Smoke can escape from a Smokey Mountain Cooker in a few different locations, and they are not designed to be 100% airtight, nor do they have to be in order to provide excellent results.
To help understand why some smoke escapes, it's important to know about the design of the smoker itself.
Our smokers are based on a basic 3-piece design: the lid, the center ring, and the bowl.
The 3-piece design allows for the smoker to be easily transported. The center ring features an aluminized steel door that provides the ability to add more charcoal or wood to the smoker, as needed throughout smoking sessions. The door is also designed to hold up to the moisture generated by the smoker to prevent any corrosion from developing.
It’s not unusual for smoke to escape from between each of the 3 pieces, especially on a new smoker.
It’s also common for some smoke to leak near the edges of the smoker door.
Over time, carbon will build up and may decrease the amount of smoke that leaks out, but there’s always a chance that a little bit of smoke will get through, even on older, well used smokers.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s not going to affect the ability to make some amazing smoked food. There’s already going to be smoke escaping from the vent on the lid, and sometimes some may even come out through the vents on the bowl.
Extensive testing (and many delicious racks of ribs, brisket, turkeys, and pork shoulders that we’ve eaten) has proven time and time again that having some smoke escape doesn’t stand in the way of creating some truly amazing smoked food.
Check out our tips on using a Smokey Mountain Cooker.
For some of our most popular smoking recipes, check out this page, or, you can find our full smoking cookbook here.
You can also find all of our smoking woods here.