Smoker from a food warmer

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by rich-, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Here is my smoker made from a discarded food warmer,

    Plus a  pic of my first batch of Pepperoni[​IMG]
  2. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great idea!  What do you use to fire it?
  3. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    that's what i've been looking for..........nice score!
  4. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is great looking pepperoni and WOW what a smoker - nice score
  5. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice Smoker Rich...
  6. dutch

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

    Great looking sticks you have going there Rich. Can you show us some pics on how you converted the warmer to a smoker?
  7. I left the original electric heating element in it for low temps, like drying jerky, and I also drilled a hole through the side, mounted a Barbque control valve on the outside wall and then mounted a Nat Gas Barbque burner inside just above the electric unit.

    When I do Jerky, I turn on the electric unit and fire the gas burner and do 1 pan of wood chips, then shut it off and continue with the electric element untill the jerky is done.

    For smoking meat, I use the gas burner as I need the added heat that the electric unit dosn't produce, with what smoking I have done, I keep the heat around 220 degrees which dosn't seem to be to hot for the electric stuff. I have had temps as hot as 200 degrees with the electric unit, but on a cold damp day here in the Pac. N.W. its hard to maintain a good high temp using the electric unit, so that is why I installed the gas burner.

    One really neet thing about the food warmer, it has the shelf cleats all up both sides, I bought grill racks at Home DePot and cut to fit for my jerky and laying meat on for smoke, and I use wooden dowels resting on them cleats for hanging my pepperoni on.

    Will take pictures of the lower part showing the burner and post real soon.
  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now that is a fine smoker and a better find. I do like your pepperoni also. I can't seem to get enough of that stuff.
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Now that's got me thinking, you know those warming carts the airlines use, when they used to serve you a dinner on your flight. Bet there's a lot of them not in use now. I think they were all stainless. What a great smoker you could craft out of one of those guys.
  10. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    nice Score.. and the food looks great [​IMG]
  11. These arn't the best pictures of my smoker, but I wanted to get somthing back to everybody that has commented on my smoker. I hope these pictures can show what I have done for converting this food warmer over to my smoker[​IMG][​IMG]
  12. overshot

    overshot Newbie

    Rich I just came across a Cres-Cor non insulated food warmer similar to yours that I'm currently converting into a smoker.  The cabinet is the same as yours which fits standard 18X26" pans.  My electrical system is set up a little different than yours, probable because it was made in 1963.  I have a separate thermostat knob and a 10 hour timer with blower.  The blower blows the heat up the back wall in a separate channel that has slots in it which disperses heat pretty evenly to each of the tray racks.  It also has a removable 8X10 pan with a perforated lid built just above the heating element, the normally filled it with water which created steam. It also has a thermometer mounted on outside of the front door indicating internal temp of the cabinet, it states it will go up to 250 degrees.  I had to do some rewiring to the plug and free up the blower motor but I got it working.  The numbers have warned off of the thermostat knob so I’ll have to experiment with the position of the knob to see what temps I can get.  Today with after one hour with the knob turned 180 degrees the cabinet temp go to 130 degrees….more test to come.  My plan is to see if the pan resting on top of the element will get hot enough to burn wood chips/dust.  Not sure about adding gas just yet might not have to with the blower.  I’ll take some pics here in the next few days and share with you experts since I’m pretty new to smoking.
  13. Ive got a proofer/oven that looks about the same as yours. Mine is uninsulated, but I think I will add some insulating panels to mine. Mine has a humidity knob and heat knob. Has a separate element underneith a water resorvoir.
  14. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have been wanting to do the same thing myself....that is one fine smoker ! !  I hope to find one soon myself.
  15. I'm trying to find a food warmer to convert. 

    Any Idea where these might be found that need repair....?
  16. The food warmer I have came from the local school district. It normally has a fan in it, but the fan quit working and was removed, so the person in charge discarded it as a non functioning unit.

    I would check at Hospitals, School districs or even individual schools, bith public and private, also as one person mentioned, maybe now that the airlines are not serving meals, there may be a scource for their unwanted food carts.

    I have a request in  with my guy at nthe school district here to let me know if anymore come available, also I would guess a person could put a want ad on Craigs List and also keep an eye on Ebay.

    Hope this helps, Rich
  17. Great ideas, thanks.  I did try a local resturant vendor, found 4 used units....but the asking was $900. each.......
  18. regwil1965

    regwil1965 Newbie

    Nice setup.  I just obtained an insulated holder.   In installing the gas insert, is ventilation needed?  Thanks for your time.
  19. Hey Rich, that is one nice mod!  Really like your entire idea!

    One thing caught my eye though... in one of your pictures, you have an arrow pointing to a 'lead' block holding the burner.  Do you mean lead as in the heavy metal lead?

  20. nepas

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

    Thats what i have. All the controls are in the bottom slide out. I put in a new thermo couple, high heat wiring, relay and switch for the fan. The heater can get to 280 if needed. Done hundreds of lbs of jerky, SS, Sticks in it.


    My hanging dowels.

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012

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