Originally Posted by MikeyThai
That was one of those, "oh crap" middle-of smoking posts. I will have to improve my smoker a little bit. I need to put a tray under the burner, between it and the bottom of the smoker. And I have a burner control switch I will have to wire up. That'll run the element at 60-70%. Probably closer to where it needs to be.
Smoker is about 20" x 20" x 50" and it is insulated. The element is covered, but the bottom of the smoker was hot and burning the grease. The grease smoke did affect the meat IMO. The family loved the BBQ, but I have resolved to improve with lots of practice.
Thanks for the input, guys.
I think your DIY smoker is telling you what the other who replied are telling you, too much heat/btus/wattage. If you are using an oven control, the element is FULL ON when the oven thermostat calls for heat, so you are getting the maximum btus, once there is grease in the bottom of you smoker, you are going to have issues. You need a rheostat, that is sort of like a dimmer switch, make sure you get one rated for the amperage you are using, it will control the amperage to the element keeping them from operating full on.
There are other considerations, actually you have too much BTUs for the space your heating. Approx 11.5 cuft, to raise the temp to 300º you only need between 300-400 watts. Even in the old 40" MES which is roughly about the same size used a 800 watt element, now it has a 1200 watt. Your setup with the 2100 watt element is a safety issue. You start a smoke on pork shoulder that has a lot of fat, and fall asleep, if your element is left full on you will have a fire, the grease will get that hot.
You need both a thermostatic control to cut the power to the element and a rheostat to control the wattage.