Cold-weather issues


Greg Fountaine

TVWBB Member
The other night we had some really Foul weather - temperatures were below freezing we had significant wind as well as precipitation falling. Horrible conditions to say the least . I had the 18.5" Weber smoker fully loaded with 60 pounds of pork butts. Pan was dry and foiled. Whenever the temperature would drop the fan would kick in and actually drive the temperature lower for some period of time and then eventually the heat of the fuel would over come the cool air being blown in and the result was the pit temperature would overshoot the target significantly. The resulting chart was like a sawtooth and it did this all night long. One of the things I did that helped a little bit was reducing the fan output to 25% .

Is there anything else I could've done to help it stay on the target temperature better? The temperature was fluctuating 25° each way, normally doesn't fluctuate more than 5 degrees or so.
For cold weather cooking it is very important to make sure the air flow is directed at the fire and not able to escape around the fire and into the pit, otherwise you will see the cooling effect followed by overshoot as you describe. IDK what your grill adapter looks like, but if you can make the air aim more toward the fire it will stoke the fire faster and warm the cold air before it rushes into the pit. The air burner does just that, first off it reduces the overall flow of air into the pit which reduces this effect, secondly the air flow is directed into small jets which stoke the fire directly, kinda like a fireplace bellows. You might give an air burner a try if you do a lot of cold weather smoking.
What kind of blower or damper are you using?

Also, that much meat and not having a insulated smoker will be hard to keep a constant temperature. If you are using a smaller blower then the stock blower, then you will have issues.
I had the same issue. Realized later on in the smoke that I had inadvertantly inverted my servo output. At 100% my fan was not blowing at all into the chamber.
Keeping the wind at bay is the key to your cooking issue. Protect your WSM from the wind either by wrapping it or building some kind of wind blocker around it, or do like I do and move your WSM to an area where your garage or house shields it from the wind. I have my smoker sitting on a wheeled outdoor plant stand and I am able to roll it around my property to get it out of the wind. I have some old wall paneling that I lay on the ground if I have to move it across frozen grass and snow. You'll find you will have no problem smoking in very cold temps if you can keep the wind off your smoker. I've smoked butt and briskets in minus 10 temps with no problems this way.