How to Insulate Your Smoker [Thermal Blanket & Firebox Insulation]

Looking for a way to use your BBQ smoker through the winter? Learn how to insulate your smoker so you can use it all year round.

how to insulate your smoker

You may be researching how to insulate your BBQ smoker because you don’t want a good time to stop. Smoking meat is something that has been done for a long time. It is a great way to cure meat and infuse a smokey flavor. 

Smoking food provides an intense flavor. Nothing compares to food that has been slow-cooked and smoked. Sadly some smokers are not appropriately insulated to the extent that they do not hold the smoke in, thereby compromising the quality of the meat. You will realize that smoking requires a certain level of skill as well as the right equipment. In this article, we look at how to insulate your barbecue smoker.

snow on traeger smoker insulation blanke

Why Should You Insulate Your Smoker?

Insulating your barbecue smoker is a necessary step that will make your cooking process more effective. The fact that this is an outdoor cooking tool means that it will be susceptible to elements of nature. When the cold winter months roll around, whether they are accompanied by just low temperatures or they are a mixture of precipitation with chilly winds, they can potentially harm your barbecue smoker.

Insulating your smoker will help retain and generate heat even if there is rain, snow, ice, dust, dirt, and even the sun. The point of smoking your meat is to have a constant heat source over long periods. This is how you get to infuse the unique flavor that smoking brings to your food.

Insulation Jackets

There are several ways to ensure that your smoker does not lose its essence. One of those ways is to use insulation jackets. In most cases, they are made of an aluminum-covered fabric or silicon. These two materials trap heat in and hence provide insulation. Also, aluminum will reflect heat, and it is one of the best ways to insulate a smoker.

You can either make your insulation jacket yourself or simply buy one. The end goal is to get higher heat retention and the most efficient way of keeping in all the smoke. This comes in handy, especially in winter when cold out and heat can easily escape.

Pros

  • Insulation jackets are easily found
  • They work well with vertical smokers
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The jacket burns if it covers the firebox
  • They need to be a custom fit.

Insulation Blankets

Another way to retain heat and get your smoke on is by using an insulation blanket. Whilst these two may seem like they are the same thing, they are not. The main difference is in the positioning of the aluminum layer. On the jacket, the aluminum layer is on the outer layer. However, on the insulation blanket, the coating is inside the blanket.

While there’s a difference in the way they are insulated, the result is just about the same. The great thing about using an insulation blanket is that you can use it on just about any smoker. You do not need a specific size like you would with an insulation jacket. All you will need to do is to wrap the blanket around the smoker so that you retain the heat being produced. Wrap it tightly enough to cover around the smoker, making sure to avoid the firebox.

Pros

  • One size fits all means that you don’t need a custom fit
  • It’s easy to use
  • It effectively keeps heat in.

Cons

  • If you do not wrap it properly, you may not have a secure fit, thereby defeating the purpose.

Welding Blankets

backyard barbecue smoker covered with welding blanket for winter

Combining excellent heat retention and insulation against cold winter temperatures, using a welding blanket for your smoker offers a surprising option for winter barbecue fans.

Another way to insulate your barbecue smoker is to use welding blankets. It’s a great substitute if you do not have an insulation jacket or blanket. These are specially made to protect a welder from any flying sparks as the weld. They retain heat and cover the person handling the heat source as well – all crucial characteristics for an insulation blanket.

A welding blanket works in just about the same way as an insulation blanket; you will not need to get a custom fit. All you need to do is to wrap the blanket around the smoker and make sure that it’s snug and tight around it.

How to Insulate Your Smoker’s Firebox

Whilst the insulation blanket and jacket should steer clear of the firebox; you can still insulate it. The difference is that you will need to be careful and use specific materials. You need to use a material that is fire resistant, and a cement board does an excellent job of this. A cement wall insulates the firebox from the inside, rather than from the outside like the insulation blanket and jacket.

To insulate the firebox, make sure that the firebox is off. Then measure the inside walls firebox, so that you know what dimensions to make the cement board. You can then use these measurements to mark the measurements on the board and cut it out. Once you have cut out the sides of the wall, use the boards to line the inside of the firebox.

The reason for using a cement board is because it is made of highly durable against the heat that the smoke will bring its way. Various manufacturers make cement boards. Before you decide to use one near your food, you may want to check how safe the ingredients are to use around food, and how they react when they are introduced to heat for the most prolonged hours.

Verdict

Insulating your barbecue smoker will help you get a better result. While there are several ways of insulation, the ones that we have listed above are the most common. We prefer using an insulation blanket because you do not need to worry about whether it fits or not. Even if you change the type of barbecue smoker you have, you can still use the same insulator. The method you choose is up to you and your needs.


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