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Need ideas for a large smoker

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by tkirk22, Nov 10, 2008.

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  1. tkirk22

    tkirk22 New Member

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    I stopped by a local Government auction and bought this large aluminum proofing oven. It runs on 120v, has electric heat to about 180 degrees and a separate heat coil for humidity. The electrical section is built to be removable so the box can be steam cleaned.

    I really have no clue about larger smokers so any input would be appreciated. I plan to add an outside skin of aluminum flashing and insulation as well as remove the window and replace it with an insulated panel.

    I have an old fisher mama bear I could use for the burner. Is that going to be too large?

    Should I leave the electrical parts in the box and use it as back up heat (or humidity) in case the smoke can't maintain the box temperature?

    I was thinking about putting the smoke intake and output in the bottom half of the box, then a stack far enough above the box to create a draft. That way, I can block off the top half of the box to smoke a smaller load. Any guesses on if that will work?

    Any other ideas?

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  2. Molson

    Molson New Member

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    For something like that, I'd use a hotplate and wood chips.
  3. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    you can buy a off set fire box doesnt need to be bullet prof (lowes has them i think 59.00)
  4. triptester

    triptester Feeling the Heat

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    If it will maintain 180 degrees I would use it as is. All you have to add is a smoke generator.
    I made a smoke generator using 2" pipe and a air pump for a fish tank.

    Here is a smoke generator selling on E-bay to give an idea how it works, http://stores.ebay.com/BBQ-COLD-SMOKE-GENERATOR-SMOKER

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  5. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Lookin good right there!
  6. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    That unit with the smoke generator would be a nice fit. And if you wanted to cook with a bit more heat, maybe you can fab something up as all you would need would be a small firebox on the side. If you wanted to just use that stove, I think it would be fine but you would probably need to be able to divert smoke/heat into there rather than run it straight through - like putting a T and a couple of dampers in the stack.
  7. Mmaul

    Mmaul Minister of Fire

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    I will add my two cents in there I have used on many occasion what you have right there. Dont put any water in it and add your chips right on top of the heating element depending on brand there might even be a tray at the bottom to put water in just put wood chips in if its equiped. If you are planing on smoking alot modify it any way you would like I smoke in on about 4 times a year and they are never modified because we use them on a daily basis. The proofer is nsf certified which means National Sanitation Federation you should see it in a few places a pressure washer and some degrease right when you get done will clean it up like new everytime since it nsf rated you should have to worry about useing any product or pressure on them they are made to be abused. Your glass will get dirty but its nice to be able to look in and see how everything is doing without opening the door. If the door close nicely then smoke will exscape without having to adda chimney. It will work I have often thought about getting one for home but usaully are pretty beat up by the time they go to auction.
  8. Mmaul

    Mmaul Minister of Fire

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    I just looked it up that Cres-Cor goes for $1900 new. Hope you got a good deal.
  9. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    So you don't smoke anything at over the 180 degrees?? Ive done some things colder smoked before like Salmon but you cannot do Pork shoulder and others that low??
  10. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    180 TO 220 IS WHERE YOU SHOULD BE FOR PORK SHOULDER!
  11. Mmaul

    Mmaul Minister of Fire

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    A whole pork shoulder needs to be at 225-250 for 8-12 hours to get it to cook. If you need to smoke something that big then you need to add another heat source. If you are doing salmon or porkloin, pork chops or even ribs 180 will work just fine you might need to adjust how much time you will be smoking. The thermostate says 180 but they will easiely reach 200 just keep an eye on internal thermometer the cabinet thermo usaully get bumped and out of calibration very easy. To add another heat source wood coals make a wonderful addition get some red hot and add some to the chips this will help.
  12. Mmaul

    Mmaul Minister of Fire

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    We used to set 1400# pork butt in a commercial smoker and set it on 225 all night when we would show up in the morning it would be done. It would gas fire the wood as need very slick set up.
  13. tkirk22

    tkirk22 New Member

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    They had 2 at this auction. I got mine for $55 and stopped bidding on the second at $75. In retrospect, I should have gone higher.

    BTW, I also scored 2 LCD projectors for $20. One had 4 spare bulbs and they go for about $300 each. It's amazing the things these school districts throw away (errrr...auction).
  14. tkirk22

    tkirk22 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    After I posted the first message I did some midnight research and stumbled across the same type of cold smokers. Frankly, I'm surprised that a fish tank pump is enough to supply the smoke. I would have never guessed. It looks like the best way to go as it saves on wood chips and allows for cold smoking.

    Here's the modified plan: I'll leave the electrical elements in place and add a smoke generator. I'll also add a propane burner out of an old grill or oven along with some type of temp control. That way I can use the unit with electric at lower temps and propane at higher temperatures.

    That seems like an easier way than babysitting a wood stove and trying to maintain a temperature range.

    Triptester: Is your smoke generator a top down burn with an ash screen in the bottom and the smoke output at the top? Or do you light the bottom?

    I have an old stainless steel fire extinguisher that I was considering using. It's probably 8" in diameter though. It's overkill but maybe I could smolder the outside of a log with it rather than use wood chips.

    Thoughts?
  15. Mmaul

    Mmaul Minister of Fire

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    You got one heck of a deal on that proofer.
  16. triptester

    triptester Feeling the Heat

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    I made the smoke generator with a 16" long piece of 2" black pipe. The ash screen is 1 1/2" from the bottom and a 3/8" pipe outlet 6" up from the screen. I reamed out the threads of pipe couplings to close the ends so they would slide on. For the ash screen I used a hole saw to cut a circle out of some perforated metal I had. Than I put 3 self tapping screw into the pipe and laid the screen on them.

    The next one I build will be with 2" fence post pipe and caps, although I don"t know what effect the galvanize will have.

    The fish tank pump supplies just enough air to keep the wood pellets smoldering, to much air and they flame up.

    The first smoke generator I tried was a Smoke Pistol brand but it only accepted special cartridges and the smoke port was near the bottom where it clogged quickly.

    For heat I picked up an electric grill at Wall-mart on clearance .

    It burns from the bottom up.

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  17. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Hi Kirk- I really wouldn't call that a large smoker and it seems like you just need to do a little more research on smoking so you can figure out what you want and how to get it. There's a lot on the internet. Very popular is the old garbage can smoker. BUT, you have a lot more to work with in that unit.
    Yes it's a quaint, romantic notion to smoke over a fire in a old stone hut, or in a garbage can, but the reality is, the more control you have, the better your meat will be. We have the technology (cheap) and should use it. That unit can be set up for cold smoking and hot smoking and humidity is a concern at certain times.
    Do some internet searches. There are some great sites and forums.
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