I live in north Idaho and I shoot a lot of waterfowl and catch a few fish too. I'm an engineering student (sophomore) here at the community college. I am a good cook and I've done some smoking in a Bradley Original. I made some killer duck summer sausage and also we've done some chickens, some bacon, some ham and some turkeys in the smoker.
I've acquired an old fridge and although it has some plastic, it won't be hard to rip it off and put metal in its place. My main goals with this project are:
1. Not poison myself with fumes. Or start the thing on fire. So, safety.
2. Get something that actually works, without spending too much. The fridge cost 85 bucks; if it's possible to get smoking for less than $200 more, that would be great.
3. Sell it, maybe. So I want it to look good when it's done.
My brother is pretty good with electronics...we've both done plenty of wiring projects.
Does this website have an article or sticky on the general process of converting a fridge to a smoker? An overview of the steps or parts needed?
I do know this: I want it to be electric. I want to have selective hot or cold smoke. And, I think I want to use the Bradley biscuits because they are sold everywhere, so I'll need a good way to cook the biscuits to make the smoke. (I'm thinking about selling the smoker when it's done, and convenience of use will be a selling point.)
So I need two heat elements (one for the chips, one to heat the whole compartment) and two thermometer inputs (one for the cabinet, one for the meat itself). I see the number 1500 watt come up a lot in the fridge build section. But 1500W what? Is there something I can buy on amazon for cheap (water heater, stovetop element...) or is it just best to buy one that was designed for smokers? I'm not afraid of a little redneck modifications. That's the fun part, right?
Controls: Between my brother and I (he's done a lot of programming) we're going to try to create our own control program and drop it onto a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino microcontroller. From there we can run all the elements and the servos using inputs from the thermometers. Heck, we might even try to program our own PID loop. (And my brother can probably get it to interface through a smartphone via wifi, for better user-friendliness, rather than just having a 3-digit LCD.)
Thanks in advance...I know there are true experts on this forum and I will certainly take any advice I get!
Kelvinator is the brand.