Author Topic: BBQ in cold climate  (Read 2029 times)

Offline waycoolcat

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 171
BBQ in cold climate
« on: March 30, 2014, 11:15:29 am »
This is only the second time I've used my DBS 4 rack. I thought I'd take on ribs. It's 33 degrees and a bit windy in central PA and I've had the smoker running and the oven set to 250 but it can't seem to reach that temperature. I have the vent mostly closed and have only opened the door to put the ribs in and spritz once very quickly. The Bradley temp probe on the bottom reads 219 right now and the Polder Kitchen probe above the top rack reads 229. I haven't opened the door in half an hour.

Is there an ambient temperature you have to have outside before you can expect the stock heater to achieve cooking temps?
I want to be a better carnivore!

Offline TedEbear

  • Member Extraordinaire
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,655
Re: BBQ in cold climate
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 11:49:26 am »
The wind will cause problems with trying to get up to temp.  Try to shield the Bradley from direct wind if you can. 

Also, open the vent at least halfway.  I know it sounds backwards but when the vent is closed, or mostly that way, moisture builds up in the chamber and causes lower temps, black rain and smoke going back into the smoker generator.  You can try to help the temp by using hot water in your puck bowl.

Additionally, the Bradley temp probe is not all that accurate.  For an accurate temp place your other probe below the lowest rack of meat.

Offline waycoolcat

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 171
Re: BBQ in cold climate
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 12:31:20 pm »
O.K. I opened the vent half way. Moisture build up and black rain are the things a new cooker doesn't know about. Since my first post after an hour of the door being closed it did reach 250. At least its April and I'll have several warm months to learn more about BBQ. Perhaps by next fall I'll look into a heating element modification.
I want to be a better carnivore!

Offline Dano

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 182
Re: BBQ in cold climate
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 01:10:12 pm »
I second Ted. I moved my smoker in my garage during the cold and windy Canadian winters and that made a huge difference. I found if it's bordering around 0C/32F I pre-heat to 280F first which takes about 90-120 minutes some days. Then crack the damper a bit and it does get there.   Winter wind is the smoker's worst enemy in my books and needs to be taken care of, preferably with a little Canadian whiskey. :D
Proud member of PETA:  People Eating Tasty Animals.  :)

Offline waycoolcat

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 171
Re: BBQ in cold climate
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 01:32:00 pm »
Thanks Dano. I wanted to know about what temperature outside might be the cut off point in whether I hot smoke or not. I figured asking what others thought would save me an epic fail in the winter months. So a stock DBS takes an hour or more  around freezing temps to heat up and hold temp. That's about what I experienced today. So I'm figuring if its in the 20's or lower I shouldn't plan a hot smoke. Does that sound right to you guys?

Also, Dano, I'm guessing you have a stand alone garage with some sort of vent system? My garage is under our bedrooms so I'm not sure if thats a possibility for me.

Mmmmm. Canadian whiskey!
I want to be a better carnivore!

Offline Dano

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 182
Re: BBQ in cold climate
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2014, 05:12:40 pm »
Garage is attached to the house. I put the smoker on a table close to the garage door and picked up some flexible dryer vent and made a makeshift chimney. Just duct tape it and let it vent outside around the side of the house. That way I don't get smoked out myself.   I usually hot smoke to as low as high 20's F but it takes awhile to heat up and recover. Need to plan for that(i learned the hard way the first time). :)
Proud member of PETA:  People Eating Tasty Animals.  :)

Offline waycoolcat

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 171
Re: BBQ in cold climate
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 05:29:57 pm »
Thanks so much, you saved me a lot of trial and error. I'll be thinking about that set up in the garage next winter. I'm already thinking about cracking the window in my garage 4" and running the vent through a cut out of wood and insulation.

By the way the ribs I made today turned out great. I just let them cook an extra hour to adjust for heat loss. (My back up plan was the oven, but it wasn't necessary).
I want to be a better carnivore!

Offline Dano

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 182
Re: BBQ in cold climate
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 05:44:31 pm »
Great to hear it was a success!
Proud member of PETA:  People Eating Tasty Animals.  :)