How does the Char-Griller Smokin Pro work in the winter?

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Nov 24, 2009
Waukesha, WI
I am going through all the options on which smoker to buy/build. I was at Menards last night looking for 22" grates for a UDS build (still unsure about this as I'm having trouble getting a barrel) and I saw the Char-Griller Smokin Pro for like $180 with the firebox. I am wondering how this smoker does in 20-40 degree weather since I will be smoking in this temp range a couple months out of the year. I am also looking at a MES which is insulated and helps keep temps up in the cold. Ideally I would like the UDS cause I hear it can hold 225 @ 20 degrees for 16 hours or so. If I went with the Char-Griller I plan on modding it to reverse flow.
winter was the reason I stopped using my chargriller w/ sfb. even when modified it was tough to keep temps steady without sitting on the deck babysitting it(not gonna do that in the upper midwest).

Id go charcoal(WSM holds temps in those freezing temps and even colder. I have done succesfull smokes in below zero temps with the WSM and held a steady 230 for 9+ hours on one load of fuel), or even gas before going electric.

good luck.
I bet there are those who use them in the winter with success, I just didnt have much success myself.

It did turn out good bbq in the summer when I was more inclined to sit next to it listening to a baseball game and drinking a beer all afternoon.
Do you use your CG in the summer more? Are you happy with the MES and the Q it produces? Do you have a smoke daddy or smoke generator on your MES?
That is the key. Doesn't really matter how cold it is if the wind ain't blowing, the CG works fine.

But once the wind kicks in, things change. I solve it in part by putting up a windscreen.
Its 34 degrees outside today, I'm doing a run now and the chamber is sitting comfortably at 223. There is 3mph breeze.
I've had no luck with this on my CG w/ SFB on cold days which is why I bought my MES this winter. Have done Ribs and Chicken with temps -10 on the MES this winter and am happy enough with results. No it's not charcoal, but it's still pretty good. Haven't gone through all the mods yet, but you will likely end up with a fire in the main cooking chamber and depending on size of smoke direct heat just to keep temps. Good Luck.
I used the CG more the first summer I had the MES, but lately it's about 50/50. I love the CG, but if I'm going to do a long smoke like a huge butt - the MES is just easier - especially since I have a 3 year old and a 4 year old.

Overall I am very satisfied with the quality of q the MES turns out and no I don't have any smoke generator of smoke daddy on it. The only thing I am a little unhappy with is the lack of a smoke ring on the MES. I know it doesn't do anything other than look pretty, but I like seeing it.
I usually throw a blanket or rug over the smoking chamber which helps alot.

Additionally, for windy days, I place a 1-fot section of rigid dryer vent over the outside stack (have to snip a small slit to fit over) and then bend away from the wind, which seems to help prevent backdraft.
I have a Char Griller Pro and out of the box it is tricky to maintain temps in the winter, but after a couple mods such as the dryer vent trick, it is much easier to keep the temp up.

I'm smoking a couple racks of ribs right now and it is actually hard for me to keep the temp down low enough! It's 30 degrees out right now, snow everywhere, and the temp keeps creeping up past 300 when I'm trying to keep it 225-250. So yeah, it's keeping the temp fine. When it's around 0 degrees out it just takes a little bit more fuel.

I also have a Cabelas 7-in-1 upright propane smoker and that thing is nearly impossible to keep the temps steady in the winter or even with the slightest bit of wind in the summer. Just FYI.
Very true. The CSP is worthless without at least to mods; the dryer vent, and turning the charcoal tray upside down and sliding it over to the right.

WITH the mods done, it is well worth its cost and a great unit for someone whose budget falls between the $69 upright and a multi-thousand quality rig. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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