Hi everyone, I am greatly inspired by your forum and while mulling over buying an MES 30, I realized that I have an old gas stove in my garage that I want to convert to an electric smoker. (Locking door, glass in the door for visibility, high-temp light already inside, much bigger rack capacity, already vented cavity, and cheaper... $0! This means my budget is up to the price of a new MES 30 electric smoker.) I will gut it, but it up on a wooden caster frame, extra insulate it, and add external electronic controls. I will be using PID controls designed for controlling a 120V element, and I need to decide what kind of burner would be best. The woodchips and burner are going to be in the storage drawer so I can easily add more smoke without losing heat.
My first idea was to use this as an easy heat source to put the chips on. The other good part is that the control knob allows me to adjust the power output to fine tune the amount of on-time of the burner and therefore hopefully the smoke performance. I would mount this knob by the PID controls.
Then I realized at work I can get what is called an "electric baking assist" element, which is an electric oven-type calrod element that is used as a broil on the lower oven in double ovens. It is rated for 120V and 1150W. This is much larger than the hot plate and I would have to suspend the chip supply over the burner somehow. It is still much smaller than a typical 240V electric broil element though. I could also run a potentiometer to this to limit the amount of power output and again hopefully fine tune the smoke performance. It is closest to the MES Electric Analog element if I had to choose something to compare it to.
Does anyone have a good idea which of these two options would be the best starting point? Even if I make a mistake and re-do it later, I would like to choose the smartest option upfront.