If you’re always on the move, whether you’re hiking, tailgating, or taking a road trip, there will be plenty of times when you’ll be hungry. To prepare for those occasions, it’s time to look at some of the best portable propane smokers available today. You can take portable propane smokers with you just about anywhere and they generally don't take up too much space.
Why propane you ask? Vertical propane smokers require a minimal amount of maintenance and don’t need to be babysat as much as other fuels such as wood or charcoal. Propane is just as convenient as electric smokers, without the need for a power source, which makes them even more portable!
Most propane smokers have an easy to start push-button ignition. With a propane smoker, you don't have to wait for the heat source to start up. You can just attach a propane canister and get to work.
To select the right cooking device, here is our list of the top 5 portable propane smokers.
Top 5 Portable Propane Smokers
- Masterbuilt 20050116 Portable Propane Smoker
- Masterbuilt Compact Portable Propane Smoker
- Smoke Hollow Propane Gas Smoker
- King Kooker Outdoor Chef's Smoker
- Landmann Smoky Mountain Vertical Gas Smoker
1. Masterbuilt 20050116 Portable Propane Smoker
The Masterbuilt 20050116 is at the top spot for portable propane smokers. This unit is a great asset for camping, road trips, tailgating, or even just in the corner of your backyard.
The easy to read temperature gauge on the door displays the current temperature of the grill. Regarding the fuel source, you’ll be able to attach a 1-pound propane cylinder for the smoker to work. If you want to attach a larger tank, you can separately purchase an adapter for 20-pound propane tanks. Just keep in mind that the larger propane tank can make transport a little more difficult.
With a 1-pound propane cylinder, this grill is extremely portable. It has legs that effortlessly fold for easy storage. There are also two handles attached to the smoker.
Overall, the Masterbuilt comes in at #1 because it is convenient to carry, reasonably priced, and applies enough heat to your food for a thorough, wood-flavored experience.
- Easy to read temperature gauge
- Legs fold up
- Some units have trouble staying lit
2. Masterbuilt Compact Portable Propane Smoker
Also made by Masterbuilt, this small-sized smoker can cook massive quantities of food. Being a true portable smoker, this unit is best for tailgating, camping, road trips, and other instances where you will need to move the smoker around.
This smoker also heats quickly. In fact, it has been known to reach up to 275-degrees Fahrenheit after being heated for only a few minutes. The temperature gauge on the front of the smoker will clearly display how hot it is inside the smoker. The removable water pan and wood chip tray will also make cooking much easier, so you can smoke juicy and tender food every time.
The Masterbuilt compact smoker has legs that can fold up, making it easy to throw in the back of your car or closet. In the end, it is a conveniently portable solution for outdoor cooking. The small size, easy assembly, and quick heating will allow you to start cooking within minutes.
- Small size
- Easy to read temperature gauge
- Folding smoker legs
- Heats up quickly
- Easy to assemble
- Getting the right temperature can be difficult
- Temperature needs to be monitored
3. Smoke Hollow Propane Gas Smoker
The Smoke Hollow 26142G falls right in the middle at #3. The stainless-steel tube burner will emit about 8,000 BTU’s, which should be just enough to create a reliable temperature for your meat to be cooked efficiently. The temperature gauge is right on the door, so you won’t have to worry about guessing how hot the smoker is getting.
A big issue that has come up regarding this propane smoker is the consistency of the heat. Some people have claimed that their smoker didn’t always stay at a consistent temperature, so it might be best to monitor the temperature during the first few times using this unit. Keep in mind that not everyone experienced the same issue and plenty of customers were perfectly satisfied.
When the propane smoker finally does get hot, you won’t need to put on any gloves to prevent burning your hands. The Smoke Hollow outdoor smoker has a spring wire cool-touch handle.
One of the most appealing factors is the price range, which is on the low end. High-quality smokers don’t come cheap, so those who are concerned with price should consider this smoker.
- Heat resistant door handle
- Integrated ignition system
- Two chrome plated cooking grids
- Flame is inconsistent
4. King Kooker Outdoor Chef's Smoker
The King Kooker propane smoker looks like your average smoker, but there is much more to this outdoor cooker. You can cook basically anything with this smoker, from cuts of meat to vegetables.
Using a one-pound propane canister, you’ll be able to produce up to 16,000 BTU’s of heat so that you can cook everything thoroughly and evenly. The side handles will help you take the smoker anywhere. Due to the smaller size, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a space in your garage or your trunk to put it in.
