The idea of insulating a smoker can be simple: all you need is to cover or line your smoker with an insulating material to prevent heat from escaping. There’s no other way to do it. But, you do have different insulating materials that you can use:
- Insulation jackets
- Insulation blankets
- Welding blankets
- Cement board
Let’s take a look at each of these materials to determine which would work best for you.
Smoker insulation jackets are one of the most popular options for insulating smokers. Fabrics are mostly covered with aluminum foil which is one of the best insulating materials. Aluminum can reflect heat effectively and allow thermal radiation to stay inside, making it highly effective.
Some insulation jackets may use silicone instead, and it’s still effective in keeping the heat in and saving energy used.
Insulation jackets are also very popular because a lot of smoker manufacturers produce them. There are already generic smoker insulation jackets available to buy which fits most smokers. There are also tailored insulation jackets specific to a particular smoker model.
Regardless of what you pick, the generic or the custom-fit, you are guaranteed effective insulation. However, you must make sure that the insulation jacket won’t cover the firebox as it may cause burning.
Another product you can use to insulate smokers is the insulation blanket.
Insulation blankets feature an aluminum and fabric layer with the aluminum layer found inside the fabric. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s less effective than insulation jackets.
What makes insulation blankets different from insulation jackets is that you only need to wrap them around the smoker. There’s no need to ensure custom-fitting. In other words, it’s a one-size-fits-all solution.
However, you must make sure that you wrap it securely around your smoker to ensure effectiveness. Also, be very careful not to cover the blanket around the firebox, or you’ll risk starting a fire.
The next option you have is to use welding blankets.
Welding blankets are safety equipment welders use to protect them from heat and spark when working. It uses several flexible protective materials that are highly heat-resistant. Many welding blankets are now made of flame-retardant fiberglass, which can stand against high temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of the blanket’s ability to withstand high heat, it will make the perfect insulating material to ensure that the heat stays in the smoker. The best part about welding blankets is that you may already have one in your home. So, you may not have to buy extra accessories for your smoker.
It also has the same qualities as your insulation blanket. You only need to wrap it around your smoker, making it a one-size-fits-all solution.
However, do check the thickness and heat tolerance of the welding blanket you have. You need to make sure that it can stand your smoker’s maximum temperature before using it.
When wrapping the welding blanket around the smoker, feel free to do it several times until you’re confident that it’s secured. And most importantly, don’t cover the firebox.
Use a Cement Board
Last but not least, you can use a cement board.
Now this one is something that you should use with the other methods above. Why? Because it’s mainly recommended to be used to cover the firebox.
As you may have noticed, each of the methods above has clearly emphasized never to use these materials to cover the firebox as they would most likely burn. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the need to insulate the firebox also.
A cement board is a sheet made of cement and fibers plus cellulose. It can stand against extreme high heat and, at the same time, keep heat in. This makes it very effective as an insulating material for your firebox.
However, you need to make sure that the materials used for the cement board you’re using are food-friendly. Because you wouldn’t want harmful chemicals to be absorbed in your food. (3)
So how do you insulate your firebox? Here are some steps to follow:
- Make sure that no fuel is burning inside the firebox
- Grab a measuring tape and measure the interior of the firebox.
- Use those measurements and mark them on your cement board.
- Score cut marks where you want to cut the cement board.
- Lay the cement board flat on the surface where the extra parts (areas without marks) are on the
- After that, press down on the extra parts to break it off. Do the same on the rest until you have all your desired pieces.
- Once done, place these pieces on the interior of your firebox.
It’s highly recommended that you do this part first before you start insulating your smoker’s body.
Why Should You Insulate Your Smoker?
But why should you even bother insulating your smoker? Why should you need to do all this hard work?
Because smoking is done outdoors, the equipment you use is susceptible to many outside factors like wind conditions, unexpected rain, dust, etc. All these may cause temperatures to fluctuate, making your cooking process less ineffective.
By insulating your smoker, you get to ensure constant temperatures throughout your whole cooking process. And because smoking requires long hours, it’s the perfect solution to temperature control problems. On top of that, you get to protect children or pets that may accidentally touch a smoker’s hot exterior.
Insulating your smoker is an essential part of your cooking process as it helps you get better results. And for smoker insulation to work, you need to use the best and proper materials, too.
The guide above will help you a lot in choosing the best insulating material for you. You may rate them based on the convenience they can give and their effectiveness. But regardless of what you choose, they’re all guaranteed effective.