Vertical Pellet Smoker Build (Food Warmer/Proofer)

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by trippy, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    I have been wanting to build a bigger smoker to handle a large amount of meat. I have a very nice heavy duty offset now. Been using it for a lot of years now. It is a Brinkmann Pro series with made from 1/4 steel. Once a year I find it filled to the max with no room for more.

    Here a few weeks back I found myself at a local auction. I was there for some wooden topped tables. After looking through all the stuff they had I caught eye on this hot cabinet. It was all aluminum inside and out and bigger then most refrigerators. So I stayed to give it a bid. Won the bid for 17.50$. Damn near fell over. So I am currently in the throes of turning it into a pellet smoker using the pellet pro hopper. Here is my progress so far.

    Now there still more to go. Here is the run down on the photos. Fist was the box when I got it home. Then we put in a ceiling vent to open up the draft. Installed the hopper on left side. Put the heat probe on the back in center level of the cooking area. Modified some racks to hold my drip pan. It is scrap stainless picked up for 16$ at the recycle center. It was a semi quarter fender. Drove over it a few times to flatten it down. Then worked it on my anvil. Top I am making rods to do hanging meat. I have picked up stainless shower curtain hangers, making them into meat hooks. Still have to get drip tray and the side vent before I start my testing.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
    tjmitche likes this.
  2. seguragreenwave

    seguragreenwave Fire Starter

    Great start!   Build Looks somewhat familiar...... :)
  3. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Have a few more little tidbits to put in and then it'll be on to the testing. Picked up some four-inch exhaust pipe and got it welded in a 90° angle to be installed this weekend. Will paint it with high temp silver paint to keep with the aluminum color. At which point I should be able to go ahead and test my hopper assembly for how well I can manage my temperatures . Then I only need to wait for my 21" x 26" racks for the shelving X3.
  4. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Finishing touches to the vertical smoker. Got my racks installed as well as the smoke stack. Here's the pictures. I have done some testing with it. The smoker is amazingly good at holding temp now that I have the second vent installed into the door. have run it down to 180 deg up to 325 deg. I am sure I could take it higher then that in temp but really don't see the need in a smoker.  It has plenty of room for more racks if I need to get beyond 1640 inches of cooking space. 3 racks at 21 in X 26 in.  It will do well to hang meat too for jerky or sausage as well. 

    I have only to install my thermometer into the door to finish it out. So far I have cooked some great stuff on it. The wood chip box adds that extra umph for the smoke said to be missing in the pellet smokers. The cast iron lid is held up over the burner by some stainless rods that I bent and screwed down to the pot. That took some work on the anvil to work up. It could be also accomplished through the box store. Looking forward to cooking up, two 14 lbs briskets next weekend. 

    I still have to install the back panel that will provide convection cooking if I desired to do so with the built in fan system on the unit. 

    I think it turned into a worthy smoker unit I would pay thousands to buy. All in all I got just a tad over 1100$ into it. The stainless grill grates cost the most. I am sure I could have come up with something less costly but if your going to have it for a while.. why not.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
  5. seguragreenwave

    seguragreenwave Fire Starter

    Looks great! Ready for some Q-view, now.

    Where did you source the stack?
  6. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    The stack is a 4 inch exhaust pipe that was cut and welded by a neighbor. He does quit a lot of machine work on engines. He traded the labor for some lumber I had on hand. So didn't cost me anything beyond the 12.50$ per foot of pipe.. I used 3 feet for it. Tabs were welded on by neighbor and I just used hole saw to cut out the hole and rivet the pipe to the wall. I put in a 4 in damper in the top. I want to add a hat to it so it does not take in any rain if out in open.

    I seen that Pellet Pro inc is selling a new item to increase the smoke with wood chunks.Its the Jen-u-wine system for the pellet pro cookers. Funny that I did the same thing with my cast iron lid diffuser. So far the few times I have been using it.. It has been spot on with temp. I can find 0 complaints so far about it.

    The door thermometer seem to run off the temp.. So I removed it waiting for a better one to install.. I have inside oven thermometer at the top of the cabinet and it runs spot on with the temp setting of the pellet pro thermometer that is mounted just below the middle rack. I have not done a biscuit test on it. I think its running good without any cold spots. Don't know if I will get to do a biscuit test prior to my brisket cook on the 12th.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  7. muralboy

    muralboy Smoking Fanatic

    Nice looking build. What a great find
  8. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Size testing my grill space for the brisket cook coming today. Two 13.5 lbs briskets for planned cook coming tonight. There will be more of that posted to the beef section. They look to fit just fine as you can see... now what to put on the other 2 racks.. lol  

    Just a note here these cooked out great.. For some reason they were done early. They were done at the 12 hour mark. I just rapped them in butcher paper and put them in the oven at 150 till the BBQ was ready 6 hours later. Was none left over after everyone at the BBQ was fed. Was a big hit. To rate how they come out on a 1-10 scale I would say solid 9.  I think they could have had more smoke ring on them. It will be something I will try to work out on next cook.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
  9. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Temp out side is in the low 40's wet rainy night and I want to make jerkey.  Here it is about 11:00 PM turning on the smoker for a all nighter. Well going to be a all nighter for it I will go to bed shortly and forget about it. I did my cure up on friday night giving it about 30 or so hours to do it stuff. I got the pellet pro set to 165 loaded with hicory/pecan mix. Now just let it do its stuff for a while.


