Hot plate help

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by mulepackin, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've been tinkering with the smoke generator part of my refer conversion, trying to optimize smoke production. I started with a steel pail with chips and dust and used a charcoal igniter as my heat source. I get pretty long smoke time, but I've burned up one igniter and about burned another. I went back to a hot plate and pan, but still am close to burning up the plastic parts of the hotplate. I bypassed the control on the plate to keep the heat high at all times to keep the chips smoldering, but I'm afraid its too hot for everything else. Any less and no smoke. I'm also thinking the close quarters of the lil chief box might be contributing to the heat build up. What do the rest of you think?
  2. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think you are probably correct. I use a hotplate, for the same purpose.......a couple of things I do different is that I use chunks (the chips tended to catch fire occassionally) and also I put one or two pieces of charcoal in the pan also. The charcoal keeps the wood smoking and allows me to turn down the heat some on the hotplate avoiding the higher temps.

    I usually use a small propane torch to light the charcoal (I blast the wood too [​IMG] ) and after that I just keep an eye on things and add wood as needed. Once the first chunk or two of wood gets going well, you have coals that can power the next chunks if needed and depending on the temps can turn the hotplate way down or even off.

    Hope that helped or atleast gives you a couple of ideas to tinker with.
  3. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Joe. I have actually tried a few briquets in with my chips.It did help with keeping things smoldering. I'm gonna be on the lookout for a bigger "smoke chamber" of some kind. I've actually thought a dorm size refer would work well, but any thing that will dissipate the excess heat better would work. Never had this problem when I used hotplates within my old refer smoker. Then the problem was keeping things hot enough[​IMG]. Of course my goal here is to keep the smoking heat source separate from the "cooking" heat.
  4. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  5. minichef

    minichef Fire Starter

    I use chunks and a 6" cast iron fry pan. I find the largest piece in the bag and place that in the pan and fill around it with anything smaller. I also preheat the pan before I place my wood in it. Once the larger piece starts I can usually take the pan off the hot plate and it will continue on its own and just replenish with smaller pieces as needed.

    Just another idea.

  6. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for all the input guys. Dude, I would think if it can be done with a cardboard box, I should be able to come up with something that won't self destruct.[​IMG]
  7. milleroclock

    milleroclock Newbie

    i tried the whole hot plate thing it melted and shorted out and electicuted me so im going with the old stand by lump charcole and a cast iorn skillet for the chips it works great and if u cant get your smoker to temp u need more air, to hot less air and makeing a smoker like mine is so easy took my about 1 hour and they dont cost very much !!!!
  8. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Why not just use the element that came with the little cheif? I know they are only 250 watts , and they are set to only get the box to 140ish.....If you don't have it anymore I know you can buy the element and card for a few bucks........Then you wouldn't have to worry about melting anything.....Just a thought.............
  9. mulepackin

    mulepackin Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've been considering this Kookie (the little chief was TU, thats why it got this kind of reincarnation), I think I pulled all the original burner guts out. I came across one at a junk store for $34.00. I might get it and give it a try though.

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