Ever since infusing meat with the delicious aroma of smoke became feasible for home use with the advent of portable and effective smokers that would have your meat ready in just a couple of hours, a debate has been raging on as to which type of smoker is best. We can all agree that the days of smokestacks and guesswork are long behind us, but we have yet to determine the victor since both electric and propane models have their pros and cons.
If you want your smoked ribs to come out perfectly without much fuss, an electric smoker is the right choice for you. Te electric variety’s best selling point is its programmability. All you have to do is choose what type of meat you want to smoke and for how long, put that into the smoker’s controls and wait until the food is ready. Some advanced models are even supplied with apps that keep you informed about the temperature of both the meat and the smoker so you can replenish the wood chips at exactly the right time. The best models are also insulated so you can prepare the meat in cold as well as in hot climates. Another cool feature electric models possess I the ability to cold smoke the meat, but you should be aware of the potential health hazards if this is done improperly.
Naturally, there are also drawbacks to going electric. The most complained about one is that electric smokers aren’t generally as spacious as propane models, meaning that you won’t be able to lay some larger meat chunks like brisket on its side and will have to hang it instead. Some use special wood disks which can be a hassle to get if your local store doesn’t happen to carry any. Another major concern is their smaller heat output – if you want the best results you’ll need to get a more expensive model and make alterations to your power grid since 110 volts just won’t be able to cut it.
Propane models are best regarded for their portability and size. Since there’s no need for a power source, you can take it along on a camping trip and enjoy a delicious smoked meal. Because power isn’t a constraint, they can be bigger while working as effectively as electrics. If your smoker happens to break, replacing parts for a propane powered one is much easier since most hardware stores carry them and you don’t need an electrician to replace the faulty parts.
The biggest drawback to a propane smoker is the fact that you’ll constantly have to watch the fuel gauge. Since the fuel can run out at a critical moment, it is advisable to always have a full spare propane tank handy to avoid this.
In the end, if your smoking needs are modest and you don’t plan on roughing it, a good electric smoker might be right up your alley. On the other hand, if you like to indulge in larger projects and don’t want to compromise on your smoker’s size and portability, propane is the way to go.