Great Lakes Angler Forum
 
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Holland Michigan
    Posts
    88

    propane smoker advise

    i have a question on smoking that I am hoping I can get some advise on. I have always used an electric little chief with mixed results, but I recently got a 48" propane cabelas smoker. I have never used a propane smoker before, or a smoker with a water bowl which this one has. I am very familiar with the brining and letting the plicle form, however I'm not really clear on what the best temps or temp steps are best for smoking. Am I going to have a hard time keeping the temp low enough with the propane smoker in the summer? Give me some tips on smacking with a smoker like this. I want to get some idea before I make my first attempt with it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Near Lansing, MI
    Posts
    7,680
    I have had a Cabela's propane smoker for the last 8 years. Prior to it I had the same vertical multi-shelf type with charcoal for a heat source and would have to get a new one every 3 years of so. This one is stainless steel and no signs of rust or problems at all. The temp gauge does not have a scale with actual temps. I usually start it out at around 1/2 and then after around a half hour back it off to 1/3. About every hour I will add more wood to the box and fill up the water pan. If I fill all 4 racks with salmon the top rack is done in around 3 hours and the bottom around 4. It does seem to work a little better with temperatures in the 30 to 50 range but I have used it down to around 10 and in summer heat too. Just have to monitor the meat a little closer.

    Does a great job smoking turkey and hams too.
    Ryan... ... Think KINGS!

    Boat Name: CATtitude Adjustment -- 21' SeaCat
    More technology per square foot than any boat on the Great Lakes


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Ellison Bay, WI
    Posts
    5,138
    from memory - temps around 140 to start, but you may have trouble getting wood to smoke that low. 4-5 hours at as low of temp as possible to produce some smoke. Then finish with 45-60 minutes at 160-180 for bacteria killing. If fish was previously frozen you don't need as high of temps at the end as freezing killed any possible parasites. If you Google smoking fish you'll get a good variety of answers. Mostly a trial and error process due to variables of fish thickness, skin on/off, amount of smoke flavor desired, soft versus jerky preference. Good Luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Holland Michigan
    Posts
    88
    Thanks for the advice. My big issue with the little chief was always controlling the temp. It seemed like I was always too hot or too cold. I've been reading up on the propane ones and I see that there is a vent. On the bottom and the top. I have been reading that you can get the temp down by closing off the bottom vent and opening up the top vent more. Is that how it works with these in addition to the burner control itself?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Near Lansing, MI
    Posts
    7,680
    Quote Originally Posted by phantom17 View Post
    Thanks for the advice. My big issue with the little chief was always controlling the temp. It seemed like I was always too hot or too cold. I've been reading up on the propane ones and I see that there is a vent. On the bottom and the top. I have been reading that you can get the temp down by closing off the bottom vent and opening up the top vent more. Is that how it works with these in addition to the burner control itself?
    Yes. The lower vents provide more air to the flame which creates more heat. The upper vents let the heat out. The tricky part for me was learning how much to open the upper vents because it also lets the smoke out -- too much being let out and you loose seasoning in the meat.
    Ryan... ... Think KINGS!

    Boat Name: CATtitude Adjustment -- 21' SeaCat
    More technology per square foot than any boat on the Great Lakes


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ely Mn
    Posts
    944
    I have a smoke hollow gas smoker and the first batch of fish I tried to smoke was a nightmare. I could not keep the temp low enough without sitting right there and opening the door when the heat started to climb too high.
    Went to my local propane dealer and told them the problem and they set me up with an additional regulator-- in addition to the one already on the unit, problem solved.
    I'm with Reality Fish on the temps I try to stay in, shoot for 140- 150 for starts

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    In the hills, usa
    Posts
    537
    Here is my ten cents.

    When I was growing up in Indiana we used to do hog roasts all the time. My grandmother had a brother that was a piece of work but could roast a hog like no ones business. One day I asked how he did it. The big take away I got from him was this and I quote "propane don't make a hog taste good, charcoal and cherry wood does" he proceeded to use a few profanities to explain don't be lazy learn to use wood and charcoal.

    I made a tray that goes in my smoke hollow smoker above the propane burner. It holds the wood and charcoal. Bought a thermometer that is designed to hang in an oven that goes inside the smoker. The thermometers that come with most smokers are pure junk. I only use the propane when I am smoking in the dead of winter then temps are in the teens and I need the added temp to finish the product.

    Nice thing about using charcoal is no matter the temp in the smoker if the charcoal is burning and you throw wood on top you will have more smoke than you can stand. Not so with propane or electric.

    I go for temps around the 140-150 mark to start and the last hour or so kick it up to 180's to cook the fish and finish it out.

    The water pan. fill it with water if you want but I put beer or apple ale in it while smoking. Helps you get a nice moist product that is actually cooked all the way through. No liquid and often you will get jerky or undercooked smoked fish which I am not fond of. I usually get a nice firm moist piece of fish when I am done.

    And check your PM I sent you one there that is not for public consumption.

    Good luck

    Dave
    I am not a pro but I got a Big Weenie.....hat!!!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •