Mailbox Mod & Cold Smoke Season

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gavin16, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. Well whether I like it or not the season of cold is around the corner.... at least cooler nights and shorter days.. :(
    So I figure after my first attempts at cold smoking cheese last winter in my MES 40, and with such popular demand for more (I never tried the product YET) it's time to step up my game!!

    Big thanks on Mr. T's articulate How-To guide on getting me addicted. As well as Setesh for his post below on some guides/pictures of his cold smoking chamber.

    Above is my initial design with the mailbox mod. Nothing is taped together yet. Went to the store tonight and bought some materials, then drilled into the back of the mailbox. I already owned the mailbox, so that was maybe 1/3 of my costs saved. Unfortunately, the 3" wholesaw bit made up for that. Lol

    A couple things I may have to change. I think a 2" elbow going into the smoker might be more ideal and fit better. Also, the store did not have " flex duct.. but they did have the vinyl. I'm not sure if that will be a food safety issue. I can't imagine it would be since the smoke won't be that hot... Unless the smoke bleeds through the vinyl. If this is the case after I test then I will have to go find a Home Depot. Closest good hardware store is a few hours away. I also may add another pipe to it, or half of one to get the mailbox to sit on the ground.

    I will continue messing with it, and may try to tape it up and run a smoke test through it sometime soon if I get a chance. Eventually I will get to cheese smoke stage, and can add/remove more pipe pieces as needed.

    Stay Tuned!

  2. I, too, am looking forward to cold smoke season. Have fun building your rig and smoking cheese!
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You may have better luck if the pipe run is on a slight incline from the MB to the smoker... also, in really cold weather, if you have trouble getting it all to draft, turn the heat on in the smoker for a few minutes to warm... that will get the draft going.. I need to have a small heat source in my smoker to keep the temps around 60-70 def. F for cold smoking....
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah that elbow isn't going to work. Your smoke will flow to the top and stop, then back up into the mailbox. You need a continuous uphill run from the mailbox to the smoker.
  5. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    I'd be inclined to agree with you, but I recalled the cold smoking set up Setesh made in the picture below which worked well for him.

    One thing I think the OP needs to do is to get the exhaust of the smoke generator at a level lower to the smoking chamber inlet. Either dump the cooler, put the chamber on some type of stand, or both.

  6. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Smoking Fanatic

    I like the idea of a longer duct because it should cool the smoke more and hopefully condense out any "bad stuff."

    I haven't yet done the mod, but I sure as heck have done a lot of siphoning over the years. From that experience with liquid in a hose, I know that as long as the end of the hose is lower than the intake, water will flow, even if there are some big humps in between the two ends. In this case the flow is caused by convection rather than gravity and therefore will flow upward. However, I think the same laws of physics will cause the column of smoke to to get sucked upwards because the forces in the up and down sections of the duct offset each other.
  7. Thanks for the feedback and critique everyone! 

    The cooler is just temporary and was the only thing I had to hold the mailbox up at a not so awkward angle that everything would fall apart on me.  Like I said, nothing is taped together yet. I will want to keep the box on the ground, or find/make some small stand or legs for it. I'll have to get more pipe and cut it up though if I want the pipes straight up and down like Setesh. Or it may not matter, but I do see where you come from that the generator needs to be lower for the convection "siphoning".  If I didn't have to work all day tomorrow I'd get things secured and maybe run a test of cheese tonight... But for now I'll finish drilling my mailbox holes and tape some stuff up, so it's ready to test Sunday. 

    My biggest concern is whether that smoke will go through the vinyl elbows or stay in it. If it fails the test, then I will have to drive a few hours to a good hardware store NEXT weekend to find better material. 
  8. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Seems like a little overkill on the piping, and I, too, think you'd do well to lose those down angles unless you have an exhaust fan on the smoker. The pipe is nothing more than a flue. You don't need a lot of angle, but heat & smoke rise. I'm curious what happens.
    Don't know who this Setesh guy is....
  9. 8x57

    8x57 Newbie

  10. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    Hello Gavin,
    Take a look at my thread. I went through a learning curve too. Personally, I think unless you need the space straightening out the pipe is a better way to go. The longer pipe reduces heat going into where product is and allows larger particles to be deposited. It's easy to take apart and put back when I'm ready to smoke. I only made sure to stay away from galvanized and painted it to help keep cool. Since this thread I've also done a mailbox for my Amazn too.
  11. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Folks, I think we may be over thinking a lot of this... Back in the day, think mideval, they smoked cold and it didn't take this much effort...