    This is the Jerkey loaded on to the grills. Its about 8 lbs of Flank Steak. I didn't like the fact it was angus flank and was a bit fatty. But the last bunch I did of the same turned out ok. I did that bunch in a slab form. This time I am trying strips to see if I can get it drier.

    Have plenty room in this beast to add more racks. At least 3 or 4 more for sure if I wanted. Only down fall is the cost of them racks are spendy.

    I will update a morning picture as well as the final take off picture.
  10. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Hey there folks, i got up this am about 7 to see how things were doing. This is what it looked like in the Cres Cor Smoker.

    Took off a piece to give it a test. The thiner stuff was nice and dry the thicker was dry but had a bit more moisture do to thicknes.

    Now its pilled up on at 10x13 cookie sheet to cool off before I vaccum seal it in bags. It was tasty tasty!

    The Cres Cor pellet smoker didn't miss a beat all night. I checked it again about 1 hour into the cook and it was running 165 where I had it set at. By this am it was creaping along at 171.  The jerky has a very nice smokey taste. About the same as if you had used a good smoke flavor in the brine mix and dried it in your oven.
  11. nevrsummr

    nevrsummr Meat Mopper

    What a great find! Exactly what I am looking for.
  12. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the props!

    Watch up coming auctions when they are selling comercial equipment from schools. You can also look for a early year fridgerators to do the same with slightly less space. This cooker has enormous capacity beyond what most would use. I have a yearly cook for lots of friends and family that calls for cooking a large amount of food.

    Hope it gives you ideas on some things you can do with items often not looked at when shopping smokers.
  13. nevrsummr

    nevrsummr Meat Mopper

    How does the reinland auction work? I actually have two builds going right is posted under fridge builds. Working on it now.
  14. tjmitche

    tjmitche Smoke Blower

    Fantastic build. I'm inspired![​IMG]
  15. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Thanks TJ... It sure works nice too.
  16. trippy

    trippy Smoke Blower

    Wanted to bring an update to this build. It has been over 6 months now since I took on this build. The build is for the most part finished but it always has room for possible growth. The space I currently have in it, is not used to its max capacity. I rarely have a need for more capacity then the 1600+ inches of cooking space I am using now. If I want at a later point to add more racks it certainly can take them.

    Now since it was finsished at the end of August I had the chance to run it in lots of different outside temperatures. The out side temps have ranged from 70 degrees down to 5 degrees during this winter. Yep I was using it when it was 5 degrees outside! I have to say it hardly mattered outside temp when running. It managed the temp setting within 5 degree of the set temperature. The temperature of 165 degree for jerkey or 375 for pizza.  I have done lots of different cooks on it smoking Brisket, Turkey, Pork Butts, Jerkey, Pork Loin, Ribeye and even Pizza.  The heat sheild, that is a cast iron lid for a 14 pan, works great for putting wood on for extra smoke. I often use a chunk of Oak or Maple on it for a twist on the smoke flavor. When cooking turkey or chicken I smoke at 225 degrees till I get about 170 inside temp then turn up the heat to 325 till I get 190 inside temp. You get great juicy chicken and turkey with a crispy skin. The smoker workes flawless doing this with just a push of a button.

    There was a few things I had to change. One of them was the upper door seal had to be replace with a felt seal. Reason being when I cranked it up hot for the pizza the rubber seal just fell apart. If I do much more higher temp cooks I am sure I will have to replace the bottom door seal too. In the begining I had some trouble with heat creep. Meaning the temp just kept creeping higher even though the temp was set at a low setting. I solved this by adding in a second lower vent in the door. During cold weather cooking, those vents can be closed off but during warmer weather they are critical to keeping control of the temperature.

    I found this smoker so easy to use now that I am doing lots of smoking of foods I rarely did in the past. It use to be just a summer thing before this smoker. Now I have to say its a smoke any weekend thing. The easy of use is compairable to using a gas grill. With a push of a button its going and within a few min its warmed up and ready for you to smoke what ever you desire.

    Here was our Thanksgiving bird!


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