Pellet smokers are a great alternative to traditional barbecues and charcoal grills. They offer versatility and are good for almost any cooking opportunity you can imagine. There is no doubt about it, pellet smokers are the way to go when it comes to smoking your food.
But as a pellet smoker owner, you’re probably wondering how far away your smoker should be from your home before you can enjoy the benefits of barbecue cooking. When cooking on a pellet smoker, it is important to try to keep them as far away from your house as possible.
Pellet smokers can put out a lot of heat. These temps are hot enough to burn wood, so they make a lot of smoke as well. So this brings up the question: how far away from your home should you be cooking on a smoker?
There are many answers to this question depending on the size of grill you have, the amount of pellets you’re burning, the food you’re cooking, and where you live in relation to the wind direction.
Ready for some enlightenment? Let’s begin!
Are Pellet Smokers a Fire Hazard?
Many individuals are drawn to pellet smokers because of its versatility, as well as added features like WiFi connectivity (think of smokers by Green Mountain Grills). However, it is crucial to understand that there’s always a risk when dealing with fire.
There are possible safety hazards and issues if the smoker is not properly cleaned or operated. For instance, a tiny explosion might result from a fire that spreads back quickly into in the grill’s pellet hopper or a buildup of too much smoke during startup. There’s also the risk of something like a grease fire.
Because pellet smokers, like many other BBQ grills, provide a possible fire and safety risk, you should use them in areas where it is safe to do so.
How Far Should Your Smoker Be From the House?
The distance between your pellet smoker and your house is a personal choice. The best way to determine how far away you should be from your pellet smoker is by considering the size of your property and the amount of space that you have available for outdoor cooking.
If you live in a small home where smoke can easily fill up almost the entire house, then it’s probably best to keep your pellet smoker at least 50 feet away from the house. Otherwise, feel free to set up your smoker closer to the house—but only if there are no combustible materials in the area.
Another way to answer this question is to first consider what kind of food you’re going to be cooking. If you’re looking for something more casual, like burgers and hot dogs, then perhaps a short distance away would suffice. If you’re planning on cooking more complex meals, like steak or ribs, then it might be best to keep your smoker at least 50 feet away from your house.
The next thing you’ll want to consider is whether or not there are any neighbors who may have allergies that could cause problems for them if they were exposed to smoke from your pellet smoker.
A good rule of thumb when using pellet smokers: Only use pellet smokers in areas with enough air circulation to release extra smoke and heat, away from flammable materials on all sides and over the pellet smoker.
Can You Use a Smoker on a Wooden Porch or Deck?
You can definitely use a smoker on a wooden porch or deck. It’s also a great place to keep smoking pellets if the rain or snow sets in. But you should be aware of some important considerations before doing so.
Make sure there’s at least 1 to 2 feet of room behind your smoker as well as to its sides so that hot smoke does not contact the railing and furniture.
Pellet smokers require at least 3 to 4 feet of vertical space to allow hot smoke to cool before it hits any ceiling or combustible item.
Pellet smokers produce a lot of heat. Because these temperatures are high enough to burn wood, they can produce a lot of smoke if your area has insufficient ventilation.
It is important to keep your pellet smoker as far away from your house as possible when cooking. But sometimes, bad weather conditions call for an alternative.
The good thing is that pellet smokers can also be used on porches or decks—covered or not. However, to drive the cloud of smoke out and keep the area from becoming entirely smoked out, adequate ventilation is required.
Always remember that hot smoke must be able to exit safely, which necessitates leaving adequate space between the walls and the roof.
Pellet smokers and any other type of grills are not advisable to be used in confined spaces or locations with inadequate air movement, including a garage.