Why Using Your Smoker Under the Sun Is Infinitely Harder (Do THIS!)

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  January 10, 2023

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I know I’m not the only one who asked this scorching question, but really, can you use your smoker under the sun? Warning: Don’t smoke your meat in the scorching sun yet if you haven’t read this article!

Smoking in the sun is possible but smoking meat is a balance between humidity and temperature, and the sun heats up your smoker without you having control over the amount of smoke from combustion in the firebox. This is especially difficult with low and slow cooking.

Let’s dissect this question to find the ultimate answer. Plus, you’ll get some extra pro tips and tricks that you can use to smoke your meat in the heat!

Can you use a smoker under the hot sun

The thing about smokers is that they shouldn’t be limited to certain days to smoke. Since I started smoking BBQs, I’ve found that smoking can be an art, and smoking in the heat of the sun makes it even harder.

Having a delicious meaty barbecue around should not limit us, whether it’s a sunny day, a cloudy day, or even a rainy day.

Although smokers are primarily designed for cooking outdoors, red-hot sunny days could affect the quality of your smoked meat.

Can a smoker sit out in the sun?

When black paint and the sun’s heat come into contact, the internal temperature of the smoker can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit, even when you aren’t starting a fire in the firebox. Leaving it out in the sun will also affect the black paint and cause it to deteriorate much faster.

So leaving a smoker out in the sun is a bad idea, even when not using it.

If you’ve tried to smoke in the open before with the sun looking angry at you, then you’ve noticed that there’s only a little to no smoke in your smoked BBQ.

That’s because you’ll have the heat in the firebox set to a lower temperature, compensating for the hot sun on the black paint of the barrel. But still, smoking on a sunny day shouldn’t stop you. It didn’t stop me either.

Continue reading on to find out how you can still have your delicious smoked meat using the lifehacks straight from my experience.

Smoker’s Thermometer

One way I can smoke my meat with tenderness on a sunny day is by testing its thermometer. Meat smoking is at its best when the temperature is around 200 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The internal temperature of most meats must be at least 145 degrees, while poultry has to reach 165 degrees to be safe. However, you will need a higher finishing temperature, perhaps 180 degrees, to produce a really tender barbecue.

However, the problem lies in the reliability of the temperature. If you think it’s always accurate and reliable, well, unfortunately, it’s not.

So, if you want to monitor your meat’s heat and identify whether it’s cooked, investing in a reliable smoker thermometer is a wise option, especially if you and your family smoke meat frequently.

And just like all the other smoker enthusiasts, I’m also using a digital dual probe thermometer. So, if you haven’t got one yet, I’ve got some wonderful options for you.

There are a lot of options to choose from on Amazon. Choose which one you like and suits your budget.

Also Read: Best BBQ Smokers for Beginners

Smoking BBQ from an unfriendly sun

I get that you worry about the sun, but who can ignore the smell of smoked barbecue on a hot summer day with a couple of beers? Well, lucky for you, because I’ve gathered three solutions for you to continue enjoying your BBQ on a scorching day.

  1. Get into the shade (under a tree or behind a building)

The temperature in the shade is a bit cooler than in the open sun. So, it helps to facilitate the balance between the smoker’s temperature and that in the shade. It will make your smoked BBQ taste just right.

But I know that not all of us are blessed with protective trees to allow us some delicious bites. In that case, you’ll have to choose the second option.

  1. Build a smoke shack beside your home

Some smokers build their own smoke shacks dedicated to smoking and fun family gatherings. Plus, you’ll be free from any threat of rain in the open.

Smoking shacks don’t have to be fancy; a simple shack made of light materials will do. They’re easy to build and won’t cost you more than $200. After that, prepare the cooler filled with beer, assemble your smoker with the marinated pork ribs, and call your family and smoking buddies.

  1. Smoke in the early morning or late in the afternoon

This is the last lifehack that you can do to get your bite on the tenderness of smoked meat on a hot summer day. If you don’t have the means to do the first two options, smoke in the early morning (around 7 to 9 am) or late afternoon (around 3 to 6 pm) instead—whichever serves you well.

The sun during these hours is a bit friendlier, even if he told you not to smoke some meat!

But did you also wonder if there’s a really perfect day to smoke?

There could be, but trust me; you’re likely to waste your time trying to find the perfect day to smoke.

Sunny day vs. cloudy day for smoking

Between sunny days and cloudy days, the perfect day to smoke lies in the balance between the two—not too hot, dim, or windy.

Imagine a day where it’s sunny but not too hot, and the trees are just calm. That could be your perfect day. But when you look at it in the big picture, it doesn’t really matter because you can just use a few tips and tricks to get your smoked ribs or brisket ready by the time your tummy says, “it’s time.”

Before you proceed to your next smoking session, ensure you’ve got the right meat cuts. Different meat cuts require different smoking temperatures. Another thing to look at is the wood used for smoking—fruit woods like apples and cherries are always a safe choice.

Summing Up

Smoking in a blazing sun can be tough to deal with, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting your smoked BBQ done. Using the tips and tricks you’ve learned from this article, I hope you’ll be able to use them to smoke your brisket or pork butt with full confidence next time.

Remember, smoking can be just about any day. You just needed to learn the secrets, and now you do.

If you enjoyed reading this BBQ-flavored article, please don’t forget to share it with your smoking buddies too!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.