Advice on a new build for a Smoker

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by brandonthompson, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. brandonthompson

    brandonthompson Smoke Blower

    I currently have a bigger smoker that a buddy helped me build. Its great for large amounts of sticks and summer sausage but, it's just to big for those smaller smoking tasks. Not to mention it runs off of 220 and that becomes difficult at times. If I ever move etc, ill have to have 220 to operate it.

    The fridge build I am thinking about is a single door build. (Mine currently is double door) The guy that im getting it from believes it to be 30" x 30' at least (assuming that is width x Deep). He has it in storage so I haven't been able to get a look at it and get true dimensions.. I am wanting to get a list of materials that will make this smoker awesome and efficient!

    Questions I have for you fellas...

    What size 110v heating element would you recommend ( with smoking in cold temps in mind, I live in Iowa)?

    What size exhaust would you use for the smoke stack/damper?

    I also want to be able to use sawdust (hickory) as I can get 40lb bags all day for little to nothing in my hometown. Its cost efficient to use the sawdust. Therefore, I want my build to be able to use sawdust. Any suggestions?

    Would you guys wire up a PID controller? If so what model brand?

    Another thing that my build currently lacks sometimes, is when drying out jerky the air flow doesn't circulate very evenly. Would you guys recommend some side holes/fans or whatever to get that air moving through better?

    I am also OPEN for any suggestions and will post pics of the exact unit once I can get over there to check it out. Right now I am going off of what he has told me. Thanks in advance

  2. Hello.  I see you are not getting any responses.  Maybe my "bump" will help.  Without "exactly" answering specific questions ( picts help ) I will give you my thoughts on any build.  I try to build as much versatility into any smoker I build.  SO!  I over build it.  Use the search bar for mailbox mod..  I think that is a GREAT add on the members have developed.  Yes I would install a fan.  If a 2"-3" exhaust "should" be fine then I'd put in a 4"-6" with a damper.  Larger intakes with dampers.  I would go for propane with oven type controls just in case I decide to ever load it in the back of the truck and take it some place for a party where electric may not be available.  

    I had a '50's fridge I planned to convert but Dad developed cancer and other of lifes' little surprises and that build got scuppered.  Dad doing better now.  I have a new old '50's fridge and that is my plan for it.  Even considering a trailer mount for easy transport.  NOW!  These things MAY not be needed but I like to have the choice of not using them versus wishing I had them or rebuilding and repainting the original build.  Just my way.  Good luck on the build.  Keep Smokin!

  3. I just started my early 50's fridge build.

    I don't have all the answers for you but I plan on using a Brinkmann electric 1500 watt element (110 so you won't need 220).

    I will be using a pid controller. My previous build used a $30 pid setup I got off ebay and it worked fine. This build will probably have an Auberins dual probe pid.

    I'm using 4 inch exhaust with damper.

    I will be using the amnps, not sure yet if i'll be using pellets or sawdust.
  4. Well there you go!  Some of your questions will come down to personal choice.  I'd bet the advice you received from curse is GREAT!  I did like to see he is building a '50's fridge and that 4" exhaust is probably larger than needed but he is installing a damper.  '50's fridges tend to be smaller.  BUT!  He has the option!  I LIKE OPTIONS!  YEP!  Mailbox mod with the AMNPS  is the way I would go.  Some of these things boil down to how much to spend.  "What will I EVER use it for".  The temps you think you will EVER need this smoker to achieve?  My advice is think it over well and build it once!  Don't go back and tear apart your "baby" to chop and change" it if you can help.  Also means a total new paint job.  Can get more expensive than adding original features you don't need.  Just my opinion.  Keep Smokin!

  5. brandonthompson

    brandonthompson Smoke Blower

    Curse - you wire up that pid? They difficult to wire on 110v circuit? I have a few questions on those. Can you upload some pics of the set up?

    Thanks everyone for the advice getting some great ideas and pointers
  6. It was really easy...just took some thought.

    Here are a few pics I took when I first wired it up. This is 110.

    Let me know if you need any more detailed pics.

  7. brandonthompson

    brandonthompson Smoke Blower

    Hmm.. yes I may have to get some details on the future build. Only thing not sure about is... with my current build and the one thinking about. I put my saw dust in a pan that sits directly on the burner element. With a pid that burner would be wired to a probe that would control the in house temp. I also steam coon my sausage and sticks. I set a pan of water on the burner. I may have to come up with different methods if I want to wire a pid. Don't think I could operate my process how I currently do

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