Cold-warm smoker - electrical safety concerns

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by gasbag, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Hi there!

    I have a small, 4-burner gas BBQ with a hood that I'm thinking of setting up as cold-warm smoker.  As a heat source, I'm thinking of using an old, old, old Sunbeam deep fryer, which looks very similar to the pale deep fryer shown in the attached image.  


    It also has a deep fryer basket (which I may or may not use), very similar to the basket shown in the second picture of the more modern, black deep fryer, but the handle is gone.


    I'm thinking of filling an alfoil pouch with Red Gum sawdust, wrapping it up tightly, punching a few small holes in the alfoil, then putting it in the deep fryer with the thermostat set to a very low setting, then lowering the BBQ hood.  There is no doubt it will generate smoke, but because the deep fryer will be under a hood, the plastic handles and electrical cord will also be under the hood.  Firstly, would this most likely give cold, warm, or hot temperatures, underneath the BBQ hood?  And since it will be on for hours, this has me worried about the potential for a fire/electrical hazard, even though I won't be using gas as a heat source.

    Is there anyone with some experience or expertise with this sort of thing that can offer me some safety advice please?  Please understand I'm a newbie here, so if for some reason the pictures don't display properly, please let me know.

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Gasbag, I have no idea if this will work...  I would guess the temp will be really low.... like a cold smoke... Dave
  3. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What BBQ hood you might show us a pic of what you intend to use for heat to cook the meat.  I get you want to use a deep fat fryer for smoke generation, but not sure what you intend to put the meat in?

    One solution so you don't have to worry about the ruining the deep fat fryer, is to make a cover with a 3" flex (like alum type), and pipe that to your heat source for the meat.
  4. I recently used a 40 Watt soldering in a cold smoking set up.  Not only did it trip out the Residual Current Switch in my fuse box, but even after I disconnected the Soldering Iron (which had shat itself) and turned off the power point, the Residual Current Switch still could not be turned back on.  I had to get an all-night electrician to come out and do a temporary repair on it.  While I didn't want him to spend hours doing a major electricl overhaul, he sort of said "something wasn't right", either with the power point or the fuse box, but he couldn't be sure what was going on (without a major investigation).  I'm hoping that the wiring isn't stuffed up somewhere between the two units.

    Soon, I am thinking of getting an electrical BBQ grill, something like this one:

    The reason being, it kills two birds with one stone.  Firstly, I love cooking with them because you get a nice, even heat, without flare-ups.  And it might be able to serve as a heat source for a cold smoker.  I'm fairly sure that this particular BBQ grill is thermostatically controlled, so it doesn't just pump heat continuously.  What I want to know is:

    Would a 2400W BBQ grill, such as the one above, be able to smoke sawdust?  What about wood chips?  I'd put down a layer of alfoil first.

    Most importantly, are there any sort of weatherproof, outdoor power points that have some sort of reset switch and electrical protection than can safeguard against the sort of problem I described above?  What about weatherproof, outdoor powerboards that can act as an additional line of protection?  The bottom line is, anything I use would obviously need to be left on for long, extended periods.  Obviously an electrician would be needed, but I want to know if any dometic products would suit this type of scenario.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  5. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You've got a nice gas grill, just get an Amazen pellet cold smoke generator and some pellets:

    Put it off to the side on your grill, let it do it's thing, no cords, no mess, no fuss, it will smoke 8 - 10 hours all by itself and fill under your hood with delicious cold smoke!  If you desire to add heat, light up a burner on the opposite side on low, turn it on and off as you see fit to keep a temp range you like.  Solved, no electric cords, nothing.  You will be absolutely A-Maze'd!

  6. fishwrestler

    fishwrestler Smoking Fanatic Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I would be more concerned about the dust you are using then the using the deep fryer as your heat source for a cold smoke generator.

    Red Gum defined as any of several trees of the genus Eucalyptus,  especially E. camaldulensis,  having smooth, gray bark.

    DO NOT USE -  ELM, EUCALYPTUS, SYCAMORE, SWEET GUM TREES and LIQUID AMBER wood is unsuitable for smoking.

    Just and FYI

  7. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    gasbag, you got me confused.....

    You own a 4 burner gas grill,  (I asked you to show us a pic) since you asked what would work for smoke generation for that grill.  Instead you post a pic of a electric BBQ grill and ask a several different questions.

