getting ready for my smoker build.

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by doubles shooter, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. I've been sitting on this SS cabinet from what I can tell was a commercial gas smoker/cooker for around 10 years or so. finding this site has re-lit the fire to finish the build. I was originally going to go with propane, but after reading many pages of threads, I'm going to go electric mostly for the ease of building it. The previous owners totally gutted the inside including the shelf brackets, burners, and controls. However I have a great insulated SS cabinet of a bit over 15 cu.ft. to start with.


    Under the access door in front. Gas burners used to be here. Possible vents or smoke generator inlet location.

    Now I have to get element and PID. I'm hoping 1500 watt will be big enough. I'm stuck with 110v for a while, re-wiring the house soon will eventually have 220 available.I would like to be able to get to 225 degrees or so.The cabinet has 1 1/2" walls insulated with what appears to be rock wool. Roughly 22"x28"x44" usable space above burner area.

    Any suggestions for a set and forget controller? I could piece one together, but I'd prefer a smoker ready controller to get it up and running.

    Still up in the air about a smoke generator. I  want the capability to cold smoke also. Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. If you can find a gas oven you can steal parts from it. Then a AMNPS for smoke and you should be good to go.

    Happy smoken.

  3. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  4. goliath

    goliath Smoking Fanatic

    i have that set up.... element and PID and it is just so easy its stupid ...   LOL


  5. Thanks for the replies. I like that plug and play controller but this 110v build is going to be a temporary thing so I'm going PID/SSR. I'm in the process of remodeling ad rewiring the house and will eventually have 220v at the smoker. right now I'll be smoking sausages, bacon, fish, and other cured products. Winters can get cold here so I'm concerned that the 1500 watt element will be too small for hot smoking. Hopefully, By next fall I will have the bigger elements in to be able to hot smoke/cook also.

    We're getting ready for an Adirondack bear hunt in a couple of weeks. Some bear for the smoker would be great.

  6. goliath

    goliath Smoking Fanatic

    i live in northern canada, i actually added a 2nd element with its own switch, when i get the smoker up to temp the brinkman takes over. what i used was a 1000 watt hotplate element and it has a dial control from a stove i took out of the dump. i have learned where to set the 2nd element so that the PID is not on full time and can cycle with the 1500. was a cheap fix for me.

    here is my basic element set up for the brinkman that i started with

    then i added the 2nd element with some flat bar and a few more nuts and washers

    here is the set up, the 2nd control box under my PID ... just used what i had for free... not real pretty  :0)

    the PID is also good for 220, .... and the price of the Brinkman is minimal, hope this helps !!!


    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  7. Nicely done.

    Happy smoken.

  8. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    i would also highly recommend buying the auerins dual 1800w control. it can run off 220v as well and has way better control options than any PID you can build.. I even tooko mine out of the case it comes in and mounted it in a new control box 

    its controls a brinkman 1500w element and a smaller element in the top in-line and cooks up to 300F if i want. 
  9. Are you using the plug in the back for the smoke generator to power the second element? if so how big of an element did you use? Thanks.

    I'm leaning toward using this PID with a 40 amp SSR so I can move up to a 2500-3000 watt 220v element when the wiring is done in the house and I can replace the 110 element. Can program up to 30 up-down steps.

    larger image<a href=";pID=4" target="_blank"><img src="images/SYL1.jpg" alt="PID Temperature Controller w/ Ramp/soak" title=" PID Temperature Controller w/ Ramp/soak " width="249" height="220" /><br /><span class="imgLink">larger image</span></a> eof Main Product Image bof Product Name

    PID Temperature Controller w/ Ramp/soak

    I can live with the lower smoker temps till then.
  10. Are you using the plug in the back for the smoke generator to power the second element? if so how big of an element did you use? Thanks.
  11. I don't know why all of my last post didn't go through. I am thinking of using this PID with a 40 amp SSR so I can change out the 110v element for a 2500-3000 watt 220v element when I get my house rewire completed so I have 220 at the smoker.

    larger image<a href=";pID=4" target="_blank"><img src="images/SYL1.jpg" alt="PID Temperature Controller w/ Ramp/soak" title=" PID Temperature Controller w/ Ramp/soak " width="249" height="220" /><br /><span class="imgLink">larger image</span></a> eof Main Product Image bof Product Name

    PID Temperature Controller w/ Ramp/soak

    It can be programmed for up to 30 up-down steps. A bit cheaper for the parts and I like tinkering ang building things.
  12. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    i wouldnt bother, you dont really gain anything moving the smoker to 220v, and youll have to replace the element anyways adding to the cost. I would stick with 110v and build it right, heats up just as fast and less costly. 

