Smoking in the cold - Sand? Insultation?

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by bossku69, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. I've spent hours ready a lot of thread on this topic, but curious to see any input on what I am trying to accomplish here.

    First, I have the Materbuilt 2 door propane smoker.  I love this guy and did a few mods (below) which helps, but still having issues keeping in the heat during winter months -- note that "wait until it's warm out" is not an acceptable answer ;)

    I smoked a pork butt and brisket for NYE, ended up having to build a box around the smoker with 1" think insulation I got from HD.  Worked fairly well, but to embarrassed of the final product to post pictures, I will after I fix it up.  The box helped hold the temp above 200 for the entire day, it was about 15-20 degrees out and windy -- I live in PA.

    I'm debating adding in ceramic insulation on the unit itself, I have a friend that is a welder and can add on the insulation and metal around the unit, but I don't want to damage it by making it "too efficient" so I was considering adding in pellets after speaking to someone this weekend, something like this -

    What I can't find is, will adding pellets increase the temp inside, or just create more smoke?

    Otherwise, I'm looking to build or buy better racks for this as the metal ones you can only pull out about half way before you have to play "catch the meat" before it falls to the ground.

    My goal is to have something better for a Superbowl party, so I can add wings and either pork or brisket.


    Gasket around doors (big green egg felt, works great)

    Thermometers added to the door, right around meat level.  OEM therm is not accurate.

    Added a shelf on the side with metal sheet I bought from HD to hold thermometers. Attached with screws and sealed. So far, so good.

    Also drilled small holes for wires to lead through, still trying to find a good "gasket" solution to prevent air from leaking out

    Fireplace bricks added to top of unit to hold in heat better

    Built a "wind shield" around the bottom with sheet metal and attached to legs - this was the most crucial mod I had to do as the propane would easily blow out on windy days

    Future mods:

    Insulate side and back to hold in heat?

    Upgrade cooking racks

    Metal water/drip pan (using large foil type one now)

    A-maze-n tube or smoker box
  2. The oven in your kitchen has about 2 inches of fiberglass wool around the top, sides and back and has an insulated door. My mother's cast iron wood stove had no insulation and could drive you out of the house when she was baking bread or roasting meat. If I were building a smoke cooker I would certainly insulate it with glass or mineral wool and a thin aluminum jacket.

    Early locomotive boilers were lagged with wood for insulation.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you're using water in your water pan quit. Fill that oan up with sand and cover with foil. Adding a needle valve may help you out too. On my GOSM, I added a needle valve and I can go as low as 120, and higher than 500. Your other mods sound good. A cheap alternative for insulation is a welders blanket wrapped around it. Wind is the biggest killer so blocking the wind is key.
  4. Make sure you do your homework on valves..   I have the Bayou Classic.  I wish I could of done my research before I bought..    

    Try these guys -
  5. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Chopjaw,do you not like the bayou classic unit you listed?
  6. I like the unit just fine.  What I don't like is the burner that's provided from MB.  So if you get the Bayou Classic then look to change the burner.  I would just say to get a inline valve from the tank and go that route.  Keep the tank open all the way, keep the temp controller on the smoker at high and just adjust the temp with the valve.  

    Now after 2 smokes I am having trouble keeping flame low.  It's either the burner or tank?  The outcome of that statement is, I need to spend more money to get the results that I want. 

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