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Would you rather use a Gas or a Charcoal Smoker?

Gas vs charcoal smoker

There are many arguments in this world. One of the most pressing debates among people is the use of charcoal grill or gas grill. If you are looking for articles about gas vs charcoal smoker then this is one of them. In this article you can find the basic differences and similarities that help you decide which smoker should you choose.

Differences and similarities between gas and charcoal smokers

Distinguishing the differences between gas and charcoal smokers isn’t baffling, instead it’s much easier to detect. Understanding the differences between these two could help you analyze and weigh the specific advantages and disadvantages of them.

Gas vs charcoal smoker

Although there are differences, there are also similarities. Both gas and charcoal smokers guarantee good quality of finished food. The gas smoker is producing a lot of smoke while the charcoal smoker is producing intense smokiness. Both gas and charcoal smokers can perform roasting aside from smoking.

Other similarities include size and cooking capacity of both smokers. The sizes of both can be anywhere from about 2” x 2” for verticals to 6” x 4” for offsets. Both cooking capacities have large and small available options. Choosing the cooking capacity is much more intuitive because you’re the one to determine the size of the capacity that you prefer.

When it comes to ease of use, the gas smoker is easier to handle and setting the right temperature. With the charcoal smoker, it has a steeper learning curve and it usually holds a constant temperature.

In the temperature range category, a gas smoker has a range of approximately 150F-400F while a charcoal smoker has a range of approximately 125F-350F.

Gas smokers have more parts for assembly compared to charcoal smokers. These parts such as hoses and burners in gas smokers could fail while a charcoal smoker has a basic construction that doesn’t include complex parts.

Cleaning a gas smoker is much simpler than cleaning a charcoal one because all you have to do with the gas smoker is simply wiping it down with a damp cloth including its racks. On charcoal smokers, you’ll need to exercise intensive cleaning methods because it is susceptible to creosote build-up and blockage.

Buying a charcoal smoker is much affordable than buying a gas smoker. With charcoal smokers, you can avail a high-end unit within your budget. But the running cost says otherwise because propane costs are somewhat lower—about $0.40/hr. for gas smokers while the charcoal smoker would cost from $0.50/hr. – $1.00+/hr.

Gas vs charcoal smoker

How much propane does a smoker use?

According to Meat Smoking for Beginners, a gallon of propane weighs about 4.2 pounds. This means a standard 20-pound propane tank contains about 4.8 gallons of fuel with a total heat content of 434,919 BTUs (British thermal unit).

The usual cost of running a propane smoker is $0.40/hr. but this will depend on the type of smoker you’re using.

How long does a propane tank last on a smoker?

In an article by Foster Fuels, most smokers aren’t built-in with a reliable fuel gauge. You need to accurately determine how long the propane tank would last. But most of them use standard 20-pound propane tanks. On a mid-size barbecue, one tank can usually be counted on to provide between 18-20 hours of smoking or grilling time.

How to use a smoker?

A smoker is one of the most important appliances that you can own. It cooks meat on a low heat using plant pulp fuel and smoke. You could either use charcoal or wood chips. Though, you need to be patient while you are cooking with a smoker because it will tenderize your meat from 4 to 12 hours. But despite the long hours of waiting, it will be worth it because it guarantees rich flavor.

Cooking with a smoker is convenient, but there are different styles of preparation for different types of smokers.

First is to fill your smoker with fuel to get you started. You could use charcoal or propane gas.

After filling it with your preference, you can now insert the wood chips. It is wise to keep a stock of wood chips, so that you can always refill it during the cooking process. If you’re using a gas smoker, it is best to use a foil packet in which you can store your chips. You can create at least 6 holes in the top of the packet. If you put the packet close to the heat, it will create smoke. If you’re using a water smoker, it’s recommended to put herbs in the water to enrich your meat’s flavor.

Start your fire. You will need to ensure that air can get around the wood or charcoal, so open up the air vents wide. Then, let it heat for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Most of the time, fire reaches a high temperature when you’re starting the process, but you can cool it down. After heating, close the air vents to prevent fire or provoking fire.

After closing the air vents, insert the meat on the provided rack(s).

Time your smoking during the whole cooking process. Don’t just leave your meat smoking during the whole duration. You have to check on it at least twice. Aside from checking up on your meat, monitor the fuel and wood chips whether you need to replace it. Minimize the release of air each time you open the smoker by not opening it widely.

Your smoking temperature would depend on your preference as long as you turn sides of the meat every 2 to 3 hours. Every time you turn the meat, you can apply some marinade. Check on the meat from time to time. Most people obtain the meat before it gets done to avoid overcooking.

It is important to determine if you’re meat is cooked accordingly because in some cases, meat seems to produce a reddish color even if it’s still not cooked well because of the wood chips you’re using.

Health risks and benefits

Gas vs charcoal smoker

When it comes to the considerations of health, it’s most likely that gas smokers are much more preferable than charcoal smokers. In an article by Men’s Health, charcoal-grilled meats contained more carcinogens called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) than meat heated with propane. When fat drips from meat, the fat burns and creates PAH-infused smoke, which coats what you’re cooking. And charcoal makes more smoke than gas does. So, if you’re a health buff, it might be the best to consider purchasing a gas smoker instead of a charcoal smoker.

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