I want to go charcoal...AM I CRAZY?

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by city boy, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. This is my SS lined plywood cold smoker I built. I was planning on trying to somehow start a fire in it. Was thinking about using some fire bricks on the bottom as well as above the charcoal on the first rack as a heat shield. I've got a damper on the chimney already and the intake is a home heat register with a flapper damper on it as well. I realize that I may need to swap the intake out with something non toxic but what other problems am I looking at running into? I just want to get it 225. Obviously maintaining the fire without letting all the heat out is also a problem, I was thinking about replacing the 3 1/2 x 10 intake vent with a door (with a damper) for feeding the fire. Am I crazy? Should I just build a separate for box and duct it in instead?
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is JMHO and an idea as I read your post.

    You are familiar with the MES smokers ,I'm sure . Well , I was thinking a couple of the AMNPS's an a hot plate would be a good set up it your case.

    The "Mailbox" modification a lot of folks have done here on the MES's  might work since it seems you only  want to"Smoke" at lower temps.(for Hams , Bacon , and etc.) A small wattage hot plate would give you 225*F easy.

    Just an idea , others with more ideas will be here soon , so get ready for a good discussion...

    Have fun and . . .
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Or build a block fire pit and pipe the smoke and heat in.
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Build a seperate pit/firebox and pipe it in. Open flame and wood generally don't mix well - not worth risking a fire.
  5. @oldschoolbbq
    Yah I'm currently using a 1500w hot plate, it gets up to about 160 max. I just have a cast iron pan with chips in it and a 12x16x1/2 chunk of aluminum as a heat shield. I think the elements just turn off too often. Question though, what couldn't i do at 225? That's my ideal temp on my primo and I do shoulders, brisket, ribs and everything.
  6. @JIRodriguez @c farmer
    I think that's the way to go I guess. The hole for my existing intake vent is about 3x10, the smoker is 13.5 cubic feet and the exhaust is a 4" round with a damper. I figured I needed about a 4 square foot fire box. Does all that sound right?
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do a Google search for "pit calculator" there are some good free pit calculators where you can put in the size of your chamber and it will then help you figure out the size of your firebox.
    city boy likes this.
  8. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit

    The trouble with using a hot plate is that they have a thermal shut off circuit built into them to keep the unit from getting hot enough to damage the housing the element is in. That is why you are only getting to the 160 max you are seeing. If you decide to go electric, and IMHO that is what I would do with a steal lined wooden cook chamber, here is a link you may find useful.

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