Thanksgiving is getting around the corner and it makes me think about the turkey. I started smoking my turkeys about 33 years ago when I received my first charcoal smoker as a wedding present from my father in law. I have gone through at least 12 different smokers over the years. I have had charcoal smokers, propane smokers and an electric smoker. I have also cooked on custom built trailered, wood smokers.
Different types of people who smoke meat
There are all levels of people who use meat smokers. The spectrum goes from the 26 weeks a year, traveling competition teams with rigs that cost more than my house to the guy who read about smoking on his grill and threw a pan of wood chips and a hunk of meat on his grill and hoped that it produce something edible.
Different types of Smokers
I will start off and say that charcoal and wood smokers do an unbelievable job when it comes to fantastic flavored meat. After so many years of using a charcoal smoker my, my father in law bought me a propane smoker in 2003. One of his buddies said it did a really good job and made life much easier.
I was very skeptical because I was violating the unwritten code of smoker purists. I also have never had a failure with my charcoal smokers. Why try something new?
Liking something new
I have to tell you that it turned out to be awesome. Once you get the temperature adjusted it is very easy to go back to the control knob and repeat the settings for your next meal. The biggest advantage? I could go back to sleep after putting the turkey on for Thanksgiving. I didn’t have to stay up and get the fire just right.
I used my propane smoker for 10 years. I have smoked everything from brisket, turkey, sirloin, chicken to a standing rib roasts (prime rib), with great, consistent results.
I was very active in Boy Scouts for years and we always went to the Colorado Mountains and built our own summer camp. I would bring up my smoker and a friends smoker and cook some of the meals for 60 to 100 adults and youth. One very important lesson I learned was home smokers do not travel off road very well. Maybe that is why I have gone through so many smokers… go figure.
After reading some blogs and reviews, I bought an electric smoker last with all the bells and whistles, digital thermostat, temp probe, remote, stand, and glass doors. I was also told by an acquaintance what a fantastic job it did.
Final verdict: if you are looking to cook meat outside without a lot of smoke flavor and you love gadgets then an electric smoker might be what you want. If you like smoked meat this is not what you want. I sold the smoker after two uses and decided to go back to propane.
Back to Propane
I purchased my 13th plus smoker last week and decided to break it in with one of my favorite, smoked chicken legs and thighs. They were delicious and smoked all the way through. Everyone was very pleased with the outcome.
Thanksgiving Turkey 2014!
I am definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving. And lots of Smoked Turkey!