7 Practical Cold Weather Smoking Tips

Jason Webster
Written by
Last update:

1) Different types of smoker performs differently in extreme conditions

Not matter what type of smoker you have, you want to find a way to be sure that you maintain a standard temperature regardless of the weather (and other surroundings) in the middle of winter.

If your smoker has a door, don’t close it all the way down during cold-weather cooking. This will help to support the temperature in the inside.

If you have a pit, keep it covered during the winter. This helps to maintain the heat in the cold weather.

2) Create your own smoker insulation

If you don't have a commercial unit, you have to take some extra precautions to make sure the cold weather doesn't affect the cooking process. A good option is to buy a premade insulated bag for your smoker. The best option is a smoker box or smoker pouch.

If you don't want to spend extra money on a bag, you can also make your own. You can use furniture blankets, an old blanket, a sleeping bag or even a tarp draped around the smoker to create a barrier between the smoker and the cold.

Just make sure you test your insulation in advance.

Keep in mind that anything you use is going to be a little bulky and could also add a layer of smoke to the meat.

3) Keep the Lid Shut

In the winter your smoker can gather a lot of condensation. The top grill and lid will be covered with water. To prevent this water or moisture from getting into the smoker and steaming out during smoking, keep the lid shut as much as possible. It is best to use a piece of aluminum foil over the smoke stack to ensure that the heat from the firebox and top of the smoker do not escape and leave the smoker wet. You won’t allow the smoke to escape from the stack and the moisture will condense and collect on the foil instead of on your smoker lid. When you have a fire inside your smoker, the heat will not escape, you will have warm air to smoke your meat, and it might be warm enough to keep you comfortable enough to work in your backyard or your garage.

4) Stock Up on Fuel

If you live somewhere with cold weather, you should always keep a good amount of wood on hand. The colder it is outside, the harder it will be to get it to light. Buying the best wood log and pairing it with a good lighter will give you more consistency with your fire and may help you stay out longer in the cold weather.

You can store wood in a dry place on a plastic pallet to keep it from getting moldy and wet.

5) Position your Smoker in a Sheltered Spot

The first thing you can do to significantly improve your smoking experience is to place the smoker near or against a wall. This will block the wind and prevent the smoke from dissipating.

In my case, I purchased a vertical offset smoker and placed it against a wall in my basement. This keeps my smoker nice and warm.

There are several products out there that can improve the insulating qualities of your smoker. In my case, I used a 50-gallon rubber barrel as a windbreak. It was a bit pricey, but it definitely has made a difference in my cold smoking experience.

Keep the lid closed to minimize the amount of heat that escapes. If it’s imperative to leave the top open, place one or two burning cigarettes on a stick holding the lid open. This will produce small amounts of smoke that won’t significantly affect the overall temperature of the smoker.

6) Dealing With the Wind

Unless you live in a climate where wind is rare, you are going to have to deal with it. If you don’t do any of the following, the wind will mess up your entire smoking session.

By covering that area with flaps or vents, you can direct the smoke where you want it to go. You can keep that in mind and use the flaps to blow the smoke to your food so more flavor gets infused.

If you have more wind than you can handle, the easiest way to fix this is to plan ahead and make your smoking time much shorter. This will reduce the chances of your wind interfering with your smoking.

This is also the perfect way to preserve that great flavor you’ve created with the smoking process. I recommend you to check out The Meatwave Electric Smoker.

You can also use the wind to your advantage and let it cook your food. If you are cooking chicken, for example, it’s a great idea to open up the smoke generator and cook your food slightly closer to the wind.

7) Use a Cold Weather Jacket

The Belly Belly smoker is made of neoprene with a food-grade lining. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber invention and it does an AMAZING job of preventing food from drying out.

Ideally, the Belly Belly will keep your food warm enough to keep it from spoiling for at least one hour more than a traditional insulated cooler.

But if you would like to use the belly as a lap warmer, you can also buy a cold weather jacket for tobacco to use as a food storage container. It works like a charm!

The Best Natural Gas Grills in 2022

A reliable gas grill is a backyard necessity in the summer, but also an effective option for flipping and grilling indoors. When the weather turns cold, you can still get your grill on by using a natural gas grill indoors or out.

Here is a good video presentation of the 7 best natural gas grills in 2022.