Any Ideas how to make me Big Chief smoker more efficient?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by canadianbacon, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. canadianbacon

    canadianbacon Fire Starter

    Any Ideas how to make me Big Chief smoker more efficient? Being a student and living in a terrible area, I can't afford to buy a new smoker that is over 300$ for a hobby.  But I am interested in making my big chief abit better. Any modifications are greatly appreciated :)

    I smoke mainly jerky and salmon, will flavor chicken only in the smoker then cook in oven. Also I smoke in COLD weather. Like i'm talking as low as -30 degrees if I really want some jerk or if I get free salmon.

    Some things I seem to have issues with is the heat, It seems to dry certain racks more then others, would adding a fan help? and if so how would I position it? 
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The drip pan should help even out the heat.... and some type of insulating blanket should raise and even out the temps also... This is my set up I use for fish...... Dave

  3. canadianbacon

    canadianbacon Fire Starter

  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That material was left over after re carpeting my boat... It was a Cabelas carpet from the 70's....
    Look for a welding blanket... I think they are fire proof.... Check out Harbor Freight if all else fails..... It works really good... Some folks have used a cardboard box for insulation also... Tape up some cardboard to fit loose for a test run.... You may like it also.... Don't forget to allow for air leakage.... the smoker needs to breath....

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  5. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    When I used the Little Chief in very cold weather I made a sleeve from a sheet of foam insulation bought at Home Depot. Held together with long nails so I could take apart for storage. Foam easy to work with to cut necessary vent holes and slot for chip pan. Never got hot enough to melt or damage foam. I left about 1 in. of space between foam & unit. Should be able to do same with Big Chief.
  6. canadianbacon

    canadianbacon Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the ideas, the foam idea sounds great. I got lots of boxs in the basment so ill throw one over my smoker tonight when it gets dark and the temp drops. Making some smoked nuts, jerky and steak today.
  7. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    Just be sure to cut some vent holes both near the top and bottom to vent smoke and allow air in. Also never leave unattended for safety reasons.

    Also you will get some smoke staining on the outside of your smoker doing this.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  8. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Depending on one's definition of leaving a smoker unattended, I don't see why you can't leave them unattended assuming you have a wireless thermometer setup and the smoker is located away from the house and you are in the house, yard or somewhere on your property watching the wireless receiver.

    For both of my Big Chief smokers I dumped the original 450-500watt heating elements and installed a 1000 watt unit with a control knob.


    Tapayakin' from my iphone
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
    smoking timbo likes this.
  9. canadianbacon

    canadianbacon Fire Starter

    Ohhhhh man thats sick. Ima head to value village and look for somthing like this i can use! maybe use the old element then for a chesse smoker
  10. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The element is a Hamilton Beach Fifth Burner.
  11. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    Unattended meaning if he wraps the smoker in a blanket, cardboard or foam insulation. Possible fire hazards.
  12. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Awwwww, now I understand. 
  13. goliath

    goliath Smoking Fanatic

    if your handy you can wire in a burner from an old stove. even if its a 220 burner you will get about 60% of the wattage. most of the larger ( 8" ) burners are from 2100 to 2600 watts at 220v.

    give it a try and save yourself the $20.....  LOL

    actually have a buddy that did it, i also NOW have wired one into my big smoker as a supplemental heater to add to my brinkman to bring my rig up to temp faster.

  14. 5oakssmoker

    5oakssmoker Smoke Blower

    I may be just be doing something everyone else is already doing, but I put my meat on the lowest rack, and then wrap the higher racks in foil, also I pull off the top of the smoker and spread 3 sheets of foil over the top and put the lid back on, it holds the heat better and gets me close to 200` with just the original element.

    smoking timbo likes this.

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