If you’re wondering how long this propane smoker can last, you’ll be glad to know that it’s made of a durable steel. The steel material should protect the smoker from rust and damage when used outside in poor weather conditions.
The smoker comes with 2 smoking cabinet racks, a carrying bag, a cooking thermometer, a removable wood chip pan with a vented lid, and a removable water pan. These accessories are very helpful for outdoor cooking. Overall, this propane smoker is a solid option.
- Produces high level of heat
- Handles make it easy to carry
- Difficult to fit in tight spaces
5. Landmann Smoky Mountain Vertical Gas Smoker
This next option from Landmann is a high-quality vertical gas smoker that offers a generous amount of cooking space. With the Smoky Mountain gas smoker, you’ll have about 878 square inches of cooking space to work with. This will give you plenty of room to cook a variety of meats for the whole family, like fish, chicken, and steak.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the large door with welded hinges that will give you full accessibility when adding water and wood. The heat control features are easy to understand, so you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying the outdoor atmosphere and less time messing with the controls. There is an adjustable top chimney as well as side damper vents for accurate temperature control.
The legs give the smoker a wide stance, allowing you to cook on almost any surface. Whether you're on a flat cement surface or bumpy grass, the smoker will remain stable.
Measuring 34-inches wide, this smoker is one of the larger portable options. This means that it may not be the most convenient smoker for transporting to various locations. For your backyard, you shouldn't have any trouble moving it from a garage or shed, but transporting it in a vehicle can be a chore.
- Large cooking surface
- Easy to adjust heat control
- Wide stance legs provide stability
- Not the best option for budget buyers
- Temperature is inconsistent for some users
Portable Propane Smoker Buying Guide
Since we are focusing solely on ‘portable’ propane smokers, you will need to figure out how much storage space you have available. Buyers with pick-up trucks can select a larger smoker whereas buyers will smaller cars should find a more compact unit, like the Masterbuilt compact smoker at #2.
The size and weight of the smoker is just part of the portability. You can also find smokers with wheels or handles for easy transport.
Propane smokers are usually taken to campsites, picnics, and other outdoor areas, as they don't require a separate power source. All you’ll need is a small propane tank and then you’ll be good to go, but if you prefer the taste of meats cooked over burning coals, there are portable charcoal smokers.
Along with the size of the smoker, think about your budget. Smokers can be found at low prices, but the cost will vary. If you have extra money, spending a little more could help you get a more durable smoker. If you find yourself financially strained, you can still get a quality cooker, such as the Masterbuilt at the top of the list.
The overall design and materials should also be considered. Steel tends to be less prone to rust, which may be useful if you plan on storing your smoker outdoors.
Finally, how much food do you see yourself cooking at once? Are you cooking for your entire family or just a couple of people? This makes a significant difference in what type of propane smoker you end up buying. The Landmann Smoky Mountain offers more cooking space than the other propane smokers in this list.
About Portable Propane Smokers
Portable propane smokers are great because they are easy to transport, heat up relatively quick, and still offer that wood smoke taste. For your backyard, you may not need a portable grill. There are vertical propane smokers that can easily be transported between a shed or garage and your backyard. If you’re typically on the go, you might want to invest in a portable propane smoker.
The portability of the smoker depends on the overall size, wheels, and handles. Some of these smokers may be incredibly light and easy to carry, while others will require the use of sturdy wheels to roll the smoker from point A to point B. Think about where you'll be using the smoker and whether it will need to fit into your vehicle.
Portable propane smokers also provide a great introduction to smoking your meats. Due to their smaller size, they tend to be more cost-effective than large vertical smokers. Propane grills also generally cost less than some of your other options, such as the pellet or wood-fueled grills.
Along with the price, propane smokers can be more efficient. You don't need to deal with an inconsistent fuel source. You simply press the ignition switch and allow the propane to deliver consistent heat.
Propane smokers are also easier to clean. Charcoal and wood produce mass amounts of ash after they are done heating. This requires more maintenance and cleaning, which you don't need to deal with when using a propane smoker.
Whether you’re smoking a ham or a rack of ribs, whether you’re in the backyard or a family reunion at the park, having a portable propane smoker is sure to be a help. It will give you the ability to smoke your food on the go for a crisp wood-like taste, without the hassle of a major clean up afterward. If this sounds like fun, then think about getting one of the portable propane smokers from this list.