Convert Smoker to LPG - Proof on Concept




Introduction: Convert Smoker to LPG - Proof on Concept

I love BBQ and I love to BBQ. Unfortunately I have a condition that makes smoking meat extremely difficult, adult attention deficit disorder - self diagnosed ; ) Smoking ribs takes about 6 hours. That's not bad. But a descent sized butt or brisket can take 14 - 16+ hours! That's a long time to tend to a smoker. While there are no shortcuts in BBQ, there are tools to make life easier.

There are gas and electric smokers but those do not appeal to how incredibly cheap I am. So I decided to investigate the feasibility of converting my Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) from charcoal to gas.

I ventured into the junk lovers underground of freecycle and quickly picked up an old turkey fryer.

Step 1: Putting It Together

  • Remove the burner from fryer stand.
  • Remove the supply line and route it through the smoker and the charcoal ring.
  • Place burner in the bottom of the smoker.
  • Add wood

Step 2: Results and Conclusion

Smoking is about 3 things; temperature, smoke, and time...

With this setup, it was all I could do to keep the WSM temperature around 225. This required the regulator valve on the turkey fryer to be set to just barely open. It was, however, way less work to maintain temperature then using charcoal.

Foil was not a good solution for smoke. Very little of my wood actually burned releasing it's smokey goodness.

Propane use. I measured my propane by weight but sadly have misplaced my figures. I used a little less then 2 lbs. of propane over probably close to 7 hours of fire time. This is cheaper than charcoal.

Results: The ribs came out good, but not great. There is a smoke ring but the smoke flavor was much more subdued then usual.

Conclusion: I would call the proof in concept as a success. I believe a smaller burner and/or a low pressure regulator would probably offer more control over temperature. Now I'm on the hunt for an old grill with a side burner as I imagine that would have a lower BTU rating. As for smoke, I believe foil does not provide for an adequate transfer of heat. I will use a steal plate or old cast iron frying pan in hopes of better smoke. So I will continue this quest. If anyone has done this with success, please share! Updates when available.

Be the First to Share


    • CNC and 3D Printing Contest

      CNC and 3D Printing Contest
    • Puzzles Challenge

      Puzzles Challenge
    • Lamps Challenge

      Lamps Challenge



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Totally awesome! I've been looking for a good use for my Dad's old turkey fryer.

    I'm sure Alton Brown's various electric smoking projects can be found on youtube somewhere, they may give you some ideas on heat transfer.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I converted my smoker to run on propane a few years ago. It was a charcoal smoker that I purchased from Northern Tool on sale. I used a turkey fryer from Academy as the burner assembly. The smoker was originally designed to have a charcoal/wood pan in the bottom. Due to the fact the pan was designed with a hole in the center, the flames from the burner had a tendency to ignite the wood unless I soaked it in water first. Additionally, you must restrict the airflow in the grill to prevent the wood from igniting too quickly. Eventually, the rubber hose on the burner assembly deteriorated enough that it started leaking gas, so I disassembled it and converted the smoker back to charcoal. If you keep your current setup, I would put some sort of shielding over the rubber hose or change it out with a metal tube. Nice Instructable.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Good point regarding the tubing. There were no initial signs of deterioration but I will be sure to address that in my final build. Thanks!