In the cold weather, smoking and grilling food becomes a bit difficult and a bit hectic. In the winters, propane smokers tend to lose a large amount of heat because of the poor insulations. Maintaining a specific temperature inside the cooking temperature becomes nearly impossible.
The thin metal absorbs the heat from the inside chamber and lowers the internal temperature. As the burning process requires oxygen, the cold air from outside also reduces the chamber’s temperature.
The water from meat vaporizes and condenses at the same time that produces some fog inside the chamber. Smoking in winter can be challenging and fun to overcome all the challenges to attain your final goal.
Using a Propane Smoker in Winter
Following are some of the best tips that must be followed to gain the best smoking experience in winters.
1. Choose the Best One
Always choose the smoker with heavy metallic coatings to not lose a large amount of heat. Most of the cheap smokers are made up of low-quality metals, so they have trouble keeping the cooking chamber’s temperature constant.
I prefer ceramic coated smokers over any other smokers because they tend to maintain internal temperatures to a higher degree. Gas smokers are the best ones to be used in winters compared to electric or charcoal smokers. The gas flows easily in the winter weather making these smokers ideal for these conditions.
2. More Fuel
In the intense winter conditions, a more considerable amount of heat must be produced so that food cooks properly without even a delay. To make a larger amount of heat, a large amount of fuel is required. Smokers during winters tend to eat a larger amount of power. So, if you plan to use smokers in the winters, make sure that you have enough propane in your tanks to experience smoking without any interruptions.
3. Train Yourself
To prevent excessive heat loss we can always use some DIY techniques. These techniques do not cost much and can prove very fruitful. You can use a welder’s blanket or furnace insulations. Welder’s blanket can protect the smoker from wind and cold without facing any issues. One can also use aluminum foil to cover the smoker but, it must not cover the smoker box directly because there is a chance of melting of foil. While covering the smoker, ensure that vents are not covered because oxygen is required for the combustion process.
4. Place Adequately
Before setting up the smoker, you must find the best place for your smoker. Because in winters it is challenging to find the best place. First of all, clean up the snow from the place. Make sure to put the smoker in an airy area because the smoker requires oxygen. So a garage or terrace is the best place for the smoker.
5. Keep it Clean
If your smoker has been resting open area for a while, it must be covered with an extensive snow amount. The first thing to do is clean up your smoker correctly. It is very necessary for smoker’s proper working.
6. Lid Must be closed
Make sure that the lid of your smoker is appropriately closed. Opening the lid even for a smaller interval of time to check your food can make the cooking process difficult for the next 20 to 30 minutes. Opening the top for even a single minute can disturb the inside temperature to a greater degree. So instead then opening the lid, again and again, one must keep an eye on the food by using thermometers and proper cooking time.
7. Use of Wireless Thermometers
Built-in thermometers are a bit inaccurate. So, we should use custom Bluetooth wireless thermometers. These thermometers allow you to measure the cooking chamber’s temperature without even opening the front door or lid. The heat content of the cooking chamber can be retained by this process easily.
8. Preheat with Great Care
In intense weather conditions, preheating can be a bit difficult. You must seal the door properly during preheating and adjust the temperature gauge to its highest possible setting. Close all the vents except the oxygen intake vent. In the winter, preheating the smoker can take a large amount of time compared to the summers. So, make sure to give this process its required interval of time.
9. Make your Mind
In the winters, food requires a larger amount of time to be smoked, cooked, or grilled correctly. It is not an easy task to smoke food in winters. A lot of patience is required in this process. So make sure you find yourself an adequate amount of time to enjoy this process. An easy solution to this problem is that you should use smaller pieces of meat in place of larger ones. Larger pieces of meat are difficult to cook and require a larger amount of time. At the same time, you can cook smaller pieces in a shorter interval of time. Also, try to cook vegetables along with the meat because these also require lesser time.
10. Take Care of the Wind
In winters, wind can be alarming for smokers. So, try to place the smoker in a place where stays away from the direct wind impact. The cold breeze of winters can snatch all the smokers’ heat that makes the cooking process nearly impossible. So, either place your smokers under shelters or build a hut around your smoker to protect it from these kinds of winds.
11. Store it Well
If you have successfully smoked your food in the winter, that was pretty much a difficult task to perform. Now it’s time to pack up your smoker. To pack it up, you should clean the smoker first. Try to clean the smoker when it is hot. Because if your smoker gets cold, the food will stick to it and might become very difficult to remove. Always use brushes to clean the grates properly. For a body that is mostly enamel coated, you can use dishwashers for its cleaning.
12. Use of Weather Jackets
After you have used and cleaned up your smoker properly, now it’s time to store that smoker as humans wear jackets to protect themselves from cold weather, in the same way, weather jackets are available in the market for your smokers. These jackets protect your smokers from adverse weather conditions. Cover your smokers with these jackets and place them in the store or some sheltered place where they do not face snow or rain directly.
I don’t claim the tips i shared will reduce your task to zero or make using a propane smoker equally good as in summer. But, it will reduce your task many fold and will be happy using your propane smoker in winter with just little compromise.
In case you have some more innovative ideas, don’t shy to mention in the comment box.