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smokin in the cold???

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Im in Lawrence Kansas and it is cold right now, and I got a new smoker for Xmas. Ive tried it out a couple times and cant get the heat up! Im using lump charcoal in a Brinkmann charcoal smoker(it looks like a safe and opens from the side)!! I drilled some holes in the charcoal pan to get some air, but not helping! I have 4 vents, 2 at the top 2 at the bottom, ive been keeping the top 2 closed and the bottom 2 open, and even put a little fan on the side to keep the coles hott but no luck! Is it just the cold(15 to 40 degrees F) Or am i doing somthin wrong??? Want to do a Chuck Roast this weekend!
post #2 of 23
are the top 2 exhaust?? If they are open them all the way! this will allow air to flow across the fire up and out taking the bad unburnt stuff (creasote) out with it.... I am not familiar with your smoker... others will be along soon.... maybe a picture of your smoker might help... closed and open...
post #3 of 23
Yeah, open the top 2 like Mark said.
post #4 of 23
Matt, like the others stated, keep the top and bottom 2 vents open. When your desired temp is reached, adjust the bottom vents to maintain. You want airflow across your heat source. Also, try getting or making a wind and weather block or shield. Will help tremendously with obtaining and maintaining temps on cold and wind days. Even a simple large, folded down cardboard box used as a windbreak will help.
post #5 of 23
What temps are you getting? Are you using a digital thermometer? Open your top vents. Is the smoker exposed to the wind? It needs to be protected. I run a similar model, and can get 225° with a pan of lump pretty easy when protected from the wind. When I wrap it in a heat resistant blanket I can reach 300°.

Are you using a water pan? Fill it with sand instead of water.

Also try raising the firepan a couple inches with a couple bricks or rocks.
post #6 of 23

Is this your smoker?
As others have said, keep the top vents open. Use your lower for air control over your fire. Missouri weather is not too much different than Kansas (except we have trees to slow the wind down)PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif . I used to have a ECB bullet. On cold days, I put metal shielding around the bottom to slow down the cold air flowing under the smoker. I would also box around it with plywood (keeping several inches of clearance) to give the case a chance to heat up and retain its temp longer.
Good luck with your smoke. Spring is only a few months away.
post #7 of 23
The metal on those smokers is very thin. I have trouble keeping the heat up on cool florida days. I can't imagine the impact your very cold weather would have on it. Get some kind of insulation on the sides to help maintain temps. Maybe even some kind of a brick on the bottom to help retain heat. Hopefully others will have ideas on how to better maintain heat in your cooler temps.

You already have the holes drilled. Those are very important. Now the next thing to try is sand in the water pan instead of water. This may help keep the temps higher.

Your smoker is capable of making very good food. You just need to figure out how to get the heat up in your lower temps. I am thinking of converting it to a gas smoker though.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 


Stacks found a picture of my smoker! Its a cheap one but im just gettn started. 200 is the highest temp Ive got, for about a hour or so!
post #9 of 23
Matt... that maybe a cheap smoker but it is capable of producing good food. Work with it and see what you can do. I own the same model and have the temp struggles as well. The food in the end has been worth it. I really need to get that sand and see what happens.
post #10 of 23
Water= NO
Playbox Sand=YES
post #11 of 23
PLease Flash speak clearly. I am not sure what you meant there icon_mrgreen.gif
post #12 of 23
Another thing, as Rich mentioned earlier, how are you measuring the temperature? I don't have one of these smokers, but as a blanket statement, stock temp gages suck eggs. Pop a 15 dollar elcheapo digital from Lowes in there and see what it reads.

If that's not it, shielding it from the ambient air movement with a blanket or cardboard box should do the trick. Also, if you can't get the fire stoked high enough, stick a small fan infront of the intake. You'll have ash issues, but I gar-own-tee low heat will not be a problem.
post #13 of 23
what they say...........also........WIND BREAK......i can't stress that enuff.........wind steals heat..........

i just smoked this weekend, ambient temps of 1 degree.........and i did a butt, and had temps climb in the 270's before i got a handle on it ......i am using a ecb gourmet and trust me........it has just as thin as metal as you have..........
post #14 of 23
What he said and I live in Colorado. Flash was the one that got me started on it.
post #15 of 23
Is this just in cold weather or do you suggest it all the time? Please, no beating around the bush icon_wink.gif , LOL!

I haven't had a heat loss problem yet my self. Just curious,
Mark A.
post #16 of 23
i have tried using river stones instead of sand......thought it would be the same, but i had problems with the cook and the heat

so i use water year round...........if you are cold smoking bacon or cheese.....set the pan of water out........let it freeze, and it will help keep temps down even more

post #17 of 23
Or you can spend an afternoon, and make one of these

post #18 of 23


Cool, nice job! Is there room for a couple of chairs in there? Who's your electrician:-)

That is a perfect example of what this is all about! Passion for BBQ!!!!
post #19 of 23
heck.........cut a hole in the side, mount a ac unit.........and SMOKE HEAVEN 365 days a year
post #20 of 23
Naw, Momma wants that contraption taken down by the time the pool gets opened in May! Hopefully by next Fall, I'll have to make it larger for a bigger offset. I would like to get a 20x40-or 42 ,1/4 " thick walls, a little more deluxe than the ole stinky! Gonna hafta set out a collection jar for the sunday nascar smokes this summer!PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
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