7 Practical Cold Weather Smoking Tips

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So it’s raining outside. Cold, windy, and desolate. However, I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s never been a finer moment to dig into some tender pulled pork or brisket.

Once you’ve mustered the fortitude to confront the cold, smoking in harsh weather might be a challenge. With wind, rain, and snow, obtaining and maintaining a comfortable temperature becomes considerably more difficult.

But it shouldn’t stop you from starting up the smoker. Let’s go through 7 useful cold weather meat smoking tips.

1) Different types of smoker performs differently in extreme conditions

7 Practical Cold Weather Smoking Tips

A pitmaster is an expert in their field, as the name implies. This includes understanding how your specific kind of smoker operates in the cold.

Thin-bodied smokers, such as the Weber Kettle or Smokey Mountain, will struggle to heat up. They also lose heat fast after reaching the correct temperature because the thinner metal body conducts heat out from the chamber.

This implies you’ll have to use more gasoline to get to and maintain the right temperature.

Thicker insulated ceramic smokers, such as Kamado cookers, will also need more fuel to heat up. However, once you’ve attained the correct temperature, it will be much simpler to keep it there.

When utilizing gas smokers, you will also need to use extra fuel. One thing to keep in mind is that, contrary to popular belief, the gas should flow quite well in cold temperatures. Meathead Goldwyn provides an excellent in-depth explanation on how to use gas in chilly weather.

Meathead Goldwyn, Cold Weather Grilling & Smoking

Many people mistakenly assume that at low temperatures, gas will not flow. This is not correct. Propane is liquid in the tank and must be boiled to produce a gas. Unless you reside in Siberia, the boiling point of propane is -44F, thus you should have no trouble getting gas to flow.

The pressure will decrease as the air temperature and fuel level decline, which is why gas grills and smokers include a regulator, that disk-shaped device between the tank and the stove. It controls the flow to keep it even.

Similarly, if you use a charcoal or pellet burner, you may expect to need more fuel to keep the heat on.

Because of the consistent heat provided, using an electric cooker may be a feasible choice for cold season smoking.

2) Create your own smoker insulation

7 Practical Cold Weather Smoking Tips

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a cold weather jacket to keep your smoker warm. You can always do it yourself! The most important factors to consider are safety, ventilation, and efficacy.

Welding blankets and furnace insulation are two solutions to explore. A welders blanket is an excellent choice since it protects against wind, rain, and snow. It will also give insulation without setting anything on fire.

Double foil insulation is a fantastic alternative for protecting your smoker; however, do not put it in close contact with the firebox itself, since the insulation may melt.

A member on the SmokingMeatForums shared an excellent method for insulating a Masterbuilt Propane smoker with aluminum foil insulation from the hardware store.

T-ROY Cooks proposes wrapping a Weber Smokey Mountain with furnace insulation. This will enable you to smoke in subzero temperatures.

How to Improve Efficiency of WSM in Cold Temps? | Thursday Chat Ep 14

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A trip to your local hardware shop will usually supply you with lots of ideas. Once you’ve chosen a suitable product, trim it to fit your smoker and ensure sure the vents are not blocked.

Check out this collection for inspiration from other pitmasters. There might be something that works for you.

3) Keep the Lid Shut

Lifting the lid and taking a solid 5 minute peak when it’s chilly outside might cause your cooker to work overtime for the following 15-20 minutes to re-heat. This may quickly mount up, resulting in cranky, hungry visitors.

Even if you open the lid for a minute or less, it will take a few minutes for the cooking chamber to return to the correct temperature. In any case, flipping the lid is not a good habit to develop, especially in cold weather.

If it’s raining, rig up an umbrella or have someone hold it over you and the smoker when you need to lift the cover.

While you should always be aware of what is going on within your smoker, keeping a constant check on your temperatures is especially crucial in the winter. It’s also convenient to check your temperatures from the comfort of your sofa. That is why we advise using a twin probe remote thermometer. Using a digital thermometer not only allows you to monitor the temperature without removing the lid or venturing out into the cold.

4) Stock Up on Fuel

As previously said, if you want to cook in the cold, you will use more fuel.

With that information, make sure you have adequate gasoline on hand. Get a couple bags of your favorite charcoal delivered to save yourself a trip to the shop.

Set up any equipment or utensils you may need during smoking a few minutes before the cook.

This way, when it comes time to refill, you won’t risk a temperature decrease while hastily hunting for the necessary tools.

It is a wonderful idea to make your life easy when cooking. If you’re using a wood-burning smoker, have your wood chopped up and ready to go in a dry, but accessible location. Wood racks are an excellent way to keep your firewood dry.

When it comes to charcoal or gas, you may need to undertake a stocktake before you begin and, if necessary, visit your fuel source. Even better, stock up on charcoal or wood pellets ahead of time. Keep in mind that the fuel required for a warm-weather cook will not suffice in the winter.

5) Position your Smoker in a Sheltered Spot

Many of the issues connected with smoking in windy, cold weather may be mitigated by positioning your smoker in a safe location during the cook.

Look around your yard for locations that are protected from the wind and rain. By doing so, you may amass a useful knowledge base of go-to locations for various weather circumstances. For example, you may have one location that is ideal for windy situations and another that is ideal for rainy conditions.

A word of caution. I’m not sure whether we really need to emphasize this, but you often hear tales about individuals who didn’t realize this. While cooking, never move your smoker inside your house or into a limited location.

