How To Use A Propane Smoker In Easy 7 Steps For Beginners

How To Use A Propane Smoker
Image: Pit-boss

You’ve enjoyed delicious BBQ chicken, beef, pork, and vegetables and want to enjoy the same great taste but now using a propane smoker. The process may seem overwhelming and a little confusing.

You don’t want your meat to taste burnt or to stick to the grill, so knowing what to do and how to use that propane smoker correctly is critical.

If you want to learn more about smoking with propane smokers, you’ve come to the right place. By following the 8 easy steps below, you will know how to use a propane smoker like a pro and prepare delicious meals.

Necessary supplies for smoking food with a propane smoker

Necessary supplies for smoking food with a propane smoker

A propane smoker

This is an excellent investment when you’re looking to start smoking your food. You can use it for vegetables, meat, and seafood, which works well for both hot and cold smoking.

My top pick for the best propane smoker you can invest in is the Masterbuilt propane smoker – MPS ThermoTemp XL. This is one of the best vertical propane smokers on the market, which also comes at a very reasonable price.

Wood Chips 

Wood chips are put in a wood chip tray right above the burner. The heat from the burner burns the chips, giving your meat a smokey flavor.

There are many flavors of wood chips that you can use, including apple, hickory, and mesquite. You can also mix different types of wood to get a taste you like.

Make sure to soak your wood chips in water for around half an hour before putting them in the wood chips tray.

There are two reasons for this:

One, you don’t want them to flame up. Two, you don’t want to burn them up right away. You want to have nice smoke for as long as possible.

soaking wood chips

Digital Meat thermometer 

For the best results, you’ll want to use a meat thermometer. This will ensure that your meat is cooked evenly.

You might also want to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of your smoker at regular intervals—especially if it’s a charcoal smoker.

Your food will only be properly cooked if the heat source is kept at the correct temperature.

Grill tongs

Grill tongs are a must-have for any grill lover. They allow you to handle food while smoking, which is especially helpful and safe.

What To Do Before Smoking Food

Prep your meat by removing excess fat.

prep your meat before smoking

Before you torch up your favorite piece of meat, take a few minutes to make sure you’re preparing it properly.

If you’re cooking beef or pork, remove excess fat from the surface of the meat by trimming away any visible fat and then storing it for later use (if possible).

Then season your meat with your favorite BBQ rubs and spices. After seasoning, place the meat in an aluminum pan and then wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

When you’re ready to smoke your meat, ensure you’ve prepped all of your other ingredients so they are ready to go when you need them.

Season your propane smoker before using it for the first time

Remember to season your propane smoker right after you put it together. This is a great way to keep it from rusting and will also help burn away any grease or residue left over from the manufacturing process.

To season your new propane smoker, follow these steps:

1. Use a cloth to carefully wipe off the cooking grates and the rest of the cooking chamber.

2. Then, use a paintbrush to brush oil on all the interior surfaces so that it can get a very nice, even coat; you can also use a small spray bottle to coat all surfaces evenly.

3. Add wood chips to the wood chip tray, place the tray on the burner, and close all the doors.

4. Open the valve on the propane tank, turn on the temperature control knob, and let your smoker burn for a few hours on high heat (around 325 degrees F).

How To Use A Propane Smoker: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Prepare Your Water Pan

prepare water pan

Remove the water pan from the cooking chamber, line it with aluminum foil, and fill it with water. After that, return your water pan to the smoker and continue with the next step.

One little tip is that you can add red wine along with the water. When the liquid boils and gets steamy, it will infuse the meat with a delicious flavor.

Some people also like to use apple juice or beer if they do not have red wine.

Step 2: Prepare Your Wood Chips Tray

prepare wood chips

Once you’ve drained off any excess water from your wood chips, place them on top of the wood chip tray (ideally not too close together) and put the tray back in place.

Step 3: Star Your Smoker


It’s time to light your smoker and cook some food!

First, open the vents partially to allow hot air to circulate while smoking; this will

Then open the valve on the propane tank; when doing this, make sure that the door is open and that there are no leaks in any of the hoses before igniting a burner.

Push and hold the igniter button for several seconds, then turn on the knob.

If the burner doesn’t ignite, turn off the knob immediately, and then check again in the manual to see if there is something else you might have done wrong. If everything seems fine, repeat the above steps again until the burner finally ignites.

Close the door, set the temperature between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit on your external thermometer (this is the best temperature range for slow and low smoking), turn up the burner to its highest setting, and then wait a few minutes until you see the smoke starting to come out of the smoker.

Step 5: Adding Your Food


Once you start to see smoke from the burning wood chips, open the door and add your meat to the cooking tray with its fat side facing down. This will ensure that the fat melts and bastes the meat as it cooks.

Closing the door and letting your smoker does the work!

Step 6: But wait, the work is not over yet!

I understand that you want

During the smoking process, monitor the temperature within your smoker every few hours.

Also, make sure there are enough wood chips and water in the smoker so it does not run out before your meat is done smoking. Remember to spritz apple juice or water to add moisture when refilling wood chips or water.

Step 7: The wait is over. It’s time to serve!

when your smoked meat is done

When your smoked meat is done, turn off the gas and close the propane tank valve.

Then remove your cooked meat from the smoker and place it in an aluminum foil pan. Wrap up the meat like a gift and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

How do you control the temperature of a propane smoker?

The best way to control the temperature of your propane smoker is to adjust the vents. You can open or close them fully or partially, depending on what your target cooking temperature is.

If you want to slow down the cooking process and make sure your meat isn’t overcooked, you can partially close the vents. This will allow less airflow into the chamber and provide your meat with a slower, longer cooking time.

You should also monitor your meat once every few hours while smoking so that you can adjust airflow if needed to meet your

You should also monitor your meat once every few hours while smoking so that you can adjust airflow if needed to meet your desired temperature.


Yes, it’s best to leave the vents open during the cooking process to allow maximum air circulation within the firebox and maximize heat production.

The good rule of thumb is to add more wood chips to the propane smoker every 5 or 6 hours. This will vary depending on how much smoke you want, and how long you want for the wood chips to burn.

You can soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes before using them for smoking meat, but you should drain the water after that time has passed

I recommend starting with something like beef brisket or pork ribs. You don’t want to start off with something that requires a lot of expertise or effort, because if you don’t like the results, it can be discouraging. Once you’ve mastered a simple cut of meat, then you can move on to more complicated recipes or cuts of meat.

Final Thoughts

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this piece and that it answers a lot of questions you are having.

While propane smokers are super easy to use, there is still a bit that goes into knowing how to get started, so hopefully, this guide will help anyone who is looking to try them out for the first time.

Further readings on milliepham.com: If you are a huge BBQ enthusiast, you probably have noticed that the design and appearance of electric smokers and propane ones have many similarities. Here is a full guide to help with understanding what sets them apart.

Also, these are 7 best smoker cookbooks to level up your BBQ level.

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