Your neighbors are jealous of the barbeque flavor you are sending out, but it’s just not what you want. You don’t want the smoke to keep coming out of the grill like nobody’s business. So how to seal a smoker and keep all the precious smoke and heat? Find your answer right here in this instruction.
Table of Contents
- Why Sealing A Smoker?
- How To Seal A Smoker
- Pro Tips To Stop Losing Temp And Smoke
- By And Large
Why Sealing A Smoker?
Before jumping in the how-to, it’s crucial to know the root of the problem – why does it need sealing?
Smoke Escaping From The Firebox
The firebox generates all the heat and smoke you want. So if this small chamber is not working properly, the smoke will come out divergently. And the smoking capacity is then not at its ideal level.
Smoke Leakage From The Main Chamber
The main chamber keeps all the food and regulates the smoke and heat inside. When the lid doors cannot close tightly, you will lose the smoke, and more painfully, the flavors of the food.
Sealing The Smoker – Is It That Necessary?
Some consider smoke leakage as a usual thing to happen when it comes to grilling. This perspective is, actually, not so wrong.
Smoke escaping from the firebox, main chamber, and chimney is unavoidable. But too much smoke coming out is definitely not what we want, especially when you have limited wood and charcoal resources.
There is nothing absolute, and sealing the smoker is not an exception. Don’t expect to have absolute no smoke coming out from the grill when you finish sealing it.
Instead, sealing it up will leverage the performance of the grill and reduce the consumption of the burning materials. So if these two things are what you want for your grill, here is the instruction.
How To Seal A Smoker
What to prepare
- Hot water
- Dish soap or kitchen bleach
- Sponge or a piece of cloth
- Toothbrush or metal scrubber
- Rubber gloves
- Smoker gasket
- RTV silicone sealant
- Aluminum foil
How To Seal It Up
Wash, Clean, And Dry
If you have already used the smoker grill, you cannot go ahead and stick the gaskets on it. Cleaning the grill, especially the main chamber and the firebox is a must-do. You have to remove all the grease that has built up over time.
The best way to clean off all the oil and grease is by using a mixture of hot water and good dish soap or kitchen bleach. Use a sponge or a piece of cloth to absorb the mix. Then spread on the surface inside the lids of the chamber and firebox.
Use a brush or a metal scrubber to wash off all the dirt. Make sure the door lids are always open, let them sit out in the sun until they are completely dry.
Note: Wearing a pair of rubber gloves while using kitchen bleach is recommended.
Apply Smoker Gasket
Measure the gaskets along the width and length of the firebox and main chamber. Cut them to length using a razor blade, peel of the back, and stick them on to the inside edge of the lids.
The gaskets will need to go all along the way around the perimeter of the doors. If there are still gaps between the gaskets, the smoke will still escape when you grill. Make sure the measurement is just right, or you can overmeasure it a little bit and then cut off the excess.
For the gaskets to have the strongest gluing effect, you should close the door lids and place the grill in a dry place for at least one day.
Note: Don’t stretch the gaskets when sticking them to the lids. Go gentle on them so that the glue applies on all the surfaces.
Apply RTV Silicone Sealant
Once the gasket step is complete, you now already reduce a good amount of smoke leakage. If you use a thermometer with readouts, you can prove with an experiment before and after the gaskets. The Delta (the difference between before and after) will be around 30 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
But if you want to go further for it, using an RTV silicone sealant for the firebox will get you through.
The firebox is always assembled with 2 portions. So even when you close the lid, there is always still a tiny gap between them. And that’s when an RTV silicone sealant comes into play.
So what you should do is squeeze a line of this silicone sealant all along the two portions of the firebox body. Let the sealant also rest for at least 24 hours before you use the grill again.
Set Up An Aluminum Foil Basket In The Firebox
Form the aluminum foil like a basket (or you can use an aluminum foil cake pan) that fits the inside of the firebox. Cut out a little bit the side of the basket that is far from the main chamber, so that it will not impede the oxygen coming in.
Put the basket under the grate/ grilling surface; it helps with two things. First, it raises the grate, which facilitates the oxygen flow. Second, when the charcoal and wood burn down, the ashes will stay in the basket. And you will need less time for the cleanup.
How To Replace The Gaskets
Depending on your grilling frequency, the gaskets need replacing after six months to one year. To replace the gaskets, use a razor blade to scrape out all the old glue, it should be easy because the glue has lost its effect over time.
If there is any stubborn stain on the lid, use the kitchen bleach, and wash out with a metal scrubber again.
Pro Tips To Stop Losing Temp And Smoke
Having a charcoal basket in the firebox will not only do the job of keeping coals in place and cleaning the inside more effectively. But it also keeps the heat more concentrated and gives more space for the air to circulate.
They are quarter-inch thick steel plates craning a baffle between the firebox and one side of the main chamber. Placing the tuning places inside the main chamber allows for more deflecting heat and smoke.
Note: Don’t put the places too tightly close to each other. Make sure there is still a little gap between one and another so that the smoke can still come out and reach the food.
Thermometers with upgraded readouts will be a great help in controlling the heat of your smoker grill. Instead of just telling warm, ideal, or hot, these aftermarket thermometers say the specific Fahrenheit degrees. It is thus easier for you to monitor the cooking time and the meat doneness.
By And Large
Yes, it is necessary to seal your smoker grill if you want to save your cooking time, effort, and money on the wood and charcoal. You have the ability to close off the grill, and you will, after reading through this How To Seal A Smoker guide. The heat and flavor will now concentrate on your foods, not flying off to your neighbor’s garden.