OK, here's the deal. I have an MES 40, the newer one. It does an OK job, if I can keep my AMNPS lit (smokes GREAT when the door is open), and if I only smoke on one rack so everything is at relatively the same temperature.
I really like smoking meat, and the wife and I have been thinking about turning it into a business of some sort, either a restaurant, food truck, trailer........something. No matter what we decide, or even if we don't do that, I want a smoker that will smoke throughout the entire time I am "cooking" the meat and where the temperature will be the same no matter where the meat is.
Here is my idea, and I am just looking for some feedback as to whether anyone here thinks it would be doable. Or feasible.
1: Get an old upright freezer because I only want one rack as a cooking surface so my temps will remain consistent all across the whole length, and a chest freezer would be "deeper" and require more heat. Not a fridge because I don't want to deal with the freezer compartment.
2: IF, and that's a big IF, I can get some without going broke, line it with stainless steel so I don't have to worry about the plastic making the food smell. If I have a friend with the right tools, I would love to be able to cut a rectangle out from the bottom of the smoker and somehow attach a drip tray to it for easy cleaning. I'm not one that worries too much about saving the drippings and using them, so anything to make cleaning easier, sign me up. I've also found that using disposable aluminum trays in my MES 40 has a tendency to really affect the temps in the smoker and I want to avoid that. But still need a way to remove the drippings in the easiest way possible. I could easily put two levels of racks so the one under the food could hold drip pans, but again, I'm concerned about the temps surrounding the food. Thoughts?
3: Use two gas burners along the length of the bottom with a 1/2" or so gap between the two. That would allow me to put in a divider if I were only going to smoke one or two items, and only need to use one side of the smoker to do it with, but don't want to heat the whole thing. I would have a "tent" to cover the burners to prevent dripping on the burners.
4: If #3 is successful, I would make two exhausts for the mailbox mod I plan on doing on either end, (depending on if I were using the whole smoker or only half), since the one side would be pretty much blocked if only using half. That sounds strange while reading it back, but I can see it in my head. :)
Doing this, I envision being able to cook at least 10 pork butts at once (possibly more), many chickens, turkeys, slabs of ribs, etc etc etc.
So, am I nuts or what?