old fridge smoker - works in cold weather

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by runger, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. runger

    runger Newbie

    Hi everyone.

    Just signed up today and thought I'd put up a pic of my new smoker, made from an old fridge and some old oven parts. The whole project cost about $60 - including the saw blade I needed! [​IMG] Everything was used and only cost a couple bucks, except for the smoking element (in the front) which I picked up for $30.

    About a month ago I was smoking ribs in -25'C weather, and they were the best I made so far. It uses a heat thermostat from an oven and two stove elements for auxiliary heat. The aux heat elements also serve as a fresh air intake, which relies on convection to draw fresh air in. [​IMG]

    The chimney (which you can't see in the picture) is ducted outside my shed. A nice, simple design.

    I was quite happy with it when I realized that I am able to nail down the internal temperature to a 20' range.

    Pls comment and feel free to give me clever ideas on how to improve it.

  2. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ron, what do you use as a catch pan? I'd sure hate to see that smoker go up in flames if grease from butts comes in contact with the heating elements!! [​IMG]
  3. runger

    runger Newbie

    Its so big, I haven't filled it up yet (one tray is missing from the picture - you can see the posts near the top) - so I just usually put a pan on the lowest rack.

    But once I start filling it up, I'll put in some more posts in at the bottom so I can hang some kind of pull out tray.

  4. runger

    runger Newbie

    By the way, Dutch - awesome baked beans.

  5. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds great, Ron. I had a friend that put a lot of work into a smoker only to have burst into flames and self destruct because he didn't think about grease and heat!!!

    Thanks-it's seems that they are a big hit here!![​IMG]
  6. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice call Dutch !!!

    I like the smoker, you have put quite a bit of thought into it, ecspecially with the burners and airflow. In the pic I can not spot the oven burner?

    If you have any plans of making jerky I would look into having many more racks. Also if sausage smoking is a thought I would put a dowel rack across the top for hanging sausages.

    What type of set up do you have for a wood chip tray?

    I have made a few fridge-smokers and am very, very impressed with the burner/airflow set up; great idea !!!
  7. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice work Ron. Hope it works as good as it looks.
    I noticed (looks like anyway) that you could add up to 4 racks if you wanted. Maybe add something to the bottom to catch your drippings so you have that extra rack open for meats?
    Wasn't sure what -25C was but Googled and saw it was -13F for the rest of us.
    What sort of element did you purchase (and let us know how well it works)?
    I'm working on building a smoker right now but haven;t gotten to the part where I have to install the elements/hot plates so it would be great to knwo how well the brand you used works for you.
    Would love other peoples input on that as well.
    So anyway,
    Welcome to the forum and the worls of smoke runger. Hope to hear many success stories.
    Where abouts are you located by the way?
  8. runger

    runger Newbie

    No, there's no oven burner - just the two range elements. They work great, and can be easily removed - and they ramp up the heat in that cabinet so quickly! The only thing I'm using from an oven is the thermostat that I have mounted on the left side. Don't think you can see it very well, but you can see the temp probe at the back, near the top and to the left.

    oh - that's why people put so many rack mounts in. I was wondering about that. I haven't done any jerky yet, but we're taking a road trip in the summer - might be an idea.[​IMG]

    The horizontal disk just in front of the two range elements is a ceramic element for a wood chip pan. I just put my old wood chip pan right on it. I used to worry about opening the door to my old smoker because it would take an hour to get the heat back up to where it was before I opened it, but this beast recovers in about 5 minutes in the dead of winter! [​IMG] I'm starting to wonder if it's going to be too hot in the summer, even with the auxiliary elements off. I think with the damper open, though, it should be ok.

    Thank you.
  9. runger

    runger Newbie

    it's a little 250watt ceramic element. I got it because it the installation was a breeze. Its a replacement woodchip element for a smoker (don't know what kind). I got it at a store we have up here that's kind of like a Cabela's. It works great. It provides smoke for about 1.5 hours to 2 hours from a little chief style woodchip pan. I started to make plans for a more complicated system to change out the woodchips to preserve the heat, but then I realized, if I address the heat issue, I wouldn't have to worry about changing the woodchips. It works great as far as I can see, but then I am still learning. Ask me again in a year.[​IMG]

    I'm up in central Canada. It gets cold up here, but in the summer it can get pretty hot too.

    If anyone has some ideas about grease catcher, I'm all ears.
  10. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great looking rig. I'm a huge fan of refer smokers. Are you using 220 volts, or just 110? I struggled with the grease containment issue on mine for awhile. I wanted some means of catching it then allowing it to flow away from the inside of the cabinet. I had seen a custom made one where the builder incorporated a series of V shaped troughs and "roofs" that overlapped, but allowed heat and smoke to flow. The troughs were angled to flow to a single gathering trough in back, which then flowed to a collection vessel. The builder was a tinner by trade. It was a great looking idea. So far, all I've done is placed two 1" deep cookie trays on a shelf about 6 in. above the burners and put an inverted V at the joint to funnel the grease into the trays. It works pretty well.
  11. runger

    runger Newbie

    Hi mulepackin.

    Just 110v - that's why I put in two aux elements - although I'm not sure it was necessary, in retrospect.

    I think you've got a good solution there - it even lets some smoke through.

    Thanks for the picture.
  12. cowgirl

    cowgirl Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great looking smoker Runger![​IMG]
  13. oneeye

    oneeye Fire Starter

    Looks good! What did you use for a door seal?
  14. Now that is very cool. I would love to do that one day!!!!!! [​IMG]
  15. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well know that right there be a fine lookin smoker. Got one real close ta that I'm gonna finish up fer sausage, bacon an ham this summer.

    Old fridges like that er great!
  16. teacup13

    teacup13 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    very nice way to keep Q'ing in the cold...

    the only thing that concerns me is if you used the original racks from the fridge, most of them are galvanized(i could be wrong) or have some sort of plastic coating on them... when we had one like that, we just went and got some old oven racks from the junk yard and used them.

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