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Fridge build project- Need help please

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

so... I am brand new to smoking. I have never done it myself. I just got back into hunting after many years and plan on smoking venison for jerky, pepperrettes and sausages.

I just got my hands on an old fridge that is metal outside and in. I know the following:

1. I have to change out the door seal for the type on ovens.

2. I need to have a vent at the top. I will pick one up from home depot.

3. I need a thermometer installed. again, home depot.

4. I need to use proper grates, the ones in the fridge can poison me. Cabelas sells grates for smoking that will fit the interior of the fridge


Here is what I do not know....

1. Do I need an air intake at the bottom? If so... how big?

2. This is the biggest question.... Since I have never smoked, I simply don't know how to do it. I know some people use an element for the heat source, and some fire the wood. I dont know which way to go. so... I dont know if I should be looking into getting an element or not.


Since I will be smoking venison, I know I can't cold smoke, so the smoke/heat souce has to be in the bottom of the unit.


I would really appreciate any tips/tricks/advice to help me with my build.

Thanks in advance!!

post #2 of 23

Hello.  We need a little more info.  Pictures also help.  How big is the fridge?  Thread below you may want to check out.  Yes you do need air intakes in the bottom.  You left out the propane burner option.  I would for go the therm from Home Depot and buy a Maverick ET-732.  It monitors the temp in the cook chamber AND monitors the IT of the food being smoked.  Always cook your food to an internal temp, time is merrily a guideline.  Do TONS of reading in the fridge builds before starting, Lots of great ideas there and folks even point out where they think they went wrong and would have done it differently.  Good luck.




post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Ill take some pics tonight and post them tomorrow. thanks!

post #4 of 23

I'd convert it to burn pellets, but that's just me, LOL.


Sorry for not being any help at all.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Since I have never smoked before, I dont know what kind to make. I see a lot on here using complicated thermostats, smoke generators and temp monitorring... seems way over board to me. I just want to generate some heat and smoke to smoke some venison. Just read mules-casingless-beef-snack-sticks. I will be making those for sure.

What type of smoker is the most simple way to smoke venison? I have a buddy that just has some old metal coffee tins with smoking chips that creates heat and smoke. No elements or propane or anything like that.

I want to be simplistic.

post #6 of 23

My 2 Cents.

Get a element and control cord from Smokey Hollow for one of their units.http://www.olp-inc.com/smoker-accessories.php. It does not get much simpler than electric. Smoke Hollow Charcoal Grill

Ronnie G.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

thanks Ronnie!

As for its use?!?!


I apologize in advance. I am new to smoking.


what would I use on top of this to put the wood chips in for generating smoke? Any tips are appreciated!!


I already know that its a good idea to have something on top of the chips so that drippings dont start a fire.

post #8 of 23

Hello.  Here is my opinion for what it is worth.  Others may have different advice.  This is only my opinion.  We just can't tell you "DO IT THIS WAY"!.  There are too many variables.  Also, if you build it completely simple and easy now, what about later when you want to try doing a brisket or cold smoking?  As stated, this is my opinion; before doing anything to your fridge spend time reading through the fridge build forum.  Then go back and read more in the fridge build forum.  Old metal coffee tins will probably work for small amounts of product.  I know you don't want to wait.  You have this fridge and you want to get stuck in and get 'er goin.  If you read the threads in this forum you will see there are many ways to go.  If you jump in too quickly you may wind up going back and making MAJOR changes to your build and then having to re-do the paint job on the outside, etc. etc..  My advice is do your research, spend the money once,  build it once.  It will cost more to rebuild/redesign.  Only my opinion.  Good luck.


post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks Danny. I was actually thinking of doing it in such a way that I can convert it later. I think I want to start with a basic set up, then I can at least get it going. My plan is to do it as a charcoal smoker first.

post #10 of 23

Hello.  Good luck with that.  I wish you well.  Be sure to post pictures of your build so that other's may learn and get ideas.  Keep Smokin!


post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

I will for sure!

post #12 of 23
I made mine into charcoal burner, I like it also I can take it camping.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

OK, heres the fridge. Its painted metal on the inside. I have to remove the freezer portion, the plastic trim near the front and the door liner. Any other tips?

post #14 of 23
One important note: don't plan on using the original racks. They contain heavy metals and are dangerous when used in a hot application. I believe they have a high cadmium content.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

Yeah for sure. I hadn't planned on using them. I found some smoking racks at Cabelas that are inexpensive and will fit in there perfectly.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 

Almost done the tear down. So far it was pretty easy. Everything was connected with screws and it all came apart as planned. All I have left is to pull the plastic rack pegs and the plastic trim on the inside at the front. Left that for another day since it seems to be well connected, and is going to probably have to be cracked and broken in order to pry it off. Ill be leaving the steel bar that held up the front of the freezer section. Thought I could use that to hang meat if I want to smoke a whole deer quarter.


post #17 of 23

gonna be a big job BUT worth it in the end. i just finished a similar build a few months ago and use it almost every weekend. hot smoke, cold smoke, pork butt, chicken, you name it. nuts, macaroni and cheese... the list goes on.

i do recommend to pull the metal tub out of the fridge and see what is behind it. i had alot of black tar in mine that i had to remove, others on here have experienced the same. the tar will give off some toxic fumes when you bring the smoker up to temp.

as for smoke ... i have gone thru a couple of smoke generators. i made a venturi style like a smoke daddy but it creosoted quit badly after long smoking sessions. i do like the Masterbuilt cold smoke gen that you can get from Bass Pro for $60 when in stock. it can burn anything, chips, sawdust, pellets.... i made a length of 3" heating duct to connect it to my smoker. it will give you about 4 hours before you must reload it. i also have made a "mailbox mod" out of a cheap turkey roaster and put an AMZN in it. cold smoked bacon on the weekend and didnt have to get out of bed to load it ...BLOODY WONDERFUL !!!!!
the PID from Auberins is the way to go if you want to get into some serious smoking. its worth the $200 for a plug and play unit that you just hook up to the Brinkman 1500 watt heater. in the end you will have a great smoker, lots of room and cheaper than a Bradley.....

here is a link to my build ...  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/151047/coldspot-freezer-build
everyone is here to help you along the way as they did for me



post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice! After seeing what was in yours (the black goo), I will definitely be pulling it apart. I want to eat healthy smoked meat, :grilling_smilie: not poison myself! 46.gif

Your build is nice! I hope mine looks half as decent when done. Im lucky enough to have a father with a fantastic shop. Ill be getting him to weld up my base plates and drippings cover as well as a drippings catcher.

post #19 of 23

i use a large baking pan for my drippings catcher and line it with heavy duty tin foil...EASY cleanup. you will see some use aluminum/tinfoil disposable pans too... good for catching drippings especially if ya want to use them !!!
its all a learning curve ... NICE to have access to a shop and the tools ... sure makes it easier. keep us up to date on your progress.

one thing im going to do with mine is put more racks in. that way i will have more versatility as to where to put my sticks when i hang stuff like sausage and bacon.



post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Im really lucky. Cabelas sells racks for smoking/meat dying and they are cheap ($20 for three racks) and they are the exact size I will need for this build!

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