I have always held that the best propane smokers were made by Masterbuilt but the Red Rock Series 2 and Series 3 from Pit Boss recently grabbed my attention.
The Pit Boss propane smokers are, in my opinion, a little undersized. The Series 2 smoker has 3 porcelain coated cooking grates that are about 14 x 15 inches. The Series 3 smoker has four of the same sized grates. From this standpoint these smokers look like just about all of the other undersized propane smokers on the market.
What grabbed my attention about these smokers is that they have two burners that serve very different functions.
The primary 10,000 BTU/hr burner is used to heat the cooking chamber while a second 3,500 BTU/hr burner is used to heat the smoker box that holds the wood chips.
Both of these burners are controlled by a single knob on the front of the smoker.
- When the control knob is set to HIGH both burners will be fully lit. This will give you smoke the fastest and will take the smoker to its highest temperature (about 350F).
- When the control knob is set to MEDIUM the main burner is on LOW and the smoker box burner is lit. This will give you an intermediate temperature in the smoker with plenty of smoke.
- When the control knob is set to LOW the main burner is OFF and only the smoker burner will be lit.
This burner configuration means that you can run this smoker at temperatures as low as 100F.
The ability to run this smoker at low temperature while also generating smoke might make this the best smoker for making beef and pork jerky!
Many people use 30 inch Masterbuilt electric smokers for making jerky because of the ability to dial in and maintain temperatures in the 150F range. While high quality electric smokers can hold these temps just fine they struggle to generate smoke at these low temperatures. People often resort to adding cold smoke generators to their electric smokers to get the jerky flavor profiles they desire.
While I always call smokers of this size too small that is in reference to cooking ribs and brisket. If what you are interested in is making jerky then the size of the grates are not a problem.
The downside of the Pit Boss propane smokers is going to be the same for any propane smoker and that is the need to refill the wood chips every 30-90 minutes. On the plus side, the Pit Boss smokers have a nice slide out wood chip tray that makes refills easy.
These smokers were introduced in 2018 and there are not a lot of reviews or real world performance data on the products. If you have one of these smokers it would be awesome if you would leave a comment and let folks know how they work!