OK yall here goes. I have been a member for a couple years and have enjoyed the site, time to give back by documenting this build and get some tips along the way. I found this smoker on craigslist in 2014 while looking for an old refrigerator to convert.The seller I believe is a member here or was back then. The smoker served its purpose but its time to upgrade.
Ive attached the below pics as my starting point. Original build had insulation in the cabinet with foil backed tape- I took it out before these pics. Also the Mypin T series PID and power switch panel was mounted on the front of drawer in bottom of the smoker. A couple things I did not care for about this was controls were low to the ground which was a pain to set and also not the cleanest spot with food drippings. The cabinet had a thermocouple sticking in the back wall about mid height it didnt seem to give an accurate measurement cross the entire cabinet cooking space. The element as you can see was mounted on the removable drawer which I do like in case it needs to be taken out to be worked on. However the floor below the cabinet was not sealed which allowed heat and other liquids to get into the electrical area inside the cabinet drawer. Also there was no deflector to keep the element from being dripped on. My smoke source has been a custom made martini shaker smoke generator lit with a torch and forced into smoker with an adjustable aquarium pump.
The Myin PID I havent been able to find any manuals or clear instructions to program the control or troubleshoot it.It was basically a thermostat for me. For the last half of a year I would plug the 220 volt setup in, turn it on and the PID was showing all kinds of different numbers and I had no idea how to reprogram it so I have been slacking on bbq. Just this month I bought a 350lb sow off a show pig breeder I use in FL and had it sent to the butcher I have used since I was a kid. 1/2 the pig was ground and frozen in 5lb bulk packages, the other half was cut in your typical pork cuts. So I am ready to smoke with no smoker- slight problem!
As far as smoking I enjoy the weekend smoke making all the typical cuts but I am really interested in getting into custom sausages/fish and maybe even do jerky in the smoker instead of the dehydrator. I have been tossing different ideas around about heat and smoke sources. I thought about the smokedaddy pellet auger. It is a nice system but I did not care for the temperature ranges. I want to be able to maintain lower temperatures and set custom temperature programs so the PID and electric element is the best setup for me.
My general plan with this build:
control panel and heat source wiring
smoke generator/exhaust/air intake fab and install
stainless steel interior sheet metal install/welding
heat element with dripping deflector shield install (not sure if using the same element: tips gladly accepted)
shelf and dowell rod install
door and seal rebuild-plan to get rid of window in door insulate and put a nice sheet metal on door.
repaint exterior once build is complete.
Yesterday I pulled the trigger on the Auber Instruments dual probe SMD100 PID, Two K type thermocouplers one for meat one for cabin, some connectors, a heat sink, 40amp ssr, and a control cabinet to mount on the outside of the smoker. Thinking this will all go near the lock on the door that looks like a latch. The door actually latches via magnets which I plan to keep.
I am a union welder by trade and am not an electrician. Fabrication and welding is not a problem for me if I can get the time off work and sneak away from the wife and three daughters for me time. I read the manual for the auber controller and am highly impressed with their product so far. I dont think the wiring will be too much of an issue with their information and whats available on this site.
Looking forward to this build and yall's help and discussions along the way. I guess for starters whats your thoughts on elements.
Also Smoke: been burning chips in the generator you see. it tars up a lot and glues/seals itself together but produces decent smoke for at least 2 maybe 3 hours. I prefer the flavor of an open flame and wood burning but as I said I need the ability to customize my cooking programs and lower temperatures. I like some good heavy smoke on my products and would like to find or build something that will generate smoke longer without adding too much heat.
Thanks for your time and happy smoking.
Edited by Welderdan - 8/6/16 at 11:04am