Windy Weather Smoker Enclosure
Wind is the greatest enemy of smoke cooking. A smoker enclosure will block the wind and help your cookout smoke right along.
Wind. It can blow out a gas flame, lower the smoker temperature, and oddly enough, it can even raise the temperature of charcoal and wood-fired smokers. And if the wind is really strong, it can knock your smoker over…unlikely, but possible.
Strong, gusting wind could blow out the flame of a gas meat smoker, causing the temperature inside to drop. Make sure to ventilate the smoker completely before relighting.
Electric smokers are affected less by wind than other types. Most electrics are sealed pretty well, since there's no need for ventilation to feed a flame. The biggest effect wind has on electric smokers is a cooling effect in cold weather. It is possible that the wind could carry a spark or ember out of the smoker, especially when it's opened up to add wood or water.
A charcoal or wood fired smoker can overheat in windy conditions. If the wind is blowing into the intake vents, the fire can burn hotter, and in turn, increase the temperature of the smoker. Positioning the smoker so the wind isn't blowing directly into the vents will help, as will closing the vents a little. If your smoker has multiple vents, try closing the ones on the windward side completely, and using the remaining one for air adjustment.
A smoker enclosure will go a long way in solving wind-caused problems. There are two types of enclosures I've made and used, and many more possibilities...the only limits are your imagination...and safety.
I have heard of all types of unsafe enclosures being used for smokers, the worst being a cardboard box. Sure, it'll block the wind, but it could also flambe' easily, too, maybe taking your house along with it. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding the distance your smoker must be placed AWAY from flammable objects. And that being said...
Concrete Smoker Enclosure
This is where my water smoker does its magic. I positioned five stacks of five concrete blocks in a "U" shape. The blocks are each, in inches, 8x8x16 in size. I didn't mortar the blocks together, but you may want to, especially if you have active kids or big dogs running around. I have my little "smoker castle" residing on my patio, with the open side facing the house. This way, the wind is blocked from all directions. It's worked very well.
A more portable smoker enclosure I made is simply one sheet of half-inch plywood, cut into two four-foot by four-foot pieces. The two pieces are attached with a pair of hinges. I stand it on edge so that from above it would look like a "V", with the hinges facing the wind. I use this when I roll out my propane grill, wrapping the plywood around the back and one side, all the while being mindful of those pesky manufacturer's distance requirements!
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