Pellet vs Natural gas/propane vertical smoker


  • I have had several masterbuilt smokers over the years and they did really well…until, the one I just threw away. It lasted just over a year, I only use it for summer sausage and sticks during winter deer hunting…until, I tried 8 pork butts on it for a grad party and with the last two just finishing up, and grease tray emptied every couple hours the thing went up in flames. Masterbuilt was not very helpful but out of warranty so I understand. Anyways, I have been looking at pellet and natural gas smokers. My masterbuilt always gave me a lot of smoke flavor, my current pellet grill (pit boss and camp chef) just don’t give me a great smoke ring with out adding an additional smoke box. Anyone using a pellet fired vertical smoker? Do you see better smoke volume vs the standard pellet grill? The propane I have heard rumors of an off taste due to the propane? I know a few topics hear but any comments would be appreciated. Thanks Tom


  • Thomas Sweeney

    I have the pit boss vertical smoker. I do not like it. It is hard to keep a good steady temperature. I like it only for the fact that I have enough room to hang plenty of summer sausage and ring bologna. But because I do most of my smoking in the winter after hunting season it struggles to holding a low temp and the flame has gone out more than a couple of times. So it is not a set and forget it system. And the digital read out stopped working after the first year


  • I have a Camp Chef propane fired vertical smoker, and just bought the CC XXL vertical pellet smoker. I used the propane smoker, supplemented by an A-MAZE-N tube smoker for about two years. Maintaining a low temperature was darn near impossible with it, and it seemed to start in the 160 degree range. You really had to watch and monitor your temps closely, so not to fat out. I purchased the XXL pellet smoker about 6 months ago, and I’m pretty happy with it overall. It produces a decent amount of smoke, and has a low smoke feature which starts at the 150 range - which was actually 140, according to my accurate thermometer. I got this model because of the ability to hang sausages, provided they aren’t longer than 16-18 inches. It comes with a rack just for hanging, as well as jerky racks and regular grid racks. Personally, I use a Kamado for briskets and shoulders ( more smoke flavor, because I can use wood in it ). The XXL, supplemented with a tube smoker, works just about as well as the Kamado or a stick burner…if you don’t feel like babysitting all night.

    Overall the XXL works pretty well for sausages and snack sticks. Like a few of the others here, I’ll vac pack and finish sous vide most of the time - perfect. It’s not a PK100, but it’s not a grand either. After I move, I’ll make that step. I have enough junk to relocate already! Hope this helps a little…


  • I have a camp chef and love it no problem getting lots of smoke I turn the chimney cap down as far as it will go and let it go I do problem 10 briskets a year and butts at the same time for family and friends

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Thomas Sweeney Joe Hell and a few others have had problems with their @Masterbuilt smokers and more specifically the customer service assistance that they have received. It seems like all of these companies go through a period like this. Traeger was fantastic to begin with then they started cheaping out and making garbage, so people who got early ones loved them and then for a few years people who bought them hated them but then they started making better units again. Hopefully, masterbuilt follows the same trajectory.

  • Sous Vide

    Thomas Sweeney Strange…I get beautiful smoke rings with my PB Pro Series!

  • Regular Contributors

    I have used the a-max-n tube smoke generators for years and they are great for hot or cold smoke gas,electric smoker ,or charcoal grill. Just fill the tube with pellets light with torch and 4 hours great smoke.

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