat and veg, and rather than that nasty taste you get with charcoal, you can enjoy amazing wood chip flavoring instead.

Propane Smoker outside the yard

In this article, our goal is to lay out every single step of using your propane smoker, and by the end of the article, you should feel confident that you know exactly how best to use your smoker, from start to finish, and will have discovered plenty of handy tips along the way.

And without further ado, let’s get straight to it!

Choose A Good Propane Smoker And Assemble It

You probably already know just how expensive a good quality smoker can be, which is why it’s so important that you do your homework on smokers before you buy.

If you can, I recommend that you take time to read buying guides on propane smokers, so that you know exactly what to look for in one.

The most important element of this is getting a smoker with sufficient capacity.

And I also recommend that you buy from a big name brand if you can afford to, that way you can be assured that your smoker is reliable and won’t break down.

When it comes, assemble it as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you’re finding this tricky, simply head over to YouTube for a video tutorial on how to assemble your particular model (there almost always is one).

Prepare The Meat

There are two main ways to prepare your meat.

You can either marinate your food in advance of cooking it, or you can simply apply a dry rub seasoning instead.

Both work just fine.

Prepare Your Wood Chip Flavoring

I also recommend that you soak your wood chips for about half an hour before you start to cook.

Check Your Propane Cylinder

Before proceeding any further, you should always check that the knob and connection of your propane cylinder are fully secure.

A gas leak would be very dangerous.

Add Herbs To Create More Flavoring

If desired, you can add some fresh or dried herbs in the smoker for yet more flavor.

This should go in the aluminum pan that sits on the water.

Put Your Wood Chips Inside The Smoker

Next, add your chosen wood chips or wood pellets into the smoker’s hopper, being careful not to overfill it.

If it gets overfilled, you could risk jamming the hopper, and thus preventing it from working as it should.

Ensure Good Air Circulation

One of the most important aspects of using a propane smoker to best effect is ensuring that you have excellent airflow within the smoker.

Too much smoke will ruin the flavor of the meat.

There must be some ventilation, which is why your smoker should have both a vent and a chimney (yet also a cover to retain moisture).

We would recommend that you open your vent and chimney about halfway.

This way, the harmful smoke will escape, while at the same time ensuring that there’s still plenty of smoke remaining in the smoker.

Fire Up The Ignition And Get The Smoker Ready

BBQ beef Steak inside Propane Smoker

When you are confident that your smoker is fully assembled, safe to use, and prepared for smoking, as is your meat, then you can now go ahead and ignite it!

This is how to do it:

  • First, allow the propane gas to travel to the smoker by releasing the gas knob
  • Then ignite the fire as per the instructions provided in the manufacturer’s guide.
  • Last but not least, you should preheat your smoker for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you put your food on to cook

Put Your Meat And Veg On To Cook

To smoke your food, all you have to do now is place it on the grill grate just over the aluminum pan.

Unless you’re following a particular recipe that states otherwise, in general you should smoke your food at 225 degrees to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t Be Tempted To Open The Smoker

As tempting as it can be, you should not even consider opening the lid of the smoker for at least an hour and a half (preferably 2 hours) after putting the meat on to cook.

This is because doing so would allow smoke to escape and disrupt the entire smoking process. Just be patient.

Time For A Reset

Once two hours have passed since putting the meat on, you can now check on the smoker and reduce the heat using the regulator.

This may also be a good time to refill the wood chip hopper, and add more water to the aluminum pan for juicier meat.

Check Whether Your Food Is Done

Check to see whether the meat has come to the “doneness” required. The best way to do this is to use a meat thermometer.

If it’s not ready, simply allow the meat to continue to cook until it has reached the preferred level of doneness, which you can accurately gauge with a meat thermometer.

Before you plate up, it’s important to turn off the propane cylinder and the smoker itself. Then you can enjoy your food!

Clean Up Your Smoker After Use

You must ensure that you wait until the smoker has fully cooled down before you attempt to clean it.

You don’t want to risk scalding yourself.

You should clean up your smoker after each use so as to prevent any mold from growing inside that could potentially lead to food poisoning if it was left to foster.

Wrap Up

Now you know how to use your propane smoker for the best results, right from choosing a good smoker through to cleaning it after use.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that you’ve picked up on or two handy tips along the way.

I’m pretty sure that once you’ve started, there’ll be no stopping you – bon appétit!

Tommy Hall