    Is there a problem with the gas grill?  Do you live in an apartment and they get upset when people bbq, so you want to switch to the electric?  I just don't understand the idea of switching, or even spending money on one if you have a good working gas grill.

    You already say you have electrical problems, using an electric BBQ grill that uses 2400 watt element is going to put a serious load on your electric panel.

    Post the pic of your gas grill, there are ways to set it up for cold smoking or low heat smoking, but until we can see it, it is difficult to make suggestions.
  8. Thanks for all the replies from everyone - really do appreciate it.

    I've ordered the Amazen SAWDUST smoker, not the PELLET smoker.  I spoke to one of the Aussie retailers, and they told me the Pellet smoker will work for either sawdust or pellets, but the sawdust is likely to burn up fairly quickly in the Pellet smoker.  But can you somehow add a small candle underneath the Amazen Smoker....just to "help the sawdust along" somewhat?  It's just that the sawdust I've got (Australian Redgum) is GREAT, but it isn't super dry like finely powdered sawdust left in the middle of the hot desert sun for a month.  It's also quite "thick" sawdust, not ultra fine.  Make no mistake, it burns....just not as easily as some types.  Any tip here?  Can you set up a candle with this smoker?  Tiny bits of crumpled paper to the mix?  Anything else?  Like I said, this sawdust does burn, but it isn't gunpowder.
  9. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Can you post a pic of of your sawdust, and I can tell if it's too coarse?

    Powdered sawdust does not burn well either.  What you're after, is finely ground sawdust, where the fibers are exposed.  Sawdust that similar in size to what comes off a miter saw or table saw works best.

    Sawdust burns very well in the New A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER(AMNPS).  Your retailer is incorrect to say anything different.  Since the AMNPS has 3 wide rows, instead of 5 narrower rows of the AMNS, it burns at a rate very similar to burning 2 rows of the AMNS.  Ultimately, you get about 9 hours of sawdust burning in the AMNPS, and 12 hours of pellets burning in the AMNPS.

    How are you getting your Red Gum Sawdust?

    Buying it?

    Using a chain saw?

    Circular saw?

    Try drying 1# in the oven for 45 minutes at 300°F

    Sawdust really needs to be less than 8% moisture content to burn properly in the AMNS

    Keep us posted!

  10. id be somewhat scared of that setup - specially with the plastics - dont want the plastics to start melting and release any toxins in the food - one the plastic is a little soft its too late - might as well dump the load of meat in the trash cause the plastic is already releasing toxins - and those electrical cords cannot stand up to any kind of heat
  11.  As Todd says, the dust works fine in the Pellet AMNPS. If someone finds that the dust burns too quickly, perhaps the AMNPS was located too close to the heat source. I place the AMNPS in my MES40 in the center of the bottom rack. Since this is above and near the heat source, I put the AMNPS inside a small baking pan (with a few holes drilled in the sides for air). The baking pan acts as a heat deflector and the dust burns at a reasonable rate. Just my experience.
  12. Okay, let me explain.

    I got this Redgum sawdust (a whole massive, whopping big sack of it) from my butcher, who uses it to smoke his hams and bacons.  And the taste and smell of his ham and bacon is unbelievable.  He has a smokehouse, and if I remember correctly, he said he gets individual pages of newspaper, scrunches them up into loose balls, then pours the sawdust over the top of them.  Then he tears up long, separate strips of newspaper, and somehow places/pushes them onto the sawdust.  I don't if that's exactly right, but that's as best as I can describe.  This stuff definitely burns, but I haven't been able to get it to burn continuously.  But I haven't tried it in a Amaze-N Smoker, which has lots of air holes all around.  The thing is, this stuff is really soft and earthy in smell, and isn't the tinder-dry sawdust that most people are used to dealing with.  So I got some advice and microwaved it in short stints (30secs) in big, clean, dry glass jars.  Aside from the fact that glass heats up incredibly quickly and gets scorching hot, I noticed that the level of sawdust in the jar dropped.  Also, the sawdust "splinters" are much, much drier, and it has lost most/all of it's earthy aroma.  I've now lidded these jars and stashed them in the back of the cupboard.  I've included some close-up photos of this sawdust.  Any advice to help it burn in the Amaze-N Sawdust Smoker?


    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2012

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