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Bringing a quiet Big Chief back to life

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My wife's fishing buddy inherited a bunch of fishing gear and smoking equipment from one another fishing buddy of theirs ( Bob) who passed away a year or so ago. Now that I think of it, my wife's favorite Salmon rod was given to her from him back when he was retiring from fishing.

Bob's big chief smoker has been in storage since his passing and I recently started asking my wife's friend if he wanted me to bring the smoker back to life and smoke one of his recently caught Salmon. Next day I came home with the old smoker and a bunch of fish smoking accessories (brining containers, bags of wood chips/chunks, Gravalox making stuff, etc). Yesterday I removed the heating element and washed out the box inside and out. Reinstalled the element, tested it and I think it is good to go. Since I have smokes a lot of fish with my own Big Chief, I feel very comfortable that we'll have success with Bob's smoker. With the smoker came brand new racks as well.

Here's the old beast. I realize that there are to some of you better smokers out there but since this is more of a sentimental project, I think it's going to be fun. So tomorrow I'll be smoking a lot of Salmon in a couple Big Chiefs plus a couple different Jerky recipes. More pics to follow tomorrow.

Edited by cmayna - 5/17/13 at 7:19am
post #2 of 10

Thats cool



I still have my little chief i carry around from 1976

post #3 of 10

My Totem Smoker is all I use for smoking salmon...  after 25 years, it still does a great job...  It's not as new looking or as clean as this one, but it's the same unit....  modified a little....    Dave


    .... Google Picture .......


post #4 of 10

How many of us started their smoking careers using a Little or Big Chief smoker? I have two retired top loaders under the deck.  I remember the most important accessory was the box that they came in. By using the smoker inside the box condensation was reduced or by it's use on top of the smoker, they cold be converted to cold smokers. 


It's good you are restoring your friends smoker.  Will be looking forward to the results.



Edited by Mr T 59874 - 5/17/13 at 11:21am
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Look what I just found amongst his box of smoking supplies. Also found the thermal blanket used to wrap around the box. SCORE!

Edited by cmayna - 5/17/13 at 9:22am
post #6 of 10

WOW, what great old smokers!  I remember a friend had one several years ago, and absolutely loved it.  Thanks for taking the time to restore a treasure.

post #7 of 10

Here is my very old little chief. Im going to give it to my son, he is done with the Army in Nov.





He can clean it up

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Succesful smoke yesterday
post #9 of 10

That's a nice inheritance . Treat Her with respect...

post #10 of 10

Its the gifts which we are given which reminds me of those who gave them too me. That sounds stupid. Some one I only meet once or twice, maybe a fishing trip or a guest at the camp, something stupid like a potato peeler, every time I use it makes me think of that person whom I barely knew.


When a friends donates to the cause something he is known for, like your smoker, its something that will always keep them in your mind. Imagine that, and on memorial day weekend too. That is very cool.


I have my Dad's Big pit, I don't know enough people though to fire that sucker up.....LOL But I see it and remember his yearly pig roast.


Enjoy your cooker, and appreciate a good friend.

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