How cold can it be outdoors and still smoke effectively?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by up musky hunter, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. My wife wants me to try and smoke the Thanksgiving bird this year. The forecast "HIGH" is 33 degrees at around mid-day. I would expect most of the day to be 28-34 degrees.

    I have a 18.5 inch WSM. Is that simply too cold to effectively use the smoker? I have thought about removing the water pan and smoking on the lower rack, but would hate to wreck the bird. I may get a different "bird" from my wife if that happens!! LOL!.

    Any thoughts, tricks or experience would be helpful. I have had the smoker for less than a year and really enjoy it.

  2. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Ask the pros but I think a WSM will be tough.  Will probably also chew through a lot of fuel.  Could you insulate it?  I've seen quite a few cool mods with fire resistant insulation etc. 
  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If you can block the wind and its not raining or snowing,you should be okay.I hear some people wrap the smoker with a wielding blanket

  4. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I smoke all winter long on my WSM here in central Alberta. As tropics mentioned, a welding blanket works wonders.

    You'll still burn some extra fuel, just make sure you have an extra bag on hand for longer smokes.

    Been smoking a butt since last night where we had temps of -8C. On hour 13 and still haven't had to add fuel.

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
    up musky hunter likes this.
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use my WSM all winter long in Oregon. I do have a small covered back porch but it can still get cold and windy - coldest day I ran it on was a high of about 23 °F with 10-15 mph winds. Really it is more the wind than the temperature that gets you - a cold calm day does not have nearly as much effect as a cold windy day.

    I use a welding blanket and still put water in my pan. On a full 20 lb. load of charcoal I can still hold 250° for 18+ hrs.

    up musky hunter likes this.
  6. Great info - Thanks. Do either of you have any issues with air flow when the blanket is wrapped that tight? Do you leave the vents open wider with restricted access to air?

    Thanks again.
  7. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

  8. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

  9. dukeburger

    dukeburger Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I keep mine fairly loose on the bottom. If anything I keep my vents shut a little more as the blanket adds some insulation.
  10. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

  11. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use my WSM all year. Luckily I can't fit cars in our garage so the smoker sits just inside the overhead door and I shut the door most of the way and the smoke lofts out the top!
  12. Looks like you have plenty of wsm people telling you that it can be done. One thing I would add is if you don't want the moisture from the water plan fill it with sand (playground sand from Hone Depot etc should be sterile). It will act as a heat sink to keep temps stable. Water will to, but in a cold environment you will need to keep an eye on the level and refill (with hot water) as needed.

    This isn't wsm specific but works with most smokers.
  13. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    Cold is no problem. The wind is. I use mine at very cold temps when no wind with no blanket. No issues keeping temp. I put some fire bricks in water pan and foil over it whether cold or hot out. It does run a bit hot with this method in the summer with just one vent about a quarter open.
  14. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nope.... the vents are far enough down around the bottom of the bowl and you don't need a tight wrap on it. Basically your just creating wind break, that happens to add some extra insulation. If it's just a bit breezy I sometimes don't even bother covering the dome - just the main body.
  15. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    The other thing I do is face the the access door away from the wind as well as the exhaust. I have never blanketed either of my wsm's honestly. I'm not sure I have ever smoked in sub zero but teens and twenties and never had any problems. I'm in Ohio. I do shy away from smoking when it's cold and windy though.
  16. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Build a Q-Q-Bana , see my profile at my Bana build ...
    I can smoke year round in relitive comfort [VIDEO]:biggrin:[/VIDEO]

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