Here is a picture of the lid i made for sawdust or chip smoking.
It works fantastic.
You can use a pan or dutch oven or what ever you would.
If you go here you will see the ball valve i used. It is 1 1/2 in dia. Much to big, Much to expensive and i have not even used it yet. When doing the sausage i just have the holes in the bottom side open.
If i don't want all three holes open i just slide a Refridge magnet over the whole or partially over.
You have a much better insulated smoker going there. I rally believe the key to a good smoke for jerky and or sausage is volume of air.
You will also see a homemade pellet smoker that works great. I use it for smoking my cheese and jerky now that i cook the meat before drying. Jerky that is. Not the sausage.
The bottom plate that the heaters are attached to needs to be better insulated. Right now, I have both burners on and can only reach a temp of 197 in the smoker. The burners are red hot, but the bottom plate is hot too. Also, has anybody used any type of heat deflectors? Maybe I can make something that deflects the heat to the top of the smoker instead of it leaking out the bottom. Right now there are 6 holes in the bottom, all of them 9/16 of an inch in diameter.
I like the dutch oven idea for a chip holder. Are there any holes in the bottom of it? Right now I have a small bread loaf pan and I drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom of it, then just covered it with tin foil and poked some holes in that too.
You may have to raise the heating elements and place a hollow metal box under them. This will give you the insulation you are looking for, and not a heat sink. Something simple like a full size cookie sheet, turned upside down.
The metal of your loaf pan is too thin. You need something like cast iron for a better heat sink.
How many watts are the elements?
I have no holes in the dutch oven or the fry pan. Just the lid. I have heat deflectors under my heat elements as i use the hot plate that also is in the group of pictures.
How many watts are in the elements you are using??
I fired the smoker up in the garage and the temp went to 230 fairly easily. I smoked a pork butt this weekend (pics to follow) and the smoker only attained 190 degrees. It was raining while I was smoking so that might have had something to do with it. I noticed that on the outside of the smoker, the bottom half of it felt almost hot to the touch, while the top seemed almost cool. It's as though the heat is staying in the bottom of the smoker.
I would definitely change out the heaters and go for a hot plate. The good thing about the hot plate i you can find them at most garage sales and you can take out for cleaning also you can remove and replace with propane or wood. That way you can have it all.
Here is mine and i got it from a free box at a garage sale.
I actually have 3 of them now.
This one is 825 watts. My smoker is uninsulated. I still think it is on the lite side and when i find a heat unit closer to the 1500 i will get it.
It is perfect for the sausage cooking as i am not interest in going above 170*
I use the propane one for if i am BBQing. and need anything above 200* to 300*.