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Smoke Hollow Vent Mod

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
After reading a couple of posts I think that my meat is being steamed more than smoked. While I can def. taste the smoky flavor I do not get a smoke ring and I do not see much in the way of smoke coming from the vent on the rear of my smoker. The vent that is on the smoker is very small, maybe the circumference of a standard #2 pencil. Would it be wise of me to make the vent bigger? If so, how big? My smoker is insulated so what should I use to fill the gap that drilling a new hole would leave?
post #2 of 6

Wait a minute!

Just catching up here as the site has been down for transformation.

I assumed in my PM to you, jmastera, that we were talking about a Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse.

I am not familiar with your Smoke Hollow unit so consider this only as my opinion....Does it have an air inlet area around the bottom somewhere?....If no fresh combustion air can get into the smoker I doubt if any venting at the top will do much good...you need to have an air flow (fresh at the bottom and smoke out the top)...What wattage is the units heater and is the thing insulated?...It's possible to vent it enough to lower the temp you need to maintain....does the smoker have a temp setting control or is the heater always on?...Can you easily add wood chips while smoking?...It will need more from time to time with a vented smoker

If you decide to do this...GoFish is right, there may be wiring embedded in the insulation where you are cutting a hole!

Give us details and we can maybe help out!

EDIT: Did a little homework and answered some of my questions
Yes to insulated and temp controller
looks like door must be opened for adding chips
Would still like to know the wattage of the heater?
Are there any holes or openings in the bottom?
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
I think I may be safe on the wiring. The Smoke Hollow does not have temp controls on the top like the MasterBuilt, the heating element sits at the bottom and an external Rheostat plugs directly into it from the right side of the smoker. I will contact the manufacturer just to be safe though.

Not seeing an air inlet anywhere on the bottom. There are a couple of small holes to hang a drip pan from but other than that and the small hole i drilled to accommodate the wire for my meat probe there is not much for air to come through.

I'll have to check on the wattage. Yes it is insulated and it does hold up heat pretty well even in sub 30 degree temps. The Rheostat has Low Medium High settings and the indicator light will go off and back on from time to time leading me to believe that it is not "constant" heating element. I have to open the unit in order to change out wood. So far that has not been as problem as both times I have smoked the chips on the top were not charred at all. But I eventually would like to mod it so I have a pull out side loading wood box\water pan. This all may be too much for me to do, I am a computer guy not a welder. I may have to bite the bullet and purchase a smoker that better suites my needs.

If I were to attempt to put ni an inlet in the bottom how big would I want to go? My smokers dimensions are 30†x 16†x 14†which is fairly close to the Masterbuilt, so I have read.
post #4 of 6

Go for it

OK: I presume you have read the Masterbuilt threads and have a good grasp of the drilling ideas we did.
It's relatively simple using a hole saw and electric drill, but if you encounter skins made of stainless the teeth on the saw will be quickly ruined. A new one will last long enough to get the job done. You can liner the hole with anything (other than galvanized) that suits the purpose.
Most of the Masterbuilt guys used the pipe nipple and electrical box connector nuts as I did. Not very many added the O-ring to the outside (optional). The O-ring does help seal the outside to weather and water intrusion.

Don't be concerned about maintaining temps it sounds like you have extra capacity if the heater is cycling...You can always close down the size of the top vent with washers if you need to maintain temps! When I use the smoker as a temp holding thing I close the top completely with a pipe cap or whatever you lay on it will do.

Masterbuilt has three 3/8" holes in the end of the wood tray for inlet air. That's all, and is adequate for our units. I would try the vent on top first and then add a hole or two to the bottom if needed. Go slowly adding bottom holes as you may not need them if you have some inlet spots already.

Don't get in a hurry on the wood chip drawer you need to check the meat and spray or mop anyway. Just add chips as needed when you do those chores.

Consider adding the drip catcher under the top vent on the inside. Water tends to condense in the pipe nipple and drip back. You don't want that black nasty stuff on your meat! There are pictures and comments on the drip catcher in the Masterbuilt posts also.

You mentioned that the chips were nut burning very fast.
Would bet that they will be consumed faster with the vent installed as there will be more fresh air to aid in the process.

Masterbuilt guy only use 3-5 chips at a time but since you have to open the BIG door each time you may want more.

Good Luck! let us know how it goes!
Any other thing we can do? just post back...
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help\info. I am going to try to add the top vent this weekend. I will hold off on the bottom vent and wood tray until I later. I will keep everyone posted with pics.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
So I didn't get a chance to make any mods to the smoker this weekend. But, while wanfering through craigslist.com I found an old Kelvinator Fridge that a guy is giving away for free. He said his original intentions were to turn it in to a smoker but he has since moved and it is sitting at his mother in laws house and he wants to get rid of it. I al going to go pick it up and see what I can do with it before cutting holes in my virtually brand new smoker that I might be able to sell to a friend.

So now I have a new project. I think I will dub the fridge smoker WOPR as in the famous War Operation Plan Response computer from the War Games movie. Now I just have to come up with a what each letter would relate to in smoking.
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