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Help Planning a home Built Smoker Please

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Well I have been looking at a lot of threads from this forum as well as other resources. I am just as confused as when I started!


Here is what I am looking at making:

a) Electric heat - 110 volt

b) Fairly small maybe 18"x24"x36"

c) Wood material

d) low price tag on materials



1 - For the heat source I am running into problems finding something. I have read mixed reviews on using hot plates, many people say they work fine many say they don't. Need to bypass thermostat which means good chance of burning it out as well as the need to purchase a secondary thermostat type of thing ($$$)

    - I have tried calling local appliance repair people to look into a 110 volt element and they all laughed and said no such thing, you are better off buying a smoker at Cabelas.

    - I found an "Old Smokey" replacement element on Amazon, but reviews of it on other sites are not positive plus the element and thermostat for it are $50 if they even ship to Canada and if ti works..

    - I found this Hot Plate a local store, but for the reasons listed above I am not sure if it is worth it.


2 - Size: I am planning on smoking jerky and sausage. The kits I will most likely be buying make approximately 25lbs of sausage. I am thinking on keeping it small due to the 110 volt electric heating limit. So I was thinking I could smoke 12.5lbs of meat at a time which would be fine for a weekend. Would 18"x24"x36" be suitable for that?


3 - Build Materials, again mixed reviews. Plywood, cedar, pine, or cement board? I have read not to use plywood as it is held together by glue. Not to use cedar or pine as it is to combustible. Not to use cement board as it may contain treated lumber and fiber glass.

Despite all that I have seen smoker builds using them all. What is fact and what is fiction??



I know a lot of you will mention to do a search on this forum, and I have trust me! But that is what is giving me the headache from the conflicting advice.


Please Help me figure this out!


Thanks in advance for any help!

post #2 of 4

Timber, here is, in my opinion, the best way to get the element into the electric smoker and not have to worry about melt downs or bi passing anything. It comes with the rheostat also.




3/4 in plywood is just fine for a build. Many many on here have done so. Just don't use OSB...that's the stuff held together with glue. 


As far as size, you'll need to source your racks and maybe go from there as to how many you want to be able to fit in there.


What's your budget? You may be better finding an MES30 Gen 1 off of Amazon.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

From what I know of plywood, is it is 3 or 4 layers of wood glued together




My concern was (and others from threads) at the seams of the smoker where the layers might exhaust the glue as smoke onto the meat. Also what about the "patched" knot holes on some plywood?


Thanks for that link to an element I will seriously look into that!


As to a budget, just as cheap as I can get it built (due to wife).

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Would using cement board just around the element and painting it with BBQ paint work to contain any possible fumes?


Oh and rgautheir20420 I found an element like you mentioned at the local Cabala's store. Just need to look into getting temperature control added to the wiring somehow. Maybe one of the PID thingys I have seen mentioned in other posts.

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