There is nothing that can beat the rich, aromatic, extremely exotic taste of a perfectly smoked piece of meat or vegetable. Smoking your food is a way to add something extraordinary to it. Many people use offset regular smokers, reverse flow smokers, and many other varieties of smokers and grills to add that smoky goodness to their food.
However, all smokers have different mechanisms of action. Some smokers are very simple and basic to use, while some smokers are pretty advanced and are meant for expert people who have been smoking their food for quite a while and are aware of all the nitty-gritty details that make the difference.
For beginners, it is always preferable that they start with a Propane Gas Smoker.
A propane smoker is not only very easy to use, but its mechanism is also pretty simple, and it is excellent for beginners who are new to smoking their food.
Before you start using a propane smoker, you will have to need to know some techniques about how to use a propane smoker?
Steps to ensure that you use your propane smoker correctly:
Choose the easiest meat portion if you are a beginner:
You can smoke any type of meat in your propane smoker, but if you have knowledge of cooking meat, you will be aware of the fact that some portions and parts of meat are cooked easily, while some portions take a lot of time and preparation to cook them perfectly.
So, while you are a beginner to use a propane smoker, it is advised that you choose the part of the meat that is the easiest to cook.
Some of the easiest to cook meat types/portions include the following:
– A whole chicken.
– Chuck Roast
– Pork Shoulder.
Fish is also easy to cook, but you will have to be a little careful about it because it is quite delicate. So, we are not adding it to the list of meat that you should try on for your first-time experience with a propane smoker.
Connect the propane tank with the smoker correctly:
This is an extremely important step.
Your propane tank must be properly connected with the smoker, and the seal must be tight. Otherwise, the propane gas will start leaking and it will affect your cooking process, plus it is bio-hazardous too and can be a fire-hazard also.
Secondly, if the gas continues to leak from the tank, your propane tank will soon need refilling. This will affect your cooking time and your food will not turn out to be as good as you want it to be.
Make sure that the propane tank has enough gas:
Before starting the propane smoker, you have to make sure that the propane tank has enough gas. Otherwise, if during the cooking session, your propane gas finishes and you will need to refill the tank, the temperature inside the smoker will drop and it will affect the cooking process of your smoked food.
Pre-heating the smoker:
A propane smoker is very simple to use as mentioned above. It has an ignition system through which you can start the smoker with just a button. You do not need a smoker lighter to start your propane smoker.
Now, once the smoker is ignited, just turn the knobs and set the temperature between 220-240 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure that the door is properly closed, and all the vents are open.
It will take a little while for the smoker to heat up. So, you can use this time to prepare the meat or vegetables that you want to smoke in your propane smoker.
Prepare your food accordingly:
If you are going to smoke meat in your propane smoker, it is better that you take it out of the refrigerator at least half an hour before you start the propane smoker.
The meat should be at room temperature for excellent results before it goes inside the smoker.
For meat, a dry mix of spices and herbs will be used as a marinade.
For vegetables, a pinch of simple salt and pepper would suffice.
Soak the wood chips for 30 minutes in water:
For an amazing, smokey flavor, you need wood chips. Various varieties of wood are used to build a fire in the smoker and to add a smoky flavor to the food. It can be applewood, cherry wood, hickory, orange wood, peach wood, or any other type of wood that you prefer.
It is important to soak your wood chips for at least half an hour before you put them in the smoker. This will help them produce more smoke and the flavors in your food will also intensify because of this.
Add more flavor to the food in the water pan:
There is a water pan in your smoker in which you have to put some water. This water is necessary to keep the meat in the smoker moist. Now, if you want to add some extra flavor to the cooking meat/vegetables, you can add some herbs and spices in this water too.
While cooking, this water will evaporate and will reach your food to keep it from drying out, and since it will have some herbs and spices too, their flavor is also going to add to your food through this water medium.
Do not overload the wood tray:
When your wood chunks have had enough time to soak in water, just take them out and now put them in the wood tray. Make sure to not overload this tray. You only need one layer of wood chunks, evenly spread out in the tray. If you add a lot of wood chips, they will not burn properly, and this will affect your cooking, as well as the smoky flavor that you are looking for, which will also not be achieved.
Check the air vents and make sure that they are open:
Your propane smoker must have an unaffected, continuous circulation of air throughout the cooking process. For this, it is important that the air vents of your propane smoker must be open all the time. This will not only help with the circulation of air, but it will also let the bad smoke escape the smoker and not affect your food, giving it a burnt-out flavor at the end.
Check the smoker at regular intervals:
You cannot leave your propane smoker unattended. You will have to keep an eye on it and check it at regular intervals, like after every 30 minutes or so.
You have to keep a check on the water in the water pan. If it finishes, you will have to add more water. If you added some herbs and spices in the water for extra flavor, then you will have to add more of them when you are refilling the water pan.
Secondly, you will have to check and add more wood chips at regular intervals too to ensure that your food continues to get the required smoky flavor that you are aiming for through these wood chips.
Another important thing to remember is that you need to check on your food that is in the smoker too. But you will have to open your smoker only when it is necessary.
Like it is for ovens when you open the door during cooking or baking, the inside temperature drops, and it interrupts the cooking process of the food.
Similarly, if you unnecessarily open the door of the propane smoker, the inside temperature of the cooking chamber will drop. You do not want that, so just open the door and check on your food only when it is necessary.
For meat, you will have to check at regular intervals with a meat thermometer to ensure that it is properly cooking from inside. It will be ideal if you check this temperature after every 30 to 40 minutes interval. But not before that because of the above-mentioned reason.
Always use oven gloves or mittens while checking the meat inside the smoker:
This is a very important thing to remember. When you want to put your hand inside the cooking chamber of the propane smoker, you must wear some protective gloves to avoid your hand from getting burned. The inside temperature is pretty high and very hot. So, do not forget to use mittens or gloves while handling the meat or checking its temperature with the thermometer.
Resting the meat:
When the internal temperature of the meat reaches the required temperature, it means that it is time for it to be taken out from the propane smoker.
When you take it out carefully, let it rest in a platter or dish before cutting into it.
A little bit of cooking continues even when the meat is out of the smoker. So, it is always better to let it rest for a while before serving it or slicing it.
Once, all the cooking is done, make sure that you turn off all the knobs, take out all the wood chips, and let the smoker cool down.
Clean the grates of the propane smoker thoroughly after it has cooled down for the next cooking session.