What Effect Does Wind Have on My Smoker?

Bacon Wrapped Smoked Onion
Cayobo/Flickr/CC 2.0

You need to pay close attention to the wind when using a barbecue smoker outdoors, particularly one powered by hardwood or charcoal.

Of all the forces of nature that will affect how your smoker heats, the wind is the worse. Even a low wind can draw heat from your smoker and cause problems with air flow. We have smoked successfully in sub-zero temperatures without any problem but have fought winds while smoking in very hot weather.

How to Minimize the Effects of Wind 

To minimize the effects of the wind, you want to place your smoker in a protected area to reduce the amount of wind hitting your smoker. If you are using a horizontal smoker you want the path of airflow through your smoker to be in the same direction as the wind. You can then better control the flow of air with the vents. You do not want the wind blowing into the outtake of your smoker. This will block up the airflow and can create bitter food.

Pay Attention to the Temperature

If the wind is blowing don't assume that your smoker will heat or not heat the same as it would on a calm day. You need to watch the internal temperature of the smoker and adjust accordingly though fire control or the vents. If possible set something to block some of the wind away from the burning fire to control how hot it burns.