Commercial SS Fridge Build: My First Try

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by mneeley490, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. yeah I was looking for an older commercial fridge but they are hard to find, I have an old 1950's  fridgidaire, but the damn thing still works, and works good to I hate to kill it for a smoker..LOL

    5 minutes after I asked you about the foam, I got news that a guy I know who works at a restaurant supply, said he has a warming rack for me hopefully it will be what I am looking for and the right $$
  2. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Big Casino, yeah, I understand. My fridge was still working when I bought it, and I did feel kinda bad about gutting it. Brand new, that fridge sells for over $6,000. But it was exactly what I was looking for at the time.

    My nephew has an old fridge in his garage that he keeps beer in. I think it was a Fridgidaire. I replaced the cord on it a few months ago (they were getting shocks from the handle) and inspected the underside motor & condenser. Tag on it said it was manufactured in 1951. Wow! After brushing away the dirt & cobwebs, the underside looked brand new! Still working like a champ. I know it's a cliche, but they really don't make 'em like that anymore.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  3. sunman76

    sunman76 Master of the Pit

    thats a good lookn build [​IMG]
  4. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just contacted the company, and they are cross sending me a new unit tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion!
  5. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good deal, great news!
  6. Mneeley, very well done my friend.
  7. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First smoke! Two Canadian Bacon and one pastrami.


    About halfway thru


    Sliced CB


    Got too busy slicing & forgot to get a pic of the pastrami, but here is some in the bag with some of the juices. Tastes great!

  8. cdldriver

    cdldriver Meat Mopper

    not to hijack this thread but ever thought of using a hot wire insted of the chain saw blade i bet that would work beter and faster.
  9. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'll bet that would work. a piece of nichrome wire and a 12 volt battery with some sort of insulated handles, I'll bet it would slice right threw. same principle as the foam board cutters
  10. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That never occured to me. I'm not sure I'd know how to do it safely in any case. But if someone has done it, I'd be interested in hearing about their experiences.
  11. jalan43

    jalan43 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I have the same exact Auberins unit you have. When I first received mine, the unit ran for 20 minutes and quit. I called, sent it back for repair and have not had a problem with it since. I love it because I can get the temp down low for cold smoking. I use mine for a UDS. I have been looking for a proofer cabinet for about 2 weeks. Your smoker looks great! jeff
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  12. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The only "problem" I've had so far with the Auberin is the length of the cord on the sensor probe. My PID sits underneath, toward the front of the smoker, but because of the way the fridge was made, it made more sense to run the cord up the back channel, then through a hole to the inside. This puts it about 2' directly above the heating element, and according to my two other digital probe thermometers, it was giving a false reading; i.e. PID said smokebox temp was 230*, when it was really 197*.

    What to do? I emailed Auberin to see if they sold any sensor probes with a longer cord. They do not stock them, but offered to splice more cable onto mine for $10, or make me a custom 8' one for $28. I opted for the custom one and they are sending it out to me today.

    Now that is customer service!
  13. mneeley...that unit looks great!! have a small smoke stack at the you have an intake anywhere and if so how big.  With our wood fired smokehouses we always have intakes and outlets to keep the fresh smoke in and stale out.

    Reason I ask is I am in the middle of an old fridge build with electric and will be using a 1inch ball valve inlet on the bottom of the door and a 4" exhaust at the back..but I may pare that down if your smaller stack works.

  14. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The smokestack is a piece of 1-1/2" x 6" ss sink plumbing pipe. It has a small flange on one end so it fits tightly into a 1-1/2" hole. I used a couple washers the same size on either side of the hole to keep it from coming loose. It connects on the outside to an elbow pointed up.

    For the air inlet, you can see in one of the pics there is a drain hole in the bottom front, left hand corner. This is another piece of ss sink pipe, 1-1/4" x 6", again with a small flange. It doubles as both drain and air inlet. So far, I've had no issues with getting a good draft. Wood chunks smolder fine, and smoke comes out the top. The hole on the backside-top was already there for the refridgeration pipes, and I didn't see any need to put in a 4" stack.

    If you look at the Smokin' Tex and Cookshack smokers, though they are smaller, they have about a quarter-sized hole on the bottom, and a dime-sized hole on top, and they seem to do just fine with that.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  15. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do you just put your wood chips or pellets right in that box with all the holes, and put the roof back over it?? do you get a good smoke that way?? Thanks
  16. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep, the roof opens on a hinge, so it isn't going anywhere. I use wood chunks and 1 charcoal briquette (to develope the smoke ring). About 4-8 oz. of wood is all that is needed, and it will put out TBS for a good 5-6 hours. That's usually about 2 half-fist sized chunks. So as far as wood goes, it is very economical.

    With an electric, keeping the woodfire going isn't really a concern anymore. You just need enough airflow getting inside to let the wood smolder and allow draw up to the smokestack.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  17. are you running the element off the PID? if so It might not be able to handle it you will need to add a Contactor or an SSR to run the element.
  18. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The element plugs into the back of the Auberins PID. It was designed for a Bradley, and is fairly self-contained. I have had no problems so far after about 10 uses or so, using 120v.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  19. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well, I've used this unit at least a dozen times now with no problems, that is until today.

    Put a couple racks of ribs in, and some apple and hickory chunks for smoke. The only thing I did diferently is add a water pan. But somehow, when I went to check on things after 30-40 minutes, the temp inside had skyrocketed! I knew what it was before I even opened the door; the wood chunks had caught fire and were burning up! I just don't know why. Obviously it was getting more oxygen inside somehow, though as I said, nothing was different. I turned off the power and yanked the woodbox out (my thumb now has a nice, white sear) and doused the flames.

    Thank goodness for Todd's AMNPS! I switched gears and fired up some pellets for smoke. But it still bugs me that the wood chunks caught fire. There's only two things that I can think of.

    1) The chunks were super dry, that might have been part of the problem, and

    2) This is the first time I've used it outside in bright sun (it is a nice warm day today, for the first time in months.) Usually it's raining and I just point the smokestack outside of my garage door. Perhaps the sun expanded the stainless steel door and allowed for air to enter thru a crack in the door seal?

    I don't know. That's all I've got.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  20. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A short update: I added some felt tape gasket along the seal to help close any gaps that may let in more oxygen. Also, because of the large amount of water I had in a pan (about 8 cups), I believe the element was working harder to increase the internal tempurature of the box. I think this, coupled with the added oxygen, is what caused the open fire in my woodbox.

    I have successfully done 3 smokes since then, in one of which I used a much smaller pan and volume of water. Works like a charm now. 

    Live and learn.

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