Does Outdoor Temp Affect Smoker?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by alphabandaid, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. alphabandaid

    alphabandaid Newbie

    Couldn't get meat temp above 165 after 6 hours with temp set at 225. Have an independent temp gauge I hang on rack which was consistent with set unit temp of 225. 

    The outtdoor temp where unit was around 40 degrees. 

  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It can. What type of meat are you cooking? How much does said mystery meat weigh? What internal temp are you shooting for? Need more information to help you.

    A 9 pound pork butt cooking at 225 is different than a 5 pound butt, or a chicken, or a chuck roast.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  3. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    Sure it does. You could use some type covering to help. Personally, when needed, I use a quilted moving blanket. Some use a hot water heater blanket.
  4. phatbac

    phatbac Master of the Pit

    out door temp affects the cooker depending on what kind of cooker and could cause more fuel consumption to hold temps. What kind of meat were you cooking that got to 165 degrees in 6 hours? if it was brisket that doesn't sound outside the norm if it was chicken i would be concerned.

    what kind of meat?

    what kind of cooker? 

    Happy Smoking,

    phatbac (Aaron)
  5. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    As the other guys have already said, weather conditions certainly affect your my experience even more so if your cooker isn't insulated, or is made of thinner material, or isn't very air tight to start with.  And to me, wind is usually even a bigger factor than ambient temperature. 

  6. alphabandaid

    alphabandaid Newbie

  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Okay. A pirk butt even a small pork butt can take time, especially at 225. The 1 1/2-2 rule is just a guideline. Every piece of meat Cooke differently.

    Couple things I'd suggest. Test your other pit therm and your meat probe. Maybe they are off.

    You can get false readings in meat if your probe is against the home or in a fat pocket.
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What Case said.

    If your pit temp is correct as stated, your unit is overcoming any problems with the ambient temps.  You can certainly expect to use more fuel to maintain temp in low ambient temps especially if wind is involved, but wind adds another whole set of variables.

    Assuming you had a consistent 225 (a bit low for butts in my opinion) you have other factors to consider. One of those might be that your piece of meat had its on mind, as many do?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  9. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Not if you're heavily drinking! [​IMG]

    Looks like the guys have you covered.
  10. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As others have said, ambient temp will affect your smoker's ability to hit target temp and would affect the amount of fuel burned during a cook.  

    I've never seen a 3lb full butt in my life, so I'd wager that what you had was a split/partial butt.   Cook time for butts (and any other meat) isn't actually determined by the weight, but rather, the thickness of the piece of meat (at it's shortest dimension).    Say that you have a butt that is 12 inches long, 8 inches across and 5 inches thick.   If you chop 4 inches off the length, the resulting butt would be 8 inches long, 8 inches across and still 5 inches thick.  While the original butt might have been 8lbs and the partial butt only 5lbs, the cook time for both butts would be the same as both are 5 inches at the shortest side.

    A way to visualize it is to picture cooking a foot long hotdog that is 1 inch thick.  Cutting 6 inches off the end of it won't affect the cook time even though you've cut the overall weight in half.
  11. alphabandaid

    alphabandaid Newbie

    I was using time and temp method of cooking with 225 as recommended in book that came with the unit. that was my second smoking attempt. the first was a pheasant breast using the meat probe programmed to internal temp of 165. I noticed that the unit/cabinet temp was around 275 most of the smoking. It turned out fairly good. Maybe using the probe programmed would be better way to smoke larger pieces? The probe seems to be about 11 degrees higher than the actual meat temp, so I will use that as a baseline next time. the independent thermometer iI use for for cabinet temp appears to be fairly accurate. 

    That said, what type of bluetooth temp thermometer gives value for accuracy?

    Thanks and happy easter!
  12. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As has been mentioned before the cold outside temperature will certainly affect the IT of the smoker. The temperature control is all about achieving a balance between the heat you are putting in from the wood/charcoal and the heat you are losing through the body of the smoker and up the flue. If your smoker is made of thin steel sheet this will be more of a problem than if it s made of 1/4 inch plate as the smoke chamber will lose its heat much quicker. Add a strong wind (or even a gentle breeze) and the problem is even worse. 

    A couple of things to try. Make sure that the smoker is in a sheltered spot out of any wind and (as has been mentioned above) use something like a welding blanket or Rockwool insulation  draped over the body of the smoker to provide some insulation.
  13. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Our posts crossed I think. It looks as if your chamber temperature was OK
  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Outside temps affect the Smoker temp only and how much fuel you will burn. If the smoker interior is holding a steady 225, it don't matter if it is 110“F and Sunny or -50° and a Blizzard, the meat will cook the same...JJ
  15. alphabandaid

    alphabandaid Newbie

    Im not clear if I stipulated IM using an electric smokers. Appreciate all the input all. 
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Agree with Demo.

    Also on your temps:

    Make sure the therm or sensor that is measuring your meat is close to the meat in question (about 3" from it).

    Ambient temp won't effect a well insulated smoker very much, but wind will if you don't have the wind blocked in some way.


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