Does your smoker leak too much smoke while cooking? You want to fix this problem but don’t know how? Don’t worry, read our article on how to seal a smoker to learn more.
Cooking in a smoker enhances the flavor, taste, and appearance of the food. You cannot find the distinct smoky flavor in any other cooking methods; that is why it is prevalent since prehistoric times.
In this process, charcoal or wood-burning creates smoke that penetrates through the food to cook it.
However, you won’t be able to get the perfect taste and outcome with a poorly sealed smoker.
With time and usage, the door becomes loose and leads to the leaking of excessive smoke.
If you are facing this issue and wondering how to seal a smoker, you have come to the right place.
Because here, we will discuss the most effective ways you can apply on your own to solve this problem.
Why Should You Seal Your Smoker
The proper sealing of a smoker is vital for several reasons. Let’s find them out.
One of the main advantages of smoking food is to get a delicious smoky flavor. However, lack of sealing can hamper the cooking process.
Smoke will release a bulk amount from the door or lids, so no smoky flavor for the food.
Giving the food a smoky flavor is not the only thing that smoke does. It enhances the quality of the meat by breaking down the tough tissue.
As a result, the meat becomes more tender.
Nevertheless, without proper sealing, you will lose too much smoke and won’t cook tender meat.
- Health Effects
Smoked foods can be a great addition to our diet due to low calorie and fat. By cooking and smoking the food low and slow, you can get an excellent lean protein source.
However, excessive smoke in the air can cause severe health issues. Children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable to these emissions.
Too much smoke emission hampers the air quality and causes environmental pollution.
Charcoal or wood burnt smoke contains harmful gases which are bad for the environment and leads to global warming.
By inhaling these, people are also at risk of severe lung disease, cancer, asthma, and respiratory irritation, etc.
- Waste of Money
Smoke leakage costs you a lot of money. High-quality, expensive wood chunks will give the best smoky taste.
However, when dealing with a leaky smoker, not only will you use a lot of fuel to burn the woods, but you also won’t get the desired taste.
It is a total waste of money.
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Sealing Your Smoker – It’s Good or Waste of Time
From our above discussion, you can already tell why sealing is so crucial for a smoker. The need for sealing may depend on the type of device.
While it is true that over time the old smokers lose their sealing properties, but new smokers are not any exception.
In fact, new smokers may leak more than old smokers. By frequently using, a carbon layer occurs in the smoker, which stops smoke from leaking.
New smokers do not have this layer; they come with a smooth finish. There are few premium quality smokers constructed with extra protection.
But to preserve the quality and get the best experience sooner or later, you have to take some measures to seal your smoker.
Wait! First Clean Your Smoker before Sealing
Before jumping into the sealing process, you must clean your smoker. All the build-up grease from a barbeque needs to be thoroughly cleaned, especially from the main chamber and firebox.
The seal won’t work if there is any residues/dirt left in the smoker. It is advisable to clean up the ashes after every use to maintain the quality of your smoker.
To remove the oil and grease, mix dish soap or bleach with hot water and apply the mixture using a sponge or paper towel.
You can use a knife to scrape out any food pieces from the chamber. Make sure to spread evenly on the inside surfaces.
If your smoker needs a deep cleaning, you may need to burn the residues.
For a clean burn, first, you need to load the coal basket and open the vents. Lit the fuel and make sure there are no combustible materials near the smoker.
After the smoker becomes completely dry, wash it with warm water and a detergent mixture.
Use a nylon bristle brush or scrubber to clean off the dirt. In case of deep rust or pitting, you may use a wire brush.
Open the lids and let the smoker thoroughly dry under the sun.
4 Effective Method on How to Seal a Smoker
Now that you are done with cleaning, let’s move on to the main topic. We have come with the top 4 most effective methods to seal your smoker perfectly.
Let’s check them out.
Method 1: Using Gasket
If you’re looking for an affordable way to fix the smoke leaking problem, this can be the option for you.
You can find some of the best smoker gaskets readily available in the market.
Step 1: First, you need to measure the breadth and length of the main chamber and firebox, then measure and cut the gaskets accurately so that they fit perfectly inside the chamber. Use a razor blade to cut them.
Step 2: Stick the gaskets on the inner edge of the lids.
Step 3: Fill up any gaps between the gaskets so that smoke cannot escape while you are using the smoker.
The gaskets should go around the whole perimeter of the doors.
Step 4: Close the door’s lids and keep the smoker in a dry place for about one day. Doing this will help the gaskets to stick firmly to the lids.
Method 2: Using Silicone Sealant
Silicone sealants come in handy in closing the tiniest gaps. Firebox includes two portions; that is why you will notice a little gap between them even after closing the lid.
With RTV silicone sealant, you can quickly solve this problem.
In this case, apply the sealant on the two portions of the firebox and let it rest for 24 hours.
When sealing the smoker door, apply a single bead of the adhesive and place a wax strip over it.
After that, close the door to spread the seal and give it the needed shape.
Method 3: Using Aluminum Foil
Another excellent method for sealing the smoker is to use aluminum foil. It is convenient when you turn your grill into a smoker.
First, you need to give the aluminum foil a basket shape to fit inside the firebox. Place it under the grate helps to raise the grates, which is essential for smooth oxygen flow.
