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Insulating a Propane Smoker

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by tt ace, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    This is my first post so hope I get this right!

    I bought a Masterbuilt 30" Vertical Propane smoker recently.  It works great but it is not insulated.  Outside temperatures and wind definitely make the cooking temperature flucuate.  I looked online and others said to wrap insulation blankets around the smoker and either the blanket would hold itself or use velcro to hold the blanket closed.  Here is what I did to solve the problem.

    I went to the local hardware store and bought 6' of 48 " insulation that has aluminum foil on both sides.  I lined up the bottom of the insulation with the top of the bottom base and just ouside the latch.  I marked where the side handle was and cut a slit  and pushed the handle through.


    I then wrapped the insulation around the smoker to the handle on the other side, marked, cut a slit, and pushed the handle through.


    I continued to wrap around to the door handle, marked, cut another slit, and pushed the handle through.


    I continued wrapping until I got to the first handle again, marked, cut a slit and pushed the handle through.  This will keep the insulation from unwrapping or blowing open.  You can open the door easily by pulling this part of the insulation blanket away from the handle.


    I cut up from all four corners so I could lay insulation on top of the smoker.  The piece over the door I cut off completely and laid it on top of the smoker.  I then folded all the other pieces down as far as the stack and doubled them under.  I then applied a generous amount of tape to hold the top pieces in place.


    I now had a completely insulated smoker which only took a few minutes to complete. 


    As an added bonus, by doing it this way my cover also fit (tight but very nice).


    Used the smoker yesterday to smoke almonds at 325 and today for canadian bacon  at 210-215 at outside temperatures in the low 20s with swirling winds.  What a difference!  The smoker temperature held extremely well and made for a great smoke.  This insulation will work in both cold and hot weather.  Hope others will find this of help.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
    gridflash likes this.
  2. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That's awesome Ace!

    I have a smoke vault & there are times that I wish it were more insulated.

    Course I live in Florida so I really don't need the insulation as much as the Northern guys, but I bet they will pick up on this!
  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now you should be able to smoke in a blinding blissard with that covering on it. Where are you that you need that much insulation Alaska or something.
  4. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Thanks.  I am smoking turkey legs for dinner tonight.  A really cold wind has come up but the temperature is holding extremely well.  Should make for a great supper!  I will post the turkey results tomorrow as well as the Canadian Bacon.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  5. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Our temperature gets down below zero at times.  The actual insulation is only about 1/8 inch thick.  Without it I wouldn't be able to smoke very well and then what would I do?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  6. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I live in northern New Mexico at 8000 feet elevation. We already have snow on the ground and skiing begins just five miles down the road in a week and a half.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  7. I have a very similar MasterBuilt (propane, double door, vented out the back).  Only been smoking with it a few weeks but when my temps get above 100 it goes so slow before hitting 165 or so.  I have had venison hind quarter bone in on it now for about 6 hrs at a box temp of about 270 and I am just at 152F.  Is this normal?  I have checked my temp gauge on the box and it is very close.  Also, the meat is at the same level in the box as the temerature gauge.

    I was wondering if you thought the insulation would help with this?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  8. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    The slow rise in temperature is normal especially for a big hunk of meat like the venison.  On the large pieces of meat such as your venison, briskets, pork butts, etc., you will invariably hit a stage where it seems like the meat temperature will just not go up.  This is normal.  This is the point where the muscles and such begin breaking down.  Sometimes the breakdown happens fairly quickly.  At other times it seems like it takes forever.  Just be patient.  By the way I hope you enjoy the smoked venison.  I did some just a short while ago and it was superb!

    The insulation will help you maintain your smoker temperatures much better, especially in the wind.  I found that I had to really watch my smoker temperature when the outside temperature flucuated.  More consistent temps means better and easier smoking.  I do find that having the insulation helps the smoker come to temperature easily and quickly.  As far as the meat temperature that depends on such factors as how consistent you can keep your cooking temp, the kind of meat and the size of the cut.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  9. Can you tell me which hardware store you got the insalation blanket I have a MasterBuilt and cannot locate the blanket.

  10. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I got my insulation at an Ace hardware store.  You need to go back to the plumbing area.  The insulation is stored on a roll and they will cut off the amount you need.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  11. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    Ace, NICE job, I like it.  Good effort, might have to try that and call it my own.  Some people have mentioned a welder's blanket too.

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  12. Thanks for the information I will visit ace tonight I am in Dallas and it gets a little cold here but the wind is very bad.
  13. timosh

    timosh Newbie

    TT Ace, thanks for the pics and explanation. 

    I'm trying to do my first smoke with a new Master Forge two door,and the outdoor temp is only 41 degrees.  I keep thinking how I could insulate the box for when it gets REALLY cold.  Your idea is just what I need. 


  14. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Frosty, I thought about a welders blanket but this proved to be much easier to work with.  Also it only cost about $4 a foot which came to about $24 for the entire blanket.  Also by being able to cut the slits easily, I was able to put my cover back over the smoker.  Go ahead and do it and claim it as your own!  I don't mind!  Dallasbones, it is an excellent windbreak as I have found out.  Timosh, it should help you at any time whether is is really cold, really hot, or anywhere in between.  It has really made smoking available at any time since I did it a couple of weeks ago.  We have received temp in the very low 20s and winds gusting to 30+.  The smoker has really held temps well through all the conditions.  Also you can cut the portion that fold over the door where you can open either the top or bottom door.  Have fun and good smoking to all of you! 
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  15. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    do you find that you are using less gas?
  16. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Yes.  I am definitely using less gas. 
  17. tom c

    tom c Smoking Fanatic

    Great work
  18. hernando

    hernando Smoke Blower

    Going to try this. Just as a cautionary advisory; I contacted reflectix and their product is rated for 180F with direct contact to the heat source and up to 250F with 1" of airspace between the heat source. Any temps above these, the Polyethylene will start to go soft.   Did you notice any diformity or the lie when you smoked the nuts you did at 350F?
  19. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    There have been no problems with the insulation at all.  The insulation is holding up well.  This has worked really well for me.  Happy smoking!  [​IMG]
  20. Sorry for the thread necro, but I'm really curious as to how this is holding up.  If I'm reading the thread dates correctly, it looks like you've been using this for over a year.  Have you had any problems or needed to make any modifications?