Smoking in cold weather

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by burghroots, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. burghroots

    burghroots Newbie

    I'm new to smoking and have a 30" MES. I've been very happy with the results with ribs, chicken, pork tenderloin, brats. Now it's getting cold out...we live in Missouri, so it will go down into the 30's and below. Do I need to do anything differently? Preheat longer? Cook longer? Build an insulated shelter around it? Right now, I have the smoker right outside the kitchen door, but can move it to the other end of the deck inside a somewhat sheltered gazebo.

    Suggestions? Thanks!!

  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The more shelter you have the better. I smoke all winter long using my charcoal WSM's, UDS, and propane smoker. I go through more fuel when it's cold. A simple solution that many use for insulation is a cheap welder a blanket from Harbor Freight. Just make sure to not block the exhaust. Another option is to use rigid insulation and make a box. Once again don't block the exhaust. Leave. 2" gap around the smoker.
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I live in WA state and I never smoke in cold weather because...I don't like to smoke in cold weather. It's going to be in the high 60s-low 70s today so I'm doing some cold and hot smokes today. I also never smoke in rainy weather because I think rain and an electric smoker don't mix so good. I own a MES 30 Gen 1 and unfortunately I have no outside shelter for it. I store mine in my garage when not in use.
  4. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I guess I'm going to find out this weekend, myself, Burgh! It's supposed to get into the 30's with highs in the 50's and I've been looking forward to these short ribs all week.

    I'm propane, though, and my usual issue is keeping the temps down. I'm not a cold weather lover, though, so when it's too cold to sit with a cold beer and mind the smoker, it's time to put 'er to bed for the winter....
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The biggest thing in cold weather with and electric is getting a good preheat all the way to 275. Then drop to your desired temp. Watch how fast it gets there because its a good indication of heat loss. If it drops too fast Your smoker needs protection. Probably a wind break.

    I don't like enclosing one like in the garage, because we always hear on the news of someone who burns their house/garage  down or dies from some form of asphyxiation. It should not cause either of those but why should I need to worry, right?

    If it gets really really cold, like you live near Disco, you can buy from any hardware a hot water heater blanket for change. Don't get all carried away, just wrap it around the box a little. If you don't have one on your hot water heater.... do it too!

    It ain't rocket science..... smoke with it, if it doesn't work right because of the cold start with the wind break, then the blanket...... If it still doesn't work, think about a winter firebreather.
  6. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I will smoke with mine,as long as I do not have a deep snow to walk thru.I keep mine in my tin shed for the winter.

  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do anything differently???  Yes--Put a Jacket on!!

    It gets a lot colder in PA than in MO, but Wind effects an MES more than Cold. If you can, block the wind from getting to that top Vent. Wind on the top vent can suck the heat right out of it---At 30° or at 90°.

  8. doctord1955

    doctord1955 Smoking Fanatic

    if you have a insulated smoker with adequate heat source you will have no trouble!!  Just need to learn how your smoker is affected by wind or snow!  I have a sealed refri conv smoker that i have used when its below zero with no problem!
  9. I use a MES 30 electric. It's the popular 20070910 starter smoker. It works fine for the wife and I . If the kids were at home it would be a challenge. Last year  I made two insulated jackets for my self and a good friend.

    After some looking at what was available and what was fairly thin and would be easiest  Armaflex insulation 1" thick. Armaflex is a closed cell type of insulation. You may have seen it used as coolie can insulation. It is good in cold as well as hot applications. I don't remember the specs but it never smoked like the out side of the smoker got to hot. I used it to about April. The best part is it blocked the wind I used it till the weather was in then 70's. It held up fine till the outside metal  jacket got to about 160.

    Easy to cut. glue and use     Jted    

    Oh I almost forgot I did not insulate the door
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015

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