Okay so I am new to this site and already addicted! I got a free commercial fridge and thought piece of cake to make it a smoker right, NOT. I started today and am totally frustrated. I cannot figure how to get the exterior ss off to remove the spray foam. Once I clear this hurdle I have tons of questions. What does PID stand for? Electric or propane? I have only been smoking for 2 years on a smokey mountain vertical smoker so I am used to propane but not stuck on it. I was thinking of inclosing the bottom where the compressor was and housing the heat source, chip pan? and water tray. I see on SMF that alot of these builds use smoke machines (my word) instead of chips or dust. Advantages/disadvantage? I was thinking I would use the ss floor of the fridge and drill a bunch of holes in it as a baffle. good or bad idea? Here are a couple pics, any and all advise will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Alright it won't let me post pics because I haven't been successful verifying my email. First things first and then I will put up pics.
New member. Serious question.
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- 2,903 Posts. Joined 6/2007
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you may not need to remove the foam. There are 2 types of foam used. 1 is OK for smoker other is bad. The names escape me at the moment but the bad 1 will burn real fast, test it out and see if you have the good or bad foam.
DO NOT HOLD IN YOUR HAND TO TEST it burns too fast.
- 385 Posts. Joined 11/2011
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First off, and you are at the right place for all your help. This can be over whelming at first. Breath in and out slow down just a little. The choices are yours, and whats best for your situation Propane or Electric. I just finished my first frige build and I felt the same way you did. I have been smoking many year with wood. I used an electric element and picked up an A-MAZ-N -Pellet smoker in my build from Todd here on the forums, and it works like a champ. The PID controls your heating element. I can't help you with the insulation question but someone will chime in here shortly that can. Good luck and good smoking. "UP IN SMOKE" from Texas.
Ok, that does look similar to mine. Does it detach from the wheeled cart underneath? If so, that may give you another access point should you need to remove the insulation, and make it a little lighter and easier to maneuver the box. On mine, both the top and bottom panels were plain sheet metal, not stainless. They turned out to be the only two pieces that were removable, and gave me access to the foam inside.
Starting to get my fridge torn apart and insulation out. I put a match to the insulation and in just a second it was burning and putting off black smoke. A friend said "yea but it is never going to come in direct contact with flame" so we held a match 3 inches away from some exposed foam in a corner and in less than 5 seconds it started to melt and put off smoke. What a son of a gun to get apart.I want to make the bottom 16 inches where the compressor was part of the smoker. Stainless would be the ultimate new inside but I might be priced out of that option. Is mild steel an option or will that eventually rust? I have seen electric elements and electric fin heaters, any pros or cons on which way I should go there? If I go with an electric heat source do I need a fresh air intake near the bottom or will a 2 inch dampered exhaust enough? Thanks for any responses!
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I don't know what to say?
We see these builds here and it always looks so darn easy.
Then we see the skill that you and these other guys have? Not to mention the tools and the workshop?
My hat is off to you!
Good luck and good smoking.
Hey fatdaddy Any updates lately? I'm ready to start a freezer build also and have many of the same questions. Everything I have read about the sprayed foam seems like it should be eliminated but they always says the experts will chime in but I'm still waiting. I can hold a lighter to the foam in mine but it doesnt light. It does has a strong plastic smell but only with direct flame. I probably will still remove foam even though I'm sure my smoker won't see any temps close to this range. I don't see any real value with stainless on the inside, its probably pricier and harder to work with.After the mild steel gets seasoned I wouldn't think you would have any problems with rust. My fridge build has intake on side close to bottom. I have not seen any intakes on bottom but not sure if it wouldn't work as long as bottom skirt is not enclosed.
I have the pellet bunner that seems to work well. I only use it when I want a colder smoke,otherwise saw dust or small chunks of wood in a aluminum pie tin seems to work well over an electric element.
Heres a few pics of mine...... did not remove foam, made sure everything was sealed off well with high temp food grade silicone, and removed all plastic and galvanized parts. replaced everything with aluminum, and works great! my smoker never exceeds 200 degrees and most often not more than 170. I use 2 amazin smokers at all times, and with the floor register near the bottom for an intake, and a 4 inch stack for a chimney, it is ez to control and works awesome!!
Rexxer, no progress to report. I paused until I have more money to throw at it. In hindsight I would not tear it apart and remove the foam. I wish I would have put a couple of hotplates in it and made 3 or 4 attempts without food to get it up to 350 degrees and see what happened. If all seems fine start smoking, if not then take out the foam and reinsulate and rebuild.
Fatdaddy I just got most the plastic off mine today. I'm in the same boat you were in! I put my digital thermometer probe against foam and took temp up to 350 with a heat gun with no ill effects. It doesn't seem to burn easily unless its in direct flame and then goes out as soon as flame is removed.
I'm thinking about making an inner box frame with 2" light box tubeing,insulate with wool or fiberglass and then apply a plain steel skin. Maybe this is overkill? I wish there was more information on the foam.It seems some of the builders get by with the original foam. I I will keep an eye on your progress. Good luck! Rex
Edited by Rexxer - 3/9/12 at 4:28am