Gas Smokers – A Guide To Gas BBQ Smokers
Gas smokers offer great portability and versatility, especially propane fueled units. It’s as simple as moving your smoker and propane bottle where ever you need them.
Maintaining a proper smoking temperature is very easy with a gas unit, just adjust the steady burning flame. Propane is a clean burning gas so clean up is a breeze. Nice models run about $ 175.00 dollars.
If you can use a gas grill you can use a gas smoker.
Always follow the manufactures recommendations for cleaning and care. Nothing ruins your smoking like clogged burner jets and replacement parts add up quickly.
Monitor your fuel supply, running out of propane halfway though twenty pounds of baby back ribs isn’t fun. Consider purchasing a spare propane tank as a back up. I also have a gas grill so a spare propane tank is a must.
Natural gas smokers are also available. If you plan on installing a permanent smoker as part of an out door kitchen a natural gas smoker may be right for you.
The biggest drawback is running a gas line run to your smoker. On the plus side natural gas is cheaper than propane, and you don’t have the hassle of switching bottles. Those considerations aside natural gas smokers share the same advantages as propane units.
Gas vertical water smokers are all around outstanding units. The portability, ease of operation, and cleanliness of propane units make them a popular choice.
Maintaining a gas smoker
To maintain the wonderful searing/grilling performance of your cast iron grates or griddle, as well as their longevity, some special care is required. As with any cast iron cooking tool, proper seasoning is most important.
First time use: Before using a cast iron grate or griddle, wash it thoroughly with a mild dishwashing liquid to remove the protective wax coating applied for shipping. Rinse with hot water and dry completely with a soft cloth or paper towel.
NEVER ALLOW TO DRAIN DRY, OR WASH IN A DISHWASHER.
Now season the grates/griddle to prevent rust and sticking.
Seasoning: A solid vegetable shortening is recommended for the initial seasoning. Spread a thin coating of solid vegetable shortening over the entire surface, including all corners, with a paper towel. Do not use salted fats such as butter or margarine.
Proceed as follows:
Preheat grill for 15 minutes, place grates/griddle in grill. Turn burners to Medium-Off-Medium with lid closed. Allow grill to heat grates/griddle for 1 to 1½ hours. Turn all burners to OFF, and leave cooking grates/griddle in grill until they are cool.
Having trouble lighting your gas smoker?
If you can light the grill with a match you may have an ignition switch problem. Check your igniter switch. Is it making a clicking noise? If the igniter does not click, it is not aligned correctly with the gray rocker switch. To align it, remove the control panel (consult your owner’s manual for instructions). Once the control panel is removed, check the position of the igniter.
It should be tightly secured with the lock nut in the smaller hole of the keyhole frame. If the igniter has clips on the sides, rather than a lock nut, make sure it is completely “snapped” into place. If the igniter is aligned properly, make sure the control panel is not loose. There should be two fasteners holding the panel in place.
Next, check to see if the igniter wires are loose. The white and black wires should be secured at both ends. Then check the position of the metal tab protruding from the cookbox where the white wire attaches. This tab must be 45 degrees away from the cookbox to avoid a shorted circuit.
Finally, very humid or rainy weather can cause moisture to collect on the end of the probe and make the igniter unable to spark. To remedy this condition, light the grill with a match. The heat from the grill will warm the probe and should fix the problem.
If you cannot light the grill with a match you probably have a gas flow problem. Have you cleaned your burner tubes recently? It is very important that the portholes of the burner tubes are clear of any blockage.
If the gas flow is restricted, the igniter will struggle to light. To clean your tubes, brush the portholes with a steel wire brush in an up and down motion. This cleaning should be part of your routine maintenance.