    I was going to go 220v and after comparing 110v to 220v for a smoker it wasnt worth the extra cost of the line in my garage and element. 

    and if you want to make things easier and simpler wuith greater control dont bother building your own controls, go with the dual probe 1800w controler from Auberins. 

    to each their own, just MHO
  13. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    i have the two element tunning in line so the power out ion the back of the control controls both element togehter at the same time.  The smoker control plug in isnt used. I was hoping to use it to control my smoking element in the smoke box under the fridge but it only has an output of 3a and isn't enough to run it.

    i completely re-wired the contrl so everything is directly wired in the control box. 

    I love the conmtroller, so glad i didnt try to build my own. I tried and tried to find  a way to be able to have and internal temp probe for the food that would shut the smoker down or ramp up or down depending on internal temp not just set times and the only way i could do it was with the duel control  got. Worthe every penny. Out of the box it worked perfect and made for amazing results ithout having to ever open the cabinet to check on anything.

    I did pulled pork over night for 16hr. It was set for 225 cook temp and when the internal temo hit 190 it was set to change the temp to 135f to hold until i was ready to remove from the smoker the next day.  Turned out to be the best pulled pork i ever made. 
  14. I sort of took the cabinet on a test ride today. I plugged in a Brinkman 1500 watt element I had. I was able to get it up to 177 degrees in 90 minutes running uncontrolled. Outside temp was 58 degrees. I had all vents blocked off with the exception of two 1 1/2" holes in the bottom. I had the top vent covered because I knew 6" is way too big. I did discover the top is not insulated, double wall but it got quite warm. I'm going to make an insulated cover for it. That should help get the temps up a little more. The side walls and back all stayed cool. The door is not gasketed, but there are three cam latches. That seam stayed cool too.

    I love that plug and play controller and will probably get one, but I'm concerned that even with adding another small element that 1800 watts won't be enough when winter gets here. The smoker is outside. I don't want to put much more on 110v. May have to wait till I can figure out a way to get 220 out there and run a 2500 watt element. I do have a friend that will do it for nothing, just materials. After I figured in the area for the element and smoke generator, I'm closer to 19 cu ft. than the 15 I originally figured on.  

    Sorry to be a bother, but spare cash is tight and I'd prefer a buy once, cry once deal so I'm trying to do it right the first try. Thanks, DS
  15. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    Insulation will help,

    was it plugged directly into the wall or into an extension cord? that element get pretty red hot when plugged into the wall and generates a lot of heat.

    you could look for a 1800w oven element and wire it with a plug for the controller.

    I have a smaller fridge smoker, only 6-7cuf, less than 1/2 what your heating, but that brinkman heats it up really fast on its own, and will ride to far hotter than I need it to.

    you may wan to build your own controller then and add a larger wattage element with that big of a space to heat.

    The internal temp controls the plug n play units offer is really  nice to have, but guys smoke with way less and produce awesome stuff all the same. just more monitoring till you know your smoker well.
  16. madman mike, I'm planning on adding a second element like you did. I'm not too far away from my target temps. I'm thinking with the extra insulation on the top and a 750 watt secondary element to help maintain temps should do the job. I found out I have two separate circuits with in 10 feet of my cabinet. Until I can get the wiring finished in my house and have 220 outside, I'm going to be able to run each element on it's own circuit so I don't overload one.

    I'm thinking of running the 1500 watt element on the plug and play PID and building a small PID/SSR control for the smaller one to run on the second circuit. I'm thinking the smaller element will work better for cold smoking in the winter. It should be easier to hold 70-80 degrees with the smaller element. I'm thinking I can set the PID to run at a higher temp than the plug and play so it's always on and the 1500 element can cycle to hold temps while hot smoking. When I get my 220 I can re-purpose the PID/SSR or give it to a friend to get them hooked too.

