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New member w/questions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

  Hello everyone. New guy here with some questions (imagine that!!).  I came across a Welbilt commercial fridge and want to do a conversion.  I've done some reading through the threads and got some good ideas.  My goals are to have a electric heating source, figuring a 1500w heating element should be adequate.  I would like to be able to smoke from low temps up to standard temps for ribs and brisket.  Still debating if I want to use a smoke generator or a chip tray, leaning tor ward the tray for the simplicity.

   I did a test on the foam insulation.  When I lit on fire, the flame was small and burned for 3-4 seconds before going out.  Not sure if that means I have the good insulation or not, if someone could let me know that would awesome.

  Regarding the door seals, I see everyone using the rope gasket.  I know some people with commercial smokers and they their doors are sealed with a rubber gasket.  Is this something to look into doing or should avoid it.

  My schedule is pretty hectic and don't get alot of time to read through all the post to find all this info.  If someone can point to a few threads or links that cover alot of the standard do's and don'ts of fridge converting.  I would like to keep this a simple quality build and don't want to waist time and money on unnecessary trial and error, just wanna get it right.

  Thanks alot in advance for all the help.

post #2 of 5

Welcome to the forum.

It sounds like you have chosen some good building blocks for your smoker.

What is the interior of the Welbilt constructed off, metal or plastic?


Many consumer grade frigs have plastic interiors, and from a safety standpoint, I would not recommend any plastic interior . If you are working with a metal interior, you should be fine.

You did not list the cabinet interior dimensions, but unless its excessively large, a 1500 watt element should be more than adequate.


There are a several types of temperature controls that can be used to regulate the heating element.

They include electro-mechanical line voltage thermostats, PID controllers, and digital line voltage thermostats. They all will do the job, but the cost and ease of installation. How well the different systems hold a temperature setpoint will vary somewhat,as well.


Here's an example of a digital stat I used on a friends electric smoker. Only thing I dislike about it is the maximum set point temperature of 220 degrees F. Other than that, they are very easy to connect, configure, and operate.




Since most of us use our electric smokers outdoors in potentially damp areas, be sure to minimize shock hazards by ensuring that you have a grounded power cord, and that the green wire is connected to the metal frame of the box.


A 1500 watt element uses about 12.5 amps of current. This means that you will probably want to run your smoker on a dedicated receptical to avoid tripping house circuit breakers. Most residential circuit breakers are rated at 15 amps (some at 20 amps, though).  


You will also need to think about how to cut openings for air inlet and exhaust in your cabinet. Inlets typically will be cut in the bottom and exhaust stacks will be in the top.


This is probably enough to get you thinking and planning next steps. Keep us posted on your progress.


You had asked about replacing the original door gaskets. If it were mine, I would leave them in place at least until you do a couple of test runs through it with heat. A lot of door gaskets tolerate the heat pretty well. If yours do, no point in replacing them.





Edited by processhead - 4/25/12 at 7:25pm
post #3 of 5

Just saw the picture of your refrigerator. It looks like you have a great smoker cabinet there. Is the interior stainless as well?


Nice Score!

Edited by processhead - 4/26/12 at 11:13am
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hey Process,

 You saw the pics?!  Where?  Tried to post them first time and said didn't have access or something so I just reposted without pics.  I don't do too much with forums and posting, so I could have easily posted them 10 times and wouldn't have known it.  Cool!!


Anyways, yes the interior is metal as well. Rack holders are plastic, which will be removed.  I got the dimensions,

24"w x 26"d x 59" h.  the 59" height is with the coil removed.  I appreciate your help, definately made it easier moving forward with a game plan.


BTW, Spent some years living in your neck of the woods.  Still got friends out there.

post #5 of 5

Go ahead and post your pics.  Your new so a moderator will have to approve them until we get to know you a bit better.   Shouldn't take too long. 

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