Should I cover an offset smoker? How do I protect it? Do I need to?

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Snoochers

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Mar 5, 2020
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I'm getting a custom offset smoker this month. It will have a 24x48" cook chamber and roughly a 24" diameter firebox. The whole smoker is in 3/8" steel and painted in high temp black spraypaint I think.

Covering it seems like a big hassle since I will need to get a very large cover and putting it on and taking off will be annoying. I'm hoping to just leave it outside but I'm worried what might happen. Rust seems inevitable but seems to me that the 3/8" material won't be too bothered? Is there some kind of exterior treatment I can put on on top of the paint?

Any guidance would be much appreciated.
 

Snoochers

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Mar 5, 2020
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Its alway good to cover anything up to the elements. You should definatley cover it with a tarp.

Boykjo
This makes sense to me but several people on here don't cover theirs and some other folks have mentioned mold issues under covers as well so I'm a bit torn. On top of that there's also the fact that many offset smokers are exposed to the elements for decades all over the south no?
 

boykjo

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Unfortunatlety your going to have mold while the smoker is stored and not used. After use I always clean the smoker and try to keep the mold to a minimum. I use a scraper to scrape any solidified liquids that fell, then use a steel brush to clean the grates then drape a tarp over it. Do a high preheat and brush scrub before the next cook and your good to go.

My 2 cents
 
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3montes

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Dec 26, 2007
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Personal preference I guess. I’m fortunate if it’s at home it’s in the garage. If it’s up at the lake property it’s under a outdoor kitchen shelter then in the winter it’s stored in the pole barn at the lake.

I use a WSM at home in the winter. If it had to sit outside in the elements I think I’d find a way to cover or shelter it. A lot depends on your climate!

I had mine parked outside my garage at my in town house a few years ago. I had just cooked on it and the fire box was still hot so I couldn’t put it inside and we had to deliver food to a gathering. While we were gone some drunk kid slammed his car into it. My smoker totaled the car and the smoker had some minor damage a fab guy easily fixed. That’s another whole story I’ll post about sometime!
 

Snoochers

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Mar 5, 2020
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Personal preference I guess. I’m fortunate if it’s at home it’s in the garage. If it’s up at the lake property it’s under a outdoor kitchen shelter then in the winter it’s stored in the pole barn at the lake.

I use a WSM at home in the winter. If it had to sit outside in the elements I think I’d find a way to cover or shelter it. A lot depends on your climate!

I had mine parked outside my garage at my in town house a few years ago. I had just cooked on it and the fire box was still hot so I couldn’t put it inside and we had to deliver food to a gathering. While we were gone some drunk kid slammed his car into it. My smoker totaled the car and the smoker had some minor damage a fab guy easily fixed. That’s another whole story I’ll post about sometime!
Thanks for the thoughts! This unit will weigh about 1000lbs or the like so rolling it around to store it won't be too practical...
 

radioguy

Master of the Pit
Jan 12, 2013
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Columbus, Ohio
You can look online for a fitted cover or check local Amish, boat cover folks for a custom fit. I keep mine out on a covered porch, the smoker is not covered at all.

RG
 

hoity toit

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I'm getting a custom offset smoker this month. It will have a 24x48" cook chamber and roughly a 24" diameter firebox. The whole smoker is in 3/8" steel and painted in high temp black spraypaint I think.

Covering it seems like a big hassle since I will need to get a very large cover and putting it on and taking off will be annoying. I'm hoping to just leave it outside but I'm worried what might happen. Rust seems inevitable but seems to me that the 3/8" material won't be too bothered? Is there some kind of exterior treatment I can put on on top of the paint?

Any guidance would be much appreciated.
I spray mine withcooking oil (PAM) or olive oil and leave it uncovered. No rust.
 

bill1

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Apr 25, 2015
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Your best bet is always to bring it inside a garage or covered patio. But if that's not an option, I don't think your thinking is on the wrong track. If you have a <$200 imported offset, yes I'd recommend covering it. But if you have one made out of 1/8" thick steel, a rust death is going to be decades away. Now if you have grates inside that you want to avoid rusting at all, just because you don't want to put your meat on red iron oxide, then I'd recommend coating those with cooking oil before closing up. These PAM-like spray-on oils make that an easy task. Or maybe just hang the grates on a nail in a nearby shed.
 

62veedub

Fire Starter
Oct 29, 2019
36
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Sun City, AZ
I just received my LSG 24 x 48 offset and I ordered the cover for it. Theirs is made by Sunbrella and come with a warranty.

Like radioguy said, you could try a boat shop for a nice custom cover.

A cover will be a lot easier to take on and off than a tarp…I currently have mine covered with a tarp, waiting for my cover to arrive!
 

JckDanls 07

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On top of that there's also the fact that many offset smokers are exposed to the elements for decades all over the south no?
And I guarantee they look like crap...

It depends on how you want your investment to look after a couple of years... Left out in the elements uncovered is gonna look like shit... The latches/handles/hinges are gonna rust and get harder and harder to open/close ...

As for cleaning mold... I preheat mine with 5 or 6 splits all at once.. let it get up to 350 or more... When splits burn down to coals I will spray the inside of the cook chamber with the water hose... This steam cleans the whole inside but also brings temps back down to cooking temps... scrub the grates... throw a split on.. start cooking...
 

chp

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Sep 30, 2020
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Colorado
I'm getting a custom offset smoker this month. It will have a 24x48" cook chamber and roughly a 24" diameter firebox. The whole smoker is in 3/8" steel and painted in high temp black spraypaint I think.

Covering it seems like a big hassle since I will need to get a very large cover and putting it on and taking off will be annoying. I'm hoping to just leave it outside but I'm worried what might happen. Rust seems inevitable but seems to me that the 3/8" material won't be too bothered? Is there some kind of exterior treatment I can put on on top of the paint?

Any guidance would be much appreciated.
I keep mine clean and wipe it down with oil to stay ahead of any rust. We live in a dry climate (Colorado), so no issues with mold. I think of it similar to cast iron. I suppose it’s also fine to start fires in different locations of the smoker to ‘season’ certain areas, but I have only done that after restoring older smokers. Mine also sits under a deck, so it is protected from the elements a bit.
 

GonnaSmoke

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Sep 19, 2018
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I had a 12x12 pop-up canopy that got destroyed in a storm when I left it up. The frame was a mangled wreck, but the canopy was good. I use the canopy to cover my large offset, a 52" TMG Pits Copperhead. The canopy covers maybe 90%-95% of the pit and I wrap a rope around it to hold it in place. Basically only the tires are somewhat exposed.

I never cover my pit without cleaning it out. I will wire brush the grates while still hot and use a plastic scraper the next day to clean out all the hard crusty stuff from the reverse flow plates and wipe out the bottom with paper towels. Never, ever leave ashes in the fire box for any extended period of time. I remove them once cooled...
 

forktender

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A cheap harbor freight pressure washer is a great investment. Buy the warranty I've had two, die, and they replaced them no questions asked. Pressure wash the inside really well, re-season, wipe down the inside and outside of the whole rig with food grade mineral oil while the unit is still warm. And you will be good to go for many yrs!!!