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Winter Smoking Help

norzel89

Newbie
27
10
Joined Nov 29, 2016
Good Morning Everyone,

I am not sure if this is the right section to post in but here goes.....

I recently attempted to smoke Pork shoulder for my Daughters 2nd birthday and I was expecting about 40 people. I own a Smoke Hollow Vertical propane smoker. My plan was roughly 1 hr per pound at 275 degrees. I have 5 chunks of pork shoulder all at about 8-10 pounds each.  

Doing the math plus giving myself 1 hour to rest, 30 minutes to shred it for pulled pork sandwhiches and an hour leeway time to make sure it was done on time or early.... I def didn't want to be finishing up dinner too late into the evening. I figured I had to get the pork into the smoker about 12-13 hours prior to when I wanted dinner done. so now here is the issue I ran into.....

I had to start the meat at 3:00 A.M. and the date was November 12th in southeast Michigan, which happened to be the first decently cold day.

at 2:00 AM I fired  up the smoker to get it up to temp and pulled the pork out to get to room temp. the outside temp was rough 30 degrees.

at 2:30 AM my smoker was only at 100 degrees so I closed all the dampeners and cranked up the temp on the smoker.

at 3:00 AM the outside temp was 33 degrees, and my smoker was at 175 degrees. I threw the meat in thinking it can start to smoke while I work on trying to get the temp up because I didn't want to be late.

at 4:00 AM the outside temp was still 33, and my smoker dropped to 150 degrees.

I spent the next 3 hours opening and closing the dampeners and trying different thermometers thinking something was wrong with the thermometers and everything kept reading the same right around 150 degrees.  during this 3 hour stretch I was panicking and I was thinking I would have to bail on the entire thing and get pizza and subs.

7:00 AM the sun was starting to rise, the outside temp climbed to about 37 degrees, my smoker climbed to about 160 degrees.

9:00 AM the outside temp was about 43 degrees, my smoker was up to about 175 degrees. I finally decided to pull the plug, I fired up the oven, got the oven up to 300 degrees, threw all the pork into the oven till about 3:00 P.M. by this time the meat was up to the standard temp and turned out juicy and everyone loved it but during the oven process I spilled some juices and filled the entire house up with smoke so I would like to avoid using the oven in the future.

some other details you need to know. I do NOT own a garage, the smoker was in the back of the house, and it was not windy just chilly. My smoker is not insulated.

I do not want to think that I have to shut down my smoker during the winter months and in Michigan that can be several months. what are some tips, suggestions, advice you guys got for me to be able to smoke during the cold months that wont be a fire hazard. Thanks in advanced for anyone that can help me.
 
Last edited:

sqwib

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,963
1,022
Joined Sep 25, 2007
Are you using the thermo on the unit?

Check/Calibrate your thermos.

If its not your thermo.

Sounds like its a burner or regulator problem, however that smoker should work fine on a cold day. Wind is what robs the heat.

Check your flame, does it burn blue. If its yellow, there may be other issues going on.

I have a Big Block GOSM that I use.

Here is a write up on that smoker that may help you, its a Blog Post and hopefully the Mods will allow it.

GOSM Big Block Notes

Also, pictures of your burner in action will help
 

sqwib

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,963
1,022
Joined Sep 25, 2007
Burner looks good. Have you tried your "Air in vent" half closed?
Try that and take s thermo reading, then close it all the way and take another reading. Give it about 15 minutes between each adjustment and reading
 
Last edited:

sqwib

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,963
1,022
Joined Sep 25, 2007
The burner does look a tad small but it seems like other Smoke Hollow owners are not having this issue. Google your smoker and see what others are saying/doing.
 

norzel89

Newbie
27
10
Joined Nov 29, 2016
I tried changing the Ait in and the Air out vents, all different combinations during my 3-4 hours of panik that day. Unfortunetely i did not record the changes and what not. but none of my combinations seemed to change but a few degrees.
 

sqwib

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,963
1,022
Joined Sep 25, 2007
This is going to drive me crazy!

Which model do you have?

is this new or old?

have you used this before without problem?

Was it windy the day you had problems with the heat?

Was the propane tank full? Try resetting your propane tank, undo connection wait 5 minutes, reattach connection and open propane tank slowly 1/4 turn then fire up the smoker.

Are there air mixture adjusters located at the end of the burner tubes?
 
 

norzel89

Newbie
27
10
Joined Nov 29, 2016
Hey.

It has been driving me crazy also. I plan on doing a dry run soon. Just been busy with the holidays.

I got this smoker brand new for Father's Day 2016. So I have only tried it once in cold temps.

There was no wind really. I do it on my back porch which is partially blocked by my house.

Yes that is my manual. The Smoke Hollow 30164G gas smoker. I, really at a lost right now.
 

drewed

Meat Mopper
238
27
Joined Apr 10, 2015
It almost sounds like wind was stealing your heat.  Coming in the bottom and blowing out the top.  You could try and make a wind block by wrapping foil between the legs?
 

norzel89

Newbie
27
10
Joined Nov 29, 2016
Thank you. I will have to look into that. Luckily I have access to a sheet metal fab shop so I think I will try to get them to fab up some metal for me if that turns out to be the case. I haven't attempted a redo in cold weather yet to determine if it was a burner/regulator thing.
 

norzel89

Newbie
27
10
Joined Nov 29, 2016
Okay guys. I am smoking in the morning. The high is 34 degrees. I get to test it out and I have a fire blanket on hand to help. Doing an 8 pound pork shoulder.
 

norzel89

Newbie
27
10
Joined Nov 29, 2016
Thank you everyone for all the suggestions and tips. I believe it was just an issue with the propane supply cuz it was a chilly 32 degrees the next time I smoked and it had no issues holding the temps where I wanted them. I did use a fire blanket as a skirt do to high winds but everything went perfect. thanks again guys.
 

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