Hi! So I am very new to the forum and kind of new to smoking in general. So, a friend of mine and I were talking yesterday about Salmon season coming up this year and how we really would like to capitalize on that for smoked salmon. Neither of us own a smoker, or know of anyone that would let us borrow theirs. However, he does have a broken chest-style deep freezer in his basement that he and his wife were about to get rid off.
In high school, I worked as a line cook in a BBQ restaurant that specialized in smoked brisket, pork, chicken, and ribs. The owner there had purchased a chest-style smoker and then used that as a model to fabricate two more smokers from what looked like large freezers of some sort. In any event, as I have looked up freezer to smoker conversions, I am finding that it seems to be way more popular to use cabinet-style/upright freezers/fridges than it is to use the chest-style freezers.
So, this very long intro leads me to my main question: Is it worth the time/investment to set up the chest freezer as a large smoker? or, am I better off purchasing a small smoker from somewhere like Cabela's or online?
FWIW, my general thoughts for the chest smoker was to strip any plastics from the interior, have the refrigerant drained/remove all of the cooling bits, and install some steel racks and a hotplate at one end for the wood. Am I missing anything?
Thank you in advance for any help and advice!