We often consider summer as the ideal time to organize a barbeque session. However, relishing in a smoky, sizzling, and succulent steak when it is cold is a different kind of experience. Pulled pork or a perfectly seared brisket can add a little magic to family dinners when served with piping hot soup. Although smoked food feels like a warm blanket on the soul during winter, only brave cooks or barbeque lovers will venture into this zone because it can be extremely challenging.
With chilly winds blowing 24 hours, your food smoker can turn into a snowman in no time. But if you have managed to gather the courage to master the art of food smoking in cold weather, then this guide will help you.
9 Cool Tips to Fire up Your Food Smoker in Cold Weather
It is important to note that smoking in cold weather will be quite different from what you usually do during summer. There are some factors that you need to take into consideration to emerge a pitmaster who can brave the chill. Here are 9 tips to make food smoking in cold weather a lot easier for you.
1. Clear the space
Remember, smoking in winter has its own challenges. The primary one among them is to keep your food smoker warm. So, clear off any snow to ensure it doesn’t delay the food smoking process further.
2. Choose the right food smoker
Different kinds of food smokers perform differently according to varying weather conditions. Food smoking in cold weather demands a pro smoker that has been designed specifically to perform consistently irrespective of seasonal changes. So if you are planning to pull off a great barbeque session with an offset food smoker, you are inviting trouble. The thin sheet of the offset smoker will bleed away heat, making it extremely difficult to maintain a consistent temperature inside. For smoking in winter, it is always advisable to use a quality constructed electric smoker with advanced heat control features.
For instance, the Bradley Pro P10 Smoker would be the perfect fit here. This food smoker is designed with an insulated body and has sealed doors to shield against all weather conditions and also ensure the safety of the user. The new model also features a new 1000W PID controlled heat element that will get temperature up quicker and use the technology to keep it there, or recover all times. Tested in the cold winters of Alberta (Canada) and Alaska (USA) delivering delicious recipes! The Bradley Smoker also comes with a digital console that allows you to preset the cooking time and temperature for a hassle-free barbeque experience even in winter.
3. Find a sheltered area
Always keep the food smoker somewhere sheltered to protect it from cold winds and sudden snowfall. By shelter, we mean your porch or by your house’s walls and not under a tree because the last thing you will want is to see a big pile of snow falling on your food smoker.
4. Keep the lid closed
It is important to keep the door closed as much as you can. Remember that every time you are tempted to open the door and check the food, you let the hot smoke inside the cooking chamber escape. This will unnecessarily delay the smoking process. So, stay calm and keep the lid closed as much as possible.
5. Adjust the smoker according to the wind
Watch the direction of the wind and adjust your food smoker accordingly. Letting air inside your smoker is important to keep the smoke coming and maintain the temperature. But if too much cold air enters the food smoker, it might slow down the cooking process. So, keep the vent of your smoker in the opposite direction of the wind.
6. Select leaner cuts
We know that ribs and shanks are drool-worthy when smoked to perfection. Our suggestion is to save it for summer. Try smoking leaner cuts like sirloin, flank, tenderloin, etc., when smoking in winter. Learner cuts require less heat to be smoked and cook faster than larger cuts.
7. Stock up on wood
Smoking in cold weather can turn into a disaster if you see the wood chamber is empty when you are midway through cooking. You have to note that your food smoker will burn more wood in cold weather to reach a certain temperature compared to hot weather. This is where you need to have a good stock of wood ready to rock the barbeque session. The best solution here is to use an electric smoker that generates heat with electricity but uses clean smoke from wood chips to offer the meat the same intense smoky flavor.
Bradley Bisquettes is a great example here. These compressed sawdust chips burn for a precise time and are extinguished before turning to ash. This ensures the food is cooked in clean flavored smoke. Bradley Bisquettes come in 17 different flavors to suit all smoked meat recipes.
8. Get a meat thermometer
A meat thermometer is the best way to check the doneness in cold weather. Penetrate the thickest part of the meat with the tip of the thermometer to get the best reading. Remove the meat if the center has reached the desired temperature.
9. Use a cold weather jacket
This is absolutely necessary for smoking in cold weather. Having an insulated jacket or at least wrapping an old blanket around your food smoker can help maintain a consistent temperature in the chamber. This is obviously not required if you are using the Pro P10 electric smoker. Modern food smokers have an insulated body that prevents temperature loss in any weather.
Finally, have some patience because it is snowing outside, and your food smoker is not a magician. Smoking is a low and slow process. With the weather playing a role, you’re unlikely to get the desired result in the expected time. With that, we’ve come to the end of this guide on smoking in cold weather. We hope you liked the cool Bradley tips & tricks shared here.
Interested in learning more about food smoking in cold weather? Check the article below:
How to Smoke Food in Cold Weather
For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.