Electric Smoker Build

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by twistedx, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. I am working on the design of a custom electric smoker.  I plan to make it between 4-5 feet long - I know most electric smokers are the vertical ones...any reason why a horizontal build would be a total failure?  I have kicked around the idea of having 2 heating elements to evenly spread the heat and I have thought of doing 1 heating element with some sort of heat plate to spread the heat.  Has anyone done a build like this that can offer some thoughts?

    A little more info:  5 X 2 X 2 is the general idea right now with one grate (also planning to incorporate a rotisserie).  Using a side mount smoke generator by smoke daddy and BBQ Guru electronics.  Probably going with 12 gauge steel.  I will decide on insulation later.


  2. I'd imagine the reason you don't many horizontal electric smoker builds, or on the market for that matter, is due to the heating capacity of the element. I know some electric models use I think a 1250W element, but a number of them use smaller ones. With a horizontal design, your going against the idea of heat rising naturally and being able to maintain temps that way.

    I think it's going to be necessary to have 2 elements in this build and a good idea to use a diffuser plate. Keep in mind, you'll like need 240V power in a single outlet or two 120V outlets to run the elements. 
  3. Heat rises and you have more usable space in vertical. Not to say it won't work.

    Happy smoken.

  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  5. If I was to build something like this, I would have to go the extra mile. I would build it with dual PID controls controlling each element independently. I would definitely insulate the box and absolutely use a diffuser plate. Keep us posted with pics and build progress if you decide to. 

    But to be truthful, unless your dead set on horizontal, I think you may be wasting your money on all the extra components this is going to require. 
  6. Thanks for all the input. I am going to re-think my plans.  I guess I favored the grill feel, but vertical does make the most sense.  Once I get started I will post pics of the process.  I do have a MES 40 now and love it, but it has a few things that gets on my nerves.  My goal will be to make it more user friendly and use materials that will last much longer.
  7. Which Gen is the MES40 you've got? What gets on your nerves? Maybe a few modifications might help and make it exactly what you need instead of building a brand new unit. Either way, good luck!
  8. I have one with the electronics on the back with the damper on the top right and the window on the front.  Mostly I don't like that the insides are rusting out even though I keep it covered when not using it and when I really load it up with butts I don't have the space between each grate.  I really need to be able to do 12+ butts at a time as my "hobby" has turned into more of a side business.  I would like it to be a bit wider to do a whole slab of ribs instead of cutting them in half.  And the wife really wants a rotisserie in it.  I just had to replace the heating element after 2 years of heavy use (not that bad), but I noticed a lot of the metal inside just rusting and falling apart.  I did a number of mods to it while I had it apart, but I want something that is more friendly with the racks and amount of food I can cook.  These are all personal things and my wife told me to just buy another MES or two, but I think that would start looking a little ridiculous on my deck.  I am leaning towards a MES style smoker on steroids.  Whatever I come up with I want it to be clean looking on the outside with plenty of customization options on the inside while still producing an amazing finished product.
  9. Sounds like a nice wish list. You'll get lots of great ideas on here from other members to get what your looking for out of it. Since electric seems to be your heat of choice, your going to want to keep the size of your box in mind depending on how many elements you use. 
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds to me like you have the right idea. If you are needing 12+ butts at a time for a business and not just doing weekend family smokes its definately time to be looking to upgrade to a more commercial type smoker. If your "hobby" does nothing more that pay off your new smoker its a winner. You want a more dependable larger smoker, built or bought. BUT you'll also need a better place to put it other than just under a cover.

    You don't want 3 or 4 more weekend warrior smokers when you need a commercial grade. There are a gazillion out there to evaluate and weight price vs value vs size vs work.

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