Doing this will also make the cleanup process faster because after burning off the wood and charcoal, the ashes will remain in the basket.
Method 4: Using Steel
If you are thinking about sealing a char griller smoker, you can go with this method.
First, you need to buy a few pieces of steel. Take about one or two inches of steel and weld it inside the door or lid.
To make sure the door fully closes, you can cut or bend the steel pieces. It enables a snug fit around the door or lid openings.
The steel acts as an air-tight barrier. While this method is perfect for sealing inside spaces, you can also apply it to close any gaps outside.
Welding steel from the outside will even fill any gaps and give you better sealing. However, it may compromise on the appearance.
Mistakes to Avoid While Sealing Your Smoker
- Sealing a smoker is not tricky, but it may seem challenging if you do not know these simple yet essential factors.
- While cleaning the smoker, never touch kitchen bleach with bare hands as it may cause skin damage and make your skin vulnerable to burning or tearing. Always wear protective rubber gloves to be safe.
- You need to make sure the gasket measurement is accurate. Try to over-measure rather than under-measure.
Because if you over-measure, you can just cut off the excess to solve the issue.
- The seal may not work if you do not let it dry enough. By allowing the grill to sit for a day, you can get a powerful gluing effect.
You can use the dryer, too but make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions before using it.
- Be gentle with the gaskets when you stick them to the lids. If you stretch the gaskets too much, the glue may become ineffective.
- Always be careful while handling screws or any fixtures during cleaning. Do not lose or damage them, as they might be essential for keeping the seal protected.
- Depending on the smoking frequency, the gaskets will lose effects over time. So you should replace the gaskets after six months or one year. You can use a razor blade to remove the old glue.
- Sometimes, if the basket is too large, it can prevent oxygen from coming in, so make sure to cut the foil’s side that is not closer to the main chamber.
When You Need to Seal Your Smoker
It doesn’t matter what type of smoker you have; leaking some smoke is normal for every smoker.
You cannot use a smoker in an air-tight or enclosed environment. Without proper airflow, the charcoal or wood chunks won’t burn and fail to create the flavorful smoke.
However, it’s a matter of concern when the smoker leaks an excessive amount of smoke.
Smoke escapes more from improperly sealed lids or doors. Foods cooked on leaky smokers lose the delicious smoky flavor and tenderness of the meat.
Too much smoke emission is also not good for your health and the environment. So while using the smoker, if thick clouds of smoke roll out every time, it’s time to seal the smoker.
Which Is the Best Method of Sealing a Smoker and Why
All of the methods as mentioned earlier are very useful depending on your requirements.
As a barbeque lover, I use smokers a lot, and for me, gaskets and silicone sealants work the best.
After applying gaskets, I use the sealant to fill up any remaining tiny gaps.
I find these methods very effective and also affordable. There are many different types of smoker sealant tape available in the market. You can buy according to your needs.
Which Is the Fastest Method
Sealant adhesives work faster in sealing a smoker. Silicone sealants are food safe and have excellent heat tolerance.
The red RTV silicone glue is ideal for attaching a fiberglass gasket or seal on the wooden doors.
While choosing the sealant adhesive, make sure it is non-toxic and safe to use in metals.
Try to use cured silicone sealants as they are non-toxic. Aquarium Caulk is silicone caulk, and they are very safe to use in smoking.
Alternatively, you may also use fire-resistant tape or mortar to seal the gaps. When you are short on time and do not have anything available at home, you can use the fresh dough.
It acts as an excellent seal for a short time.
Some Tips and Tricks
Besides sealing, you can also do these few things to prevent the smoker from leaking too much smoke.
- Use Smoker Frequently
If you use your smoker more often, it will create a carbon layer on the smoker’s inside surface.
Every time you smoke, the carbon-based matter will accumulate on the interior walls. It acts as a sealer and prevents escaping excessive smoke.
- Air-tight Seal
You have to make sure the lid stays in a proper position over the bottom piece. A slight change in the post will fail to produce an air-tight seal needed for perfect smoking.
The smoke can easily escape through the gap created by the misplaced lid.
- Adjusting Dampers
It is an excellent way to minimize the amount of smoke released. Adjusting dampers allow proper airflow in the fuel compartment.
Typically there are two dampers one is top and another is bottom dampers. It would be best if you kept open only the top damper.
It will keep the air flowing in and out of the smoker, which is enough for maintaining chunks smoldering.
By keeping the bottom damper closed, you can adjust your smoker’s temperature. It will minimize the airflow and create a cooler environment.
Smoke will only release from the top, so you don’t have to worry about losing too much smoke.
If nothing works then, you may need to replace your smoker. In most cases, cheap, low-quality smokers will leak too much due to the poor construction.
High-quality smokers with premium craftsmanship can significantly reduce the smoke leakage problem.
One such smoker is Primo Oval, renowned as one of the best smokers in the market.
Smokers, like every other piece of machinery, need proper maintenance to last a long time. Sealing plays an integral part in preserving the quality of a smoker.
It also saves you from losing money on fuel or fixing the smoker in the long run.
We hope our article helped you to know everything about how to seal a smoker. We also included some essential tips and factors to assist you.
So follow the information we provided and get the best out of your purchase.