    I cold smoke inside of my 2'x2'x6' vertical with an Amazen smoke tube in the bottom. I live in Texas, we don't have a lot of "cold" days. If the temp outside is 70 or less, I'm good to go.

    Ponder the smoke houses back in the day... They were leaky, made from stone, sticks, mud, etc....

    Prep your meat properly, place it into your smoker, monitor temps, adjust as needed....
    c farmer and sundown farms like this.
  12. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    I don't disagree in spirit, but I don't think offsetting heat source is overthinking it. A lot of sketches for old cold smoke shacks I've seen has heat source offset. I've seen pics of Apalachian cold smoke sheds with a fire pit at bottom of the hill and a trench dug up to shed covered with corrugated steel for smoke. But since a lot of us can't do that mailbox mod is the best way. Other than that I like doing what I think tastes best!
  13. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I cold smoke both butter and cheese in my Masterbuilt gasser with the gas turned off and the AMNPS at either the bottom or in a  mail box mod with it's exhaust vent at a very slight incline to the gasser.  Smoke  which is generated by heat, is going to not to want to travel in a downward direction.  KISS!!!!   Keep It Simple Smoker.
  14. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Totally agree! Unless you just get a kick out of tinkering (which is great!), KISS
  15. Again I appreciate the feedback from everyone! It is something that I'm just tinkering with since (in the off season of work.. which has diminished atm for fall harvest) I normally have some time on my hands. I saw this from reading some of Dr. T's material, and thought "hey, why not? Beer, bbq, and a little science!" [​IMG]

    I promise I will try to get it finished up and a test run soon!! And Pics! 
  16. Well Ladies and Gents I apologize for some delays. A week ago I finally got around to test running this contraption of science... And let me tell you.. The results were AMAZING! Taped up my mailbox rig, and moved it to the bottom of my steps (What better way to utilize my front porch???). Ran just a test of a few pellets the first evening - with a few mozzy sticks in the smoker with the 2nd pic below.  Honestly just ran them on smoke for a few hours till the pellets went out, and actually left them in the smoker overnight since it was cold enough.  Pulled them out the next morning and took a bite.. YUM!!! Tasted awesome right after the smoke! 

    So I decided to try a small test batch of cheese the next evening.  It was a little warm out.. about 72 degrees.  The smoke added maybe 1-2 degrees only.  I put them in late afternoon, went for a good round of 9-hole golf at the local course, then came back home in the evening to check them.  Unfortunately my pellets kind of burned out so I relit them and let the cheese smoke for another hour or so.  I then took the cheese out and vac sealed the blocks.  Just put the sticks in a zip bag (because those babies won't last long [​IMG]). 

    See pics and my initial summary of results below:

    All in all my first small test batch was a success! However, I think I need to work on airflow a bit in the mailbox.  Perhaps the wind just died down and I didn't have the mailbox facing right direction.  Maybe I need to test moving the AMNPS further to the front of the back instead of towards the middle or back.  The first batch did not have quite the flavor of the first few sticks I initially put in... But I think that is due to them not having the smoke as long.  However... This method immediately proves to me that I do NOT have to wait weeks to eat my cheese after a good smoke. Which is good... because it is very trying on my patience... [​IMG]

    Enjoy Everyone! Look for more test runs in the near future! 
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Gavin, morning....   Legs were a big improvement to burning pellets in my set up...  Have you tried it ??   Also, as the weather cools, getting air flow through the smoke etc,, you may experience a "cold air dam"...   When the smoker is colder than ambient, it will take some heat to get the air to flow...

  18. chipmanbbq

    chipmanbbq Fire Starter

    I did something similar to Dave only I used those big binder clips on the bottom of my AMNPS. Getting it off the bottom of the mailbox seemed to help with the airflow problem I was having.
  19. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I put legs under my AMNPS in the mailbox as Dave suggested. HUGE improvement!! Now the only oellets that give me any grief are Pitmaster Choice--no idea why, but I still have to keep an eye on the smoke when using them.


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