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
Edited by Nick M - 3/1/13 at 11:10pm