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Convection smoker - freezer build

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

About a year ago I came across a free 21 cubic foot smoker. It's been a bit of a slow process but this is as far as my brother-in-law and I have come on our build. I modeled it after the commercial smokers I have seen in sausage kitchens (and the meat lab used in my meat processing certificate). I have the fan as well as my heat source in the top of the smoker and the fan really seems to be keeping a real even temperature throughout the cabinet as well as a fairly fast response time. On initial runs we went from 20 degrees Celsius to 80 degress Celsius in about 15 minutes. Our control is a Sure Electronics CD101 PID. The smoke generator element and its controls are repurposed from the kitchen range boneyard. The fan is a suplus motor hooked to a 8" five blade.

 

The smoker still needs some work. Door latches still need to be purchased (most likely Amazon) and installed. I am currently using the old rubber seal from the freezer and we are considering using rope instead. The shelving and racks need to be manufactured. We are thinking that the amount of air movement will dry out some meats being cooked in the smoker so we are considering installing a water drip to create steam and humidity and prevent the drying. I think that we will be able to cook any smoked meats in this thing but it is really tailored to sausage and other processed meats. We will definitely try everything and see what happens.

 

 

Front view, door open. Fan motor is visible on top. The control box is upper right. It is a repurposed desktop computer box salvaged from the school I teach at. The upper cabinet is where the fan and element are located (repurposed from the range boneyard). The upper cabinet is pressurized and an air passes over the element and goes down the side of the smoker hitting the bottom and returning to the fan in the middle of the cabinet. The smoke generator can be seen lower right.

 

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Side view. control box and smoke generator are seen. Note the dent. The freezer was not meant to be unloaded from a pickup without help. The fall creased the outside somewhat!

 

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Fan motor, and vent. The presure in the heat chamber really pushes exhaust out of the vent when it is open. We tried to repurpose as much as possible but there are some things that are menat to be installed new. Electrical boxes and shielded wire were needed to make it "look nice".

 

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The smoke generator. The pallet we set the smoker on was previously used to carry Monsanto RoundUp for use on my brother-in-law's farm.

 

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Stainless steel was used to replace the plastic on the inside of the lid. 1 1/2" flat iron is used as shelf holders (5 in total). They are positioned about 1" off the wall to allow for airflow to the bottom of the smoker and circulate through the product up to the top of the cabinet.

 

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Computer box control panel. Sure PID top. Fan switch middle. Smoke generator element switch bottom.

 

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Solid State Relay

 

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2500 watt range element glowing red hot. Fan is turning and moving a lot of air! Note the gap along the side allowing for a curtain of air to travel down the side of the cabinet.

 

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The gap viewed from the bottom.

 

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The fan.

 

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Thermocouple temperature sensor.

 

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Partly finished rack.

 

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post #2 of 12

Interesting I like it.

post #3 of 12

 JH, Nice build.........  A little steam injector...  Cold spray wash down.... You'll be right there with the commercial guys.....  

 

That baby should dry stuff really fast and form a great pelicle...   I'm impressed.... Dave

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

 JH, Nice build.........  A little steam injector...  Cold spray wash down.... You'll be right there with the commercial guys.....  

 

That baby should dry stuff really fast and form a great pelicle...   I'm impressed.... Dave



My only fear is that it will dry things a little too much and the eating won't be the most enjoyable experience. I would have like to have a two speed fan but the only motor I could find at an attractive price at the moment was a one speed.

 

I think I suffer from the same disorder as my father...laying in bed late at night, thinking of how I can make things. The cold water wash wouldn't be a bad thing but I think it is best to simply remove the product and shower or bathe it in the sink.

 

post #5 of 12

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/search.shtml?searchQuery=fan+speed+controller&op=search&Ntt=fan+speed+controller&N=0&sst=subset

 

My only fear is that it will dry things a little too much and the eating won't be the most enjoyable experience. I would have like to have a two speed fan but the only motor I could find at an attractive price at the moment was a one speed.

 

As far as fan speed goes, here is a controller for infinite control.... 

As far as your product drying too much, a shallow pan with water or a towel strip hanging in a water source for wicking moisture will add moisture when needed also....

 

Good luck and take pictures.... lots more pics...   Dave

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I looked at the link provided. I am not too sure that that would work for me. I understand that speed control doesn't work on capacitor started motors. I definitely have a capacitor start. I know that there are some two and even three speed motors out there but the one I was able to find only had one speed. I buy things like that from a quirky Canadian parts supply store called Princess Auto http://www.princessauto.com/pal/category/1400-200-000-000-000/Surplus;jsessionid=949B6C990A44545E484AA71A82E59A1B.com2 They have a surplus centre that is full of stuff good for only those with big imaginations and a little inventiveness. I keep my eyes open for multi speed motors but never find any there. 

 

I was thinking of the water pan in the bottom of the cabinet. Putting a pan of water on my smoke element when I am not smoking is also an option.

 

I have been working on this thing for about a year now and I didn't have a single picture to show so I decided that enough is enough and I went to town snapping pictures the other night. I hope to have a qview soon. Just not sure what it will be...sausage, jerky, ribs...the options are endless!

post #7 of 12

http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?item=10-1032&catname=electric

 

$10 and a couple shaft couplers......   72 RPM...... Might work...  Dave

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Just received notice that my order from Amazon (my doorlatches and a CDN probe thermometer) have arrived at the parcel service just across the line in North Dakota. Sounds like my f-i-l is going down tomorrow to pick up some other parcels and will get mine as well. I wish that shipping rates didn't change so much when an item crosses the border!

 

I am currently sitting in the hospital waiting for the Dr to say it's OK to take my wife and new baby girl home. Not too sure when I will have time to try out the smoker for its maiden run. Will post pics when that happens.

 

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post #9 of 12

jimmyh,  I recently bought two of that same exact drawpull latch from Amazon. Seemed to take forever to arrive! Haven't put them on yet; still trying to figure the best way to attach them from the outside, as my fridge is already completed and I don't intend to pull it apart again.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

I pulled my latches out of the box and realized that they are a lot bigger than what I had imagined. I will still be able to use them but I think my smoker will now be able to resist explosions inside!

 

post #11 of 12

Ha! Yeah, they pretty big.biggrin.gif

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

My brother in law was able to instal the door latches and complete a shelf this past week. He put the smoker through its paces and sent me a few pictures. I hope to make it out to the shop sometime soon to try it for myself. Spring break is coming up!

 

 

A somewhat blurry front view.

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Side view showing the massive latches purchased on Amazon.

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I think that you might call this "thin blue smoke."

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Some rib tips my BIL purchased on sale. I think they spent 4 hours in the smoker.  Good flavour. Texture needs work.

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