question about insulating a BKSD (BBQEngineer and others?)

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by fatback, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. fatback

    fatback Fire Starter

    I have a BSKD with many of the commonly recommended modifications, and it performs quite well for me. But during the colder months it is a bit of a challenge to maintain adequate temps. After seeing BBQEngineer's double-walled masterpiece, I was wondering if I couldn't try to insulate my smoker. I don't have the equipment or the skills to do any welding, by the way. My idea would be to wrap the smoker box (not the fire box) with a ceramic blanket material (like BBQEngineer did) and cover that with something else. Would concrete backer board normally used in showers and baths be suitable?

    Anyone ever tried anything like this?
  2. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    maybe try a good wind break i smoke year round here in kansas.
  3. tsywake

    tsywake Fire Starter

    I've never used backer board for insulating, but I did use it when I built my house. In my opinion, it would be very brittle. If you have a wide range of temperatures outside, plus moving your smoker, it would probably lead to cracking. The other concern would be how to attach it to the smoker without having to screw it into the walls of the smoker. That could be done, but if you ever have to remove the insulation, you'll have a very holey smoker.
  4. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You could probably get by just by wrapping it in the ceramic wool like bbq did with his. I have wrapped mine in the winter here last year when it was 25 below and did quite well. You can find that kiln insulation like bbq used on ebay for a decent price.
  5. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Fatback,

    Thanks for the shout out about my smoker build. After taking some time off to attend to other things, I will begin building a trailer for it this weekend. Look for more build photos as I work to get a permanent home for my new addition.

    I began the insulated smoker thoughts, after attending some BBQ contests when it was cold and rainy. I saw a lot of people (some with the big rigs) in a panic trying to keep the temp up, and being a guy and an engineer, it is my nature to trouble shoot things and look for a way to make things bigger, better, faster, and cheaper. I made a small vertical that was insulated to test my theories, and I must tell you that it is absolutely amazing because of this. It uses little charcoal, stays cool to the touch on the exterior, and the weather has no appreciable effect on the is a real power-house!! If you are anything like me, you like awesome BBQ in the winter just as much as you do in the summer. I have smoked ribs, butts, salmon, and other things when the temperature was in negative territory and there was a stiff wind just hammering the smoker. There is no question in my mind that the insulation makes a tremendous difference in my ability to enjoy smoking year round. It dampens the effect of -20° winter time, and 105° summer time. My smokes are always consistent, and I believe that I have removed one of the biggest variables that a lot of guys really wrestle with.

    I don't know about your specific smoker, but if you are looking to use the ceramic wool blanket, it would certainly work to insulate your rig, but I do believe that it needs to be encased (in my situation, between two walls) in order to be durable. I believe that otherwise it would not stand up for you. In looking at Morkdach's setup, I think that would work to keep the wind at bay, and also provide a dead air space to regulate the temps in cold weather...besides, I think the "outhouse" door on the smoker closet is pretty cool. I would suggest that type of setup before I suggested that you wrap ceramic wool around your rig without a way to encapsulate it.

    As another thought, I have a buddy that has a large trailer mounted unit, and he has one of those really thick and quilted furniture moving pads that he "acquired" and when it it is cold or windy, he will drape that over his horizontal propane tank smoker. Believe it or not, it too makes a big difference. He just moves it aside to open the door, and it works well for him, at a low cost. It might be a good suggestion for you as well...just keep it away from the high heat of the firebox.

    If you are looking for the ceramic wool, I got it from the High Temp Refractory Store on Ebay...actually I just called them direct, and they will sell it to you at the same price from ebay...they are very helpful, and knowledgeable. Here are their links:

    Those are my thoughts, and I'm sure that others will have a lot of good suggestions too...that is the power of this site!

    Good Luck!
  6. fatback

    fatback Fire Starter

    Thank you much, BBQE

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