I’m not even going inside your garage. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion, thus it will be created by your smoker throughout the cooking process. As a result, there is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in a confined location. Of course, this isn’t a problem if you’re grilling outdoors in a well-ventilated environment.

Cooking in enclosed places near to your home should also be avoided since they may have vents that go into the house itself. This might endanger family members or pets inside.

Consider surrounding flammable or meltable objects while looking for a covered location to set your smoker. A great area beneath your eaves may seem to be ideal, but you don’t want it all to end in an embarrassing visit to the fire department.

6) Dealing With the Wind

Dealing with the wind is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a steady temperature in your cooker’s chamber. A steady temperature within the chamber is essential since big temperature variations might spoil your BBQ. While selecting a covered area can assist with consistency, the essential thing to consider is air movement.

Some smokers have a specific route that air takes. Learn how the air travels through your specific smoker. This is significant because more airflow through your smoker will fuel the fire and raise the temperature.

On the opposite end of the scale, a lack of airflow results in heat loss since the fuel cannot burn.

The answer is to keep an eye on the wind direction and modify your intakes as needed. You may need to entirely close a vent facing the wind and regulate the temperature via another vent.

The goal is to prevent either temperature spikes or snuffing out the heat.In general, it is preferable to operate with the wind. Reduced airflow lowers the temperature in the chamber and may result in a filthy fire that emits unpleasant smoke that can damage your meal.

7) Use a Cold Weather Jacket

When it’s cold, damp, and dreary outside, we instinctively seek for a jacket to keep us warm and shield us from the elements. Wearing a cold weather jacket will provide the same advantages for your smoker.

The goal of placing a cold weather jacket on your smoker is to keep the heat it has already produced. Another advantage is that it provides protection from the elements, which may impact the constancy of the temperature inside. You may be able to purchase a particular model of smoker depending on your needs.

BBQ Guru makes a Silver Bullet silicone smoker jacket for both the 18.5 and 22.5 Weber Smokey Mountain. These are made of 700F silicone coated material, which helps to mitigate the impacts of wind, rain, and snow while also conserving charcoal.

while you buy a cold weather jacket for your smoker, you have the extra advantage of being able to use it as a cover while you’re not cooking.

Check that the cold weather jacket you buy has appropriate air flow, ease of access, and fire resistance.

Wrapping it up

What did you think of our smoking suggestions for chilly weather?

Without a doubt, the dead of winter is the ideal time to enjoy a delicious, well prepared BBQ. So don’t allow your reservations about your ability to pull it off keep you from trying! Nothing can stop you from keeping the pit running all year with a little know-how.

If you liked this piece, please leave a comment with your best ideas for smoking in the cold.


What temperature is too cold to use a smoker?

The best temperature for smoking meat is generally between 225 and 275°F. Lowering the temperature below 225°F might cause the meat to overcook and germs to proliferate. Any temperature over 275°F may cause the meat to overcook and dry out.

Can I use my smoker in 30 degree weather?

However, if it is a chilly and cloudy day, the smoker’s internal temperature may be as low as 35 degrees or even lower. You’ll need to raise the temperature significantly, which will need additional fuel, particularly if the smoker is constructed of a lighter material. Make a plan and make sure you have adequate supplies on hand.

How long to smoke a brisket in cold weather?

A decent rule of thumb is to add 20 minutes per pound of beef to your cooking time for every 5 degrees below 45 degrees. This is true whether you use a gas, electric, or charcoal smoker. Which way is the wind blowing? Depending on the direction of the chilly wind (and the kind of smoker you have), you may need to alter your vents.

How cold is too cold for pellet grill?

The pace at which your hardwood pellets burn rises when the temperature outside drops, particularly when it falls below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can you smoke meat in 15 degree weather?

Tips for Smoking or Barbecuing in the Cold. Make a plan – Smoking meat in cold weather follows the same principles as smoking meat in warm weather. You should always prepare ahead, whether it’s 80 degrees outside or 15 below zero. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “start with the end in mind.”

Can you cold smoke at 40 degrees?

Cold smoking is best done in the autumn and winter when the temperature is below 40 degrees. The cool air from outside stops the smoker from becoming too hot inside. If you can’t wait for the weather to calm down, smoke at night or early in the morning when temperatures are at their lowest.

How do you smoke meat in cold weather?

When it’s freezing outdoors, you can smoke meat. Before you start cooking, stock up on charcoal and wood, particularly if it’s chilly outside. Keep your chopped wood in a dry, readily accessible spot, such as a wood rack. In cooler weather, your smoker will use more wood and charcoal than it would in warmer weather.

How do you smoke outside when its cold?

Look for a sheltered location.

And the stronger the wind, the colder it feels. Before you start, look around the yard for a protected location where you can get out of the wind. If you don’t have one, place a waterproof tarp between the wall, tree, or patio supports where you’ll be smoking.

What’s the lowest temp you can smoke meat at?

In a nutshell, the answer is no.

For as much of the cooking procedure as feasible, the meat must be above 140°F (60°C). While smoking is a low and slow process, it is simply not safe to leave the meat at that temperature for many hours (unless refrigerated or frozen).

What is the lowest safe temp to smoke brisket?

Brisket need a low and consistent pit temperature—Franklin recommends 275°F (135°C), but we utilized a little lower and slower pit temperature that offered us greater control in our smaller smoker: 250°F (121°C). Brisket is a difficult cut to prepare since it originates from the area of the cow immediately above the legs.

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