I have never heard of anyone converting old fridges and freezers into smokers. So I have a bunch of reading to do. From the few topics that I have read, most of it is converting them into electric smokers. So my question is, would it work to build a side fire box and use it as a wood smoker. Of course you would have to get rid of the junk inside and use better seals, but I was wondering if the metal used in them could withstand being a smoking chamber.
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This is a fridge converted to a pellet pooper. My first smoker was a heavily modified Char-Griller Pro with a side fire box. The reason I went with a pellet pooper is because I wanted to automate the whole process so I can sleep when doing all night smoke smokes. I did this last winter and have been using it all year with great results. In my case, my refrigerator is a perfect candidate because it has an enameled steel interior "tub". I stripped out the plastic bits and replaced with stainless steel sheet. The big dollar item was the pellet burner unit by far but worth every penny. It's insulated, so being located in Wisconsin, especially now with it being so effing cold, it works great......outside temp is of no concern. It can be +80 or -80, still works the same.
This type of smoker conversion may not be for everybody, but I am just throwing the option out there for you.
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As well insulated as fridges are, it is difficult at best, to keep the fire small enough for the low temps required for smoking.....
A fire burns at somewhere above 500 deg. F...
A small exterior FB using briquettes may work....
Take a look at UDS, (ugly drum smokers).... they use briquettes and heat an uninsulated 55 gallon drum.... temps range from 150 ish to over 400 degrees.... they cook very well, use little fuel, are fairly inexpensive and are easy to build..... that is if you want a "wood" so to speak, fired smoker.... Just as an example....
Most refers have a lot of plastic which must be removed..... gaskets don't hold up to the heat well and must be replaced...
Refers are cool looking and when built correctly put out some awesome food and have done so for years...
I agree with Dave. If converting to a stick burner, you may have issues keeping the temp DOWN! The lowest temp I can go is no lower than 210-220......with pellets. It will literally dump in just a few pellets every few minutes and it maintains temp easily. Who knows, if the flue size, firebox size and opening are calculated out correctly, a stick burner might work. Charcoal would definitely work, IMHO. Providing the unit is built with the proper safety in mind, Charcoal and an AMNPS for supplemental smoke, may be the way to go for you.
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Thanks for the responses guys. Scooter, looking at the pics of your Reefer Madness, is like looking at q porn. It is so awesome it's sick!
I have a 20 year old upright freezer that went crapola about a month ago. It is simply not worth fixing and my wife has her eye on a new one. Other than not working, it is in good condition. No scratches, or dents or other blemishes on it. I would like to make it into something useful rather than just taking it to the dump. I saw you ingenious folks converting the stuff into smokers. Well I have a cheap propane grill that is down to one burner and it has more rust than paint, so I need something else. Don't much care for propane, I have never been very good at it. I have always had a lot of luck and fun with charcoal and wood chunks. Never used any pellets so I really do not know how they are or how they work. I have a small water smoker that is more frustrating than useful. It has a small bowl that holds the fire and the cooking section is barley large enough for a small chicken. I was looking at the UDS and noticed that some of them were using small fire boxes from Lowes. I think that it is an option for one of their grills.
I was thinking that how small the SFB is compared to the volume of the freezer, then having too much heat would not really be a problem, but I'm just guessing. I was thinking about stripping the freezer down to basically the metal shell, and building off of that. Something like and internal frame or lining it with SS and doing all of the other conversion stuff to it.
Figured that since I need something new to cook with, I could invest the money into converting the freezer and having something custom built to my liking. Plus it could be a nice project for me and the kids.