I had some weather experiences this past weekend that taught me a few new things about my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker. I was holding a solid 225 degrees for a while, when all of the sudden it jumped to 235, then dropped to 210 in under 5 minutes. I then found myself on a bit of an adventure. Here is my story, and experiences for you to learn how to handle wind, cold, and rain.
Light rain and snow were in the forecast for the night I needed to smoke a brisket for the Chili cook-off. My gazebo had been destroyed in a bad wind storm, and I haven’t been able to start building my new structure. I found myself in need of a quick, cost effective temporary covering, so I turned to PVC pipe and a Tarp.
I built my covering, but neglected to compensate for the sides. After carefully looking things over, I felt it didn’t matter, and the pit was staying dry. I couldn’t have been more wrong on my assessment of need for sides.
The Weber Smokey Mountain holds the heat and smoke very well. It can withstand snow and rain, cold and hot. However, like most anything, it has its cryponite. That is Wind.
Wind can cause two problems. The first, what I experienced, it can rob you of your heat very quickly. Mine dropped 25 degrees, and I saw it starting to waver downwards. The other thing it can do, if your WSM isn’t sealed well, is cause flare ups and overheat your pit.
The first thing I’m going to recommend is to make sure your pit is sealed well. Your door should not be leaking, and you shouldn’t see any smoke coming out from under the rim of the lid. If you do, adjust your door, and see if you can clean up your lid to get it to sit level on the smoker.
After this, you’ll need to simply block the wind. The cheapest way I’ve found to do this is to build four walls around the smoker. You can go to Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards and pickup 2 8’x4′ sheets of plywood, and pickup 6 hinges. Next, cut the boards in half so you have 4 4’x’4 walls. From here, just put 2 hinges on 3 corners, and you’ll have 4 walls, with one acting as a door.
That should block the wind, and get you back to steady cooking. From there, if you need to shelter the WSM from the rain or snow, just put it under a nice yard umbrella, or you can build a small piece to put on top of the box.
I hope this helps you avoid the problems I had. While my cook finished with success, it was a very long, trying night. I can’t wait until the spring weather comes so I can build my permanent structure.