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Engineered Smoke - High Quality Electric Smoker - Page 3

post #41 of 53
Thread Starter 

Back in action working on the smoker!  Still working on fabrication logistics, but we've settled on a temporary solution.  Invested in a nice new Hypertherm plasma cutter and sheet brake for sizing/shaping aluminum and stainless for the prototyping phase at my house.  TIG services will be supplied by another member of the team until I have adequate space carved out in my basement with induced-draft air-exchange.  Going to hopefully start early mock-ups for the smoker to begin measuring temperature variation within the unit along with some of the dynamics such as recovery time with various heat sources.


One road block we're working on is cooking chamber insulation... lots of ideas flying around that we need to test.  For the most part we're going to be building the frame from aluminum and everything else with stainless (excluding the glass door of course).


Just thought I'd give an update since it's been so long.


ScooterMagoo - Of course smoldering wood pellets won't produce as many oxides of nitrogen as a roaring fire, but our intention is to burn the pellets with some smoke not just smolder.  At the same time, beginning the cooking process with a tightly controlled cold-smoke with high moisture levels will keep the meat moist and soaking up the available NO2 (and smoke flavor) longer. Now I need to test this theory to see how well it holds water, but at least on the flavor level I know this is true from experience.  Of course the "smoke ring" has nothing to do with the smoke, as you can get a beautiful "smoke ring" by slow-cooking a piece of myoglobin-rich meat in a propane-fired grill (which produces plenty of NO2), or even in an indoor electric oven after rubbing/marinating the meat with a mixture that includes nitrate/nitrite-rich pink salt (I believe some meat tenderizers also have low levels of nitrate/nitrites).


I hear you on the smoke ring though, especially brisket... It's like a meat rainbow icon_biggrin.gif

Edited by Nick M - 3/1/13 at 11:10pm
post #42 of 53

Glad to hear the project is moving forward..THX for the update

post #43 of 53

LOL, "meat rainbow".  LOVE IT!! 


Skittles slogan is "taste the rainbow".  This meat rainbow sounds more like it, if you ask me!

post #44 of 53
Nick, very cool project! Based on what I know (not much) I'd love to give some feedback and insight.

I recently purchased (at an auction) a Carter-Hoffman CH18 Cook and Hold. It's a 208v/30a/5,000/1ph stainless steel constructed unit (Commercial Sized can cook up to 364lbs at once). Once I got it home I converted it too a smoker...



This is a high end unit and has all the elements (4 total), circulating fans (2), cooling fans (2) and controls that take all the guess work out of the "cooking" portion of the smoke. I then simply added Amazen Products 18" ANMTS as my smoke source (based on my elevation and use, it's what was recommended?!). I added the 1 1/4" pipe ells out the top-side for venting and 1" pipe out the bottom for fresh air intake. The CH18 has all the electronics up top in a self contained removable portion that rests on top of the cabinet (literally can be lifted off w/o any issue). The cooker portion uses gently blowing fans to circulate the air inside the cabinet by blowing down a rear plenum which is fitted with vent holes and then circulates air/smoke/heat on the food. The added smoke is captured as it rises and is taken into the circulating fans and is also circulated through-out the cooking chamber. I lucked into an almost maintenance free smoker/cooker. It functions far better than I anticipated.

Personally, I would rather have an all-in-one unit (heat and smoke source all controlled by one controller/heat source) Having the ability to "cook" without smoking is nice, but not why I purchased my unit then added the smoker portion. Not sure if it been said or suggested. Is there any way you could make the pellets self-feed onto a smoking pan? The Bradley smoker's pellets are pricy and burn relatively quickly (20mins/puck); I think they're a great idea, but because the "attachment" only brings smoke to the table, the AMNTS/AMNPS are simpler units that produce excellent smoke. Having a gravity fed hopper for pellets is a far superior idea in my mind as they are more readily available and cheaper to operate?

Make it a pellet fed (possibly heated like the Traeger's, GMG, DAK's etc...using an electrode that burns the pellets and heat is controlled by fans and amount of fuel added. No electrical elements!!

The Amazen smokers are awesome units and do what they were designed to do...but as far as reloading and automation; they're not really designed nor intended for that?

Also, if I were to design a unit for production/ease of use, I would make the shelving a standardized size (commercial sized pans/half pans/rack etc...). Use stainless steel (I like the idea of a glass front; but it's not that important too me). Make it a reasonable size for a home owner (Maybe make 2 different sizes...small and large).

Make it a pellet fed (possibly heated like the Traeger's, GMG, DAK's etc...using an electrode that burns the pellets and heat is controlled by fans and amount of fuel added. No heating elements.

Anyway...I'm know rambling on...

I'll follow this thread and can't wait too see the final product!

Where'd you get you degree from? My wife's a graduate from UNH and she's from Rochester!

post #45 of 53
Thread Starter 

Hey Brett,


Your project looks pretty cool!