    Another plan is to have my Carpenter Son-in-Law build an insulated outhouse style shed to put the smoker in if temps get crazy cold here this winter. Probably won't get much done for a couple weeks. leaving for the Adirondack's for a week this Thursday. Hopefully one of us can tag a bear for the smoker.
  17. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    youll be able to run both element inline through the pnp controller. The only reason I have 2 elements in my little fridge smoker  is because I found what looked like the perfect solution for a small smoker. I tried to put the heat source in the top with a convection oven fan to circulate the heat. Unfortunately it doesn't work as well in practice as it does in theory. The fan doesn't move enough air to keep even temps in the bottom 1/3- 2/3's.

    I add the element in the bottom to even out the temp through the whole cabinient. I am likely going to take out the top element and fan so I have only the brinkman 1500 on the bottom to heat it. It will get a little hotter on its own and be just as even heating as it is with both elements now, top 1/3 may be a minute or two behind when getting to temp, but once there it will be very even.

    the plug and play can only run max 15a at 120v, it would heat with the 1 1500w brinkman no problem, or any element with similar specs.

    its cool up here right now and I turned my smoker to maintain 79F while cold smoking to prevent condensation and create better airflow. the pnp control had no problem at the low temp. 

    the pnp controller can be tuned for the smoker so that when you tune it on and set the house temp it doesn't run at full power to get the element red hot (unless you override auto tune and set to full power out) SO what it does is output the power to the element at say, 80%, when its 10F away from set temp it reduces the power output to 75%, at 5F from target it lowers it to 50% output. This prevents overshooting the temp and allowing super accurate temp control. You wont need to run a smaller separate element and pid for anything like cold smoking, unless you want to use it fro generating the smoke, but then you wont be able to do cold smoking, it'll heat the house up over 80F

    you also shouldn't overload the circuit, even if you run 2 on 1 line. I have 3 elements running at the same time when im hot smoking and only have an issue when I turn all my garage lights on at the same time before my breaker blows. I have the 1500w brinkmann and a smaller element (I don't know the specs) in the smoker and another small element from a 110v hot plate to generate the smoke. never had an issue., asinde from all the lights being on at the same time and kicking the breaker only then.

    get it insulated and sealed then test with just the brinkman. easy to do, and if it saves you the time and $ of adding another element and controller your ahead of just adding them.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  18. Got Smoke! I've been working on the Smoker again. I've mounted the shelf brackets. Even though I don't have shelves yet, I've got 6 1" dowels to hang hots and salami and such. I've gasketed the door and installed a damper on top. I've been able to hold 190 degrees with just the 1500 watt element which should be fine for smoking cured products. Eventually I'll go with 220v and a 2500 or so element to get temps for doing brisket and other hot smokes.

    The A-Mazing-smoker is putting out great TBS though the photo doesn't show it well. I'm still running it un-regulated. I Won't be able to order the Plug n Play till the end of the month [Spent too much on the mountain trip[​IMG]], then I'm in business.

    Been drooling over everyone's Q-Views of great foods, Soon it will be my turn.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
  19. madman mike

    madman mike Smoking Fanatic

    Looks good so far!

    were the dampers closed or open when you only got it to 190?

    surprised the 1500 isn't getting it hotter than 190.

    low temp smoking until you get the extra power is fun too. This is tonight. chorizoish sausage (on day3 of smoking), aged cheddar, mozza and butter all cold smoking for the night.

    yep, get your ass smoking something!! hahahaha

  20. Mike, The damper was closed. but as you can see in the picture below, there is a lot of open area. It is a 3" damper. I was concerned about too much leakage too. I am making an aluminum disc today to attach to the damper to better close it off. should help. There were 12  1-1/2" holes in the bottom. I closed off all but 2. Have some brick in the heat chamber and I'm planning on adding more. I'm also enclosing and insulating the stack too. It can't hurt.

    Sooo close! Thanks to you and the others who are pointing me in the right direction.

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