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has anyone tried smoking in winter?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by indianaman79, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. indianaman79

    indianaman79 Newbie

    i am looking to do a brisket tomorrow and its projected to be 25 degrees with a 9mh wind - should i attempt or skip?  i've done it while its sleeting in 35 degrees but never tried this low of a temp before.
  2. grizsmoker

    grizsmoker Fire Starter

    What type of smoker do you have?

    I use a MES 30 and I live in Montana. I smoked some baby backs last weekend and the temp was 6 degrees when i started my smoker. In my case the only effect I saw regarding the outside temp was the length of time the smoker took to heat up.

    The wind is a much bigger deal the the temp. You might need to use some type of wind block if you are having an issue.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  3. indianaman79

    indianaman79 Newbie

    sorry - its a modified low end charcoal smoker
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  4. grizsmoker

    grizsmoker Fire Starter

    I am not real familiar with charcoal units, but I would guess it is not insulated and you might have an issue with holding a constant temp.

    I am sure there are plenty of expert charcoal user on here that will be able to help you out.
  5. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    +1 what Grizz said

    Wind is always the biggest killer.  Anything you can put in the path of the wind to deflect it a bit will help you.  I have a couple of high back chairs from my patio set sitting in the path of the wind, and it easily makes a 20 to 30 degree difference in my smoker temps.

    That being said, I've smoked a prime rib roast on Christmas, and am smoking a turkey tomorrow.  It just requires close attention.

    Best of luck!
  6. Agree on the wind statements. I was thinking about smoking my birds today, but with a 20 mph wind blowing, I think waking up at 3 am will be much less frustrating. lol

    My practice turkey wound up finishing in the oven due to the wind swirling, making smoke/temp management impossible. 

    The lower the temperature, the more fuel will be required to maintain a given temperature. Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!
  7. scootermagoo

    scootermagoo Smoking Fanatic

    The plan is to smoke 2 turkeys tomorrow morning.  I will be getting up at 5am to start "Reefer Madness" and run it up to 325°.  The forecast is lower 20s with a 10mph wind and snow....1 to 2 inches.  These exact conditions are the reason I built an automated, insulated pellet burner.  As Ron Popeil  says: "Set it and forget it".

    Anyways, I would suggest everything the other guys are saying, create a wind block to minimize heat losses.  Also, depending on your type of pit, insulate it somehow.  I have a Chargrill Pro w/SFB.  I threw blankets over the cook chamber and was able to BBQ in low ambient temps.  I smoked 4 butts last year for the fire dept in January (I'm in Wisconsin.............yeah, effing cold!).  Stiff wind and lower teens for temps.  I used a "L" shaped wind block made from 4x8 sheets of plywood to shield the pit from the brisk wind and blankets over the cook chamber and I did OK.  Lots of charcoal was used that night.............and I was up every 2 hours to reload with pre-lit charcoal.  Those days are gone, thank God, now that I have the reefer.

    Good luck!
  8. I smoke in winter all the time. Of course, by lowest of lows is in the low 30's. T-day forecast is a low of 45 and high of 65!! :biggrin:
  9. I started mine this morning in the low 20's and everything has been good. I do have a tarp acting as a wind block until I can come up with a more permanent strategy.

    I was thinking an 8x8 canopy tent with sides. Thoughts?
  10. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Ryan, I wouldn't recommend enclosing the smoker.  Carbon monoxide is nothing to mess with.  However, if you're able to vent it (like the old military canvas tents), you might be able to get away with it.
  11. I was thinking more of only having two sides on rather than all four. Where the smoker sits, it's usually on susceptible to wind from one direction.
  12. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I wish I had pictures of my old Meco charcoal smoker and the contraptions I used to enclose it! I smoked my first turkey in it in 17°f  weather with 25 mph winds a decade and a half ago. I basically built a box out of 4" rigid foil backed insulation. Left a 2" gap at the top and bottom on one side so it would still draw air. I left that side as a door that i could remove to access the smoker. The rest I duct taped together. Situated the door side away from the wind. Man that was one stressful smoke, but the turkey turned out great.

    I smoke year round and always have. I have to say that the two best charcoal smokers I have used in the winter are my Mini-WSM and My UDS. They just chug along with minimal temp fluctuations and not much having to fuss with adjustments. Even in the wind, cold, rain and snow! 
  13. I don't know charcoal, but now I know wind. I have a Bradley electric, vertical. Smoked a small brisket and small shoulder yesterday,
  14. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep I smoke year round when I have the time. As the others have stated wind is your worst heat sucker. Don't laugh but my wind break is 4 sections of insulated duct work. Dont look the best but it works. 
  15. link

    link Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I did two turkeys today using an offset with charcoal and wood and it was 28° but not too windy. They came out great, took about 5 hours. 

    I say smoke the brisket just monitor your temps and maybe once you get plenty of smoke finish it in the oven if it is too cold (I have had to do that before because it was snowing).
  16. smoked 15lb. fresh ham and 14.5lb turkey today started lang60 at 5:00am temp. was 17deg cooked at 325deg. pulled around 10:30am. ham was 165deg. internal turkey was wayhot 180deg. turkey heated up while i was makeing glaze used wool blanket (got at army surplus store for 5$) to cover cook chamber till smoker came up to temp know i`am looking for good home for turkey fryer i can see no reason to own one[​IMG]
  17. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Temps have ranged from 35 to 17 degrees over the past 8 days and windy and in that time I've smoked 24 racks of BBs, 9 briskets, 4 Boston Butts 4 Sirloin tips and 6 1/2 pans of Dutch's Wicked Beans.

    Whether someone else should smoke in cold weather really depends on whether their particular smoker can reach and maintain the proper chamber temps in that weather.   As I have a dual burner gasser, I just crank the knobs up a bit more and it's no problem.   With a charcoal smoker or stick burner, just add more fuel.  Insulating your smoker and creating a wind break will help as well.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  18. flyin'illini

    flyin'illini Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    What they said in wind and using windbreaks!

    I started with an ECB electric in a colder climate (Detroit area) and found I needed to wrap the smoker as well have a wind break as the electric did not have enough power below 25-30. I started with a piece of carpet - not good - got a cheap weld blanket instead.

    Once I went to a UDS or my current vertical - I keep them out of the wind and I am good.

    Let us know how it goes.
  19. I've smoked on my WSM when it was down in the single digits.

    I hang a welding blanket from the bottom of my second story deck and use a 4' v-shaped plywood barrier to block winds. It works great.