After messing around modifying and building several smokers over the years I wanted to find an insulated food warming cabinet as a starting point for a combination hot and cold smoker with electric and propane options (and maybe an offset firebox if the geometry could be worked out?). This showed up in an online auction from a school district 25 miles from home so I went and looked at it. After bidding on it I bought it for a whopping $68.33 including the buyer's premium and tax and I got it back to our farm shop this week.
It's a Wilder 115 volt 1,700 watt unit in working condition. It is stainless steel inside and out and has an inch of bonded fiberglass insulation in the sides, door and top. Like other warmers I've seen the power cord unplugs from the back and the heating and fan unit slides right out the front. The overall dimensions are 65"H x 25"W x 33"D. The base has a lip about 3 inches wide that I suspect is to maintain clearance from other equipment and walls. The shelves are adjustable in 2" increments and they and the uprights lift out leaving smooth interior walls for cleaning.
The inside is 54"H x 23"W x 31"D (38,502 CI) with the heat/fan unit in place and 59"H with it out. On 115 volt power it heats quickly. The dial goes to 200 degrees but I haven't mapped how accurate that is or how evenly it heats. I expect the 115 V unit to be fine for cold smoking, jerky, cured poultry etc.
The shelves are sized for full sized sheet pans and we've got about 50 of them in both solid and perforated styles. I figure to cut the bottom out of some pans leaving a lip to install flattened expanded metal on for racks. I think the warmer shelf lips are so wide so it will hold line pans and will check that theory out tomorrow. If so I will cut down most of the shelf lips to increase the rack area exposed to smoke and keep a couple wide for line pans.
So here's the stuff I'd appreciate some input on. In addition to the 115 volt unit I want both 220 volt electric and propane options. I suspect there's room for both with no problem and want to use PID controllers for them.
My initial thinking for the propane parts is to use a small electronic ignition oven burner but I'm wondering if the temperature swings will be larger than I want. For the electric side I'm open to sizing suggestions.
I need to size and install intake and exhaust vents, maybe a floor drain and drip pan under it, a heat baffle above the burner/electric element(s) etc.
I've got a pair of A-maze-n Pellet Smokers. Maybe a bigger version of the MES mailbox mod?
Any advice or input would be appreciated. We can cut, bend, weld, machine or fabricate any of the metal, electrical and gas stuff so none of that's an issue.
Does anyone know what the upper temperature rating for magnetic door seals is?
Thanks for looking and I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Happy smoking and best regards,