Ours will feature an electronically adjustable pellet feed for smoke/flavor, but the primary heat source will be a rear mounted electric element with convection behind a dispersion plate.  This will allow separate control of smoke and temperature.  It will also have a small boiler to allow independent humidity control.  People can use whatever brand or blend of pellets they want, and they won't have to burn as many.  For me the electrical side is fairly straight forward, the time-consuming portion is incorporating everything in a way that is "harmonious".  I'm sort of a perfectionist, and "sloppy" solutions drive me crazy.  It's one reason why development takes me awhile and drives my other team mates nuts (haha).


I've been working on some 3D CAD models and have been coordinating with the machinist to get a good fabrication process up.  Need to do lots of measurements to eliminate hot spots and design a cooking chamber that lends itself to quick recovery of cooking temperature, good performance in different climates, and user-friendly operation/clean-up.  A nice look is also important.  Undoubtedly it will take a number of prototypes.


I went to The University of Massachusetts.


Thanks for chipping in!


- Nick

post #46 of 53
Hey Nick,
Is my smoker done yet:) This build sounds exactly what I am looking for, hope all is going good with it.
post #47 of 53

I am relatively new here. Just came across this thread. Haven’t read all the posts yet.


Many of the features of this new proposed engineered smoker are what I tried to incorporate in the smoker that I built, which is a converted working 4.5 cubic feet refrigerator.


My design objectives for the built:


Year-round smoking –


One of the major issues in the smoking world, IMHO, is when and where. Typically you can only smoke outdoors and in good weather. The smoker I built works indoors. It exhausts smoke to outside of the house, and it has a force air blower to clear all the smoke in about one minute before you open the door to view your progress. Therefore, I can smoke any time of the year.


Multi-functional –


Because it is still a working refrigerator, it can smoke from 32F to 212F. Therefore, I can cold smoke salmon, and cheese even when it is 110F or -20F outside. I can use it to dry age beef, make bacon, sausages ----- whatever.


Or when I am not smoking, I can still use it as a spare refrigerator.


It is PID controlled, so I can use it to pasteurize milk, eggs, proof dough, a food warmer ------.


Smoke control –


A big issue for smokers. I built a motor driven cold smoker which can burn pellets and chips. The adjustable air intake and the speed controlled motor/blower allows very steady burn and economical burn. As a matter of fact, I have had the generator operating over 24 hours with no supervision, and it uses extremely little fuel. There has not been a need to refuel. End of staying up late with an alarm clock for long smokes.


There is a smoke viewing port before the smoke enters the smoker, I can see what adjustments I need with the blower motor to get a blast of white smoke or long long “TBS”. There is no need to open the smoker.

Because of the blower’s centrifugal force and the long path of the smoke to travel before it enters the smoker, there is a creosol trap to collect creosol condensation before it coats the food. The cold smoker is portable and can be removed to smoke my outdoor smoker/grill.


Energy efficient –


Because a refrigerator has perfect seal and highly insulated, I have a 500 watt halogen light bulb ($2.00) operating at 300 watts to provide heat, and that is plenty good enough.


Additional features –


It has a convection fan inside and an ultrasonic moisturizer to provide moist smoke.


Typical appliance design –


The one I built is just a mockup, the final built, whenever I get around making it, will be just another appliance that will fit in any kitchen décor and under the counter.



Portability –


I kept the original plastic interior, which I have tested in boiling water (212F) and in a pressure cooker (250F) and the plastic had not deformed. I also assume the plastic is food grade. With the plastic interior, the entire unit is very light. A 4.5 cubic feet refrigerator is light enough to be handled by one person, if I ever want to take that to a friend’s house for a smoke party.



What do you think?




post #48 of 53
Thread Starter 

My time has been a bit occupied as of late - my wife had our first child this past May!


I've also been re-thinking the design after more discussion with potential customers.  People have been asking for features that would either force me to use half-@$$ components (to keep costs down) or increase the component budget to properly implement these features (such as touch-screen control, home network connectivity, and premium materials).


dcarch - Cool man!  One difference in my design is an insulated enclosure that is safe to higher temperatures for caramelization of sauces.  Still working on an insulation choice that doesn't break-down at higher temps.


The most difficult parts for me are the integration of everything in an elegant fashion (within a single chassis), providing for simple user controls, and making sure that everything will last thousands of heating/cooling cycles and physical abuse.

post #49 of 53
Nick M
Looks like a great project!! Where in NH are you? I see you went to UMASS. I went to Keene State College for Product Design and Development! Are you using Solidworks?
I'm in the Nashua area, would be willing to help out the team if you are interested, either way looks like a great build and I'm hooked!
post #50 of 53
Thread Starter 

SmokinNH - I actually live just outside of Keene in one of the tiny surrounding towns.  I use Maxon Cinema 4D for design - it offers less in the way of functional simulation but more in the way of visualization (and at a MUCH better price).


I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so our small tight-knit group is probably all I can handle when it comes to design - thanks for the offer though!


Hoping to dig into the design work again soon.


- Nick

post #51 of 53

So I wonder where this went? Over a year and nothing?

post #52 of 53

Any updates to dispose?


post #53 of 53
Looks like the Idea went up in smoke!! PUN INTENDED!!
Keep Smokin!!!
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