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Cant get Cardboard Smoker hot enough

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to build a cardboard smoker like I saw in a book about Smokehouse Design. I cant seem to get the temperature hot enough - I can only get it up to about 143* or so. It was in the 40's outside and almost no wind when I tried tested it. The hot plate I'm using is a 1000w from Walmart. I put a cast iron skillet on it and a metal colander to difuse the smoke and keep grease from drippin on the wood chips.

I'm thinking about lining the inside with foil. Not sure yet how I should attach it to the box though. Any other suggestions to improve heat? I'm trying to get it up to about 170*

Here are a couple pictures:

post #2 of 15
I think a match would make it hotter...for a short time! icon_mrgreen.gifJust Kidding.

A couple suggestions that I have for you is that it would appear that there is a lot of area inside the box as it is really tall...Kind of tough to judge from the photos, but that is my guess. If you reduce the height, you would reduce the amount of area that is required to be heated and therefore allow the hot plate to keep up with the thermal loss.

I guess there is thermal loss around loose edges...time for some good 'ol Duct Tape!

What are you using for a thermo...is it calibrated and accurate?

Just my initial thoughts...good luck.
post #3 of 15
some sort of insulation (while maintaining good ventilation) is the best answer i have for you.
post #4 of 15
Yep you better seal that baby up so you don's lose the heat. Do you have any more cardboard boxes that you could cut up and tape on or slide over these to make a better seal and also add insulation?
post #5 of 15
If you're using an extension cord make sure it's a heavy guage one. You can loose a lot of wattage with a light one
post #6 of 15
I think it saw that smoker on Good Eats with Alton Brown and his worked. It sounds to me that you need some sort of insulation for sure and maybe foil would do the trick. So give it try and make sure you let us here know the outcome.
post #7 of 15

Cardboard Smoker

The trouble with the type heating unit you are using is that it has a variable temp. setting......if you turn it on high with a pan on it it will turn itself on and off when it gets the top or pan to a certain temp. (apparently the whole top of the unit then heats up inside where the control is located.....bi-metal strip type) When I use this type of heating unit I have modified them by by-passing the temp. control so they heat at their 1000 watt capacity (always on) and control the temp. in the smoker with venting.....hope that helps

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Its 18" square and 48" tall. I tried it with just one box (24" tall) and it raised the temp about 10 degrees, still not hot enough. I also tried taping the edges. Im using a Maverick ET73. I've had it for several years and its been atleast a year since I've tested the probes.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thought of that too so I just plugged it in directly, but it didnt help.

I'll keep you posted

WOW. Didnt think of that. I bet thats it. So what would I have to do to modify it? Im all ears! It's not going to blow up on me is it? hehe
post #10 of 15

Cardboard Smoker

Don't know how versed you are on electrical things, but I'll try and put
it as simple as possible. Some of the wiring usually has push on connectors , so it can be easy to remove them.....make sure power is off then look for the two wires coming into the unit (power cord) (three wires if its grounded- usually green) disconnect the one going to the heat control....leave the one going to the heater coil connected. find the wire that goes from the temp. control to the other heater coil terminal....disconnect this wire and connect it to the 2nd power cord wire you removed from the control. That's it.......If you don't feel comfortable doing this, by all means get someone who knows about electrical devices and have them do it for you. I bought an electric smoker that had the same type of heating unit...it wouldn't reach over 175 degrees until I by-passed the unit like I described....and this was a fully insulated sealed smoker.!!! Good luck !!!

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Rick. Sounds simple enough. Hopefully it wont require any soldering. I guess when you bypass the controls its just on full blast the whole time?
post #12 of 15
After you get the over ride on the hot plate solved. You might consider taking a roll of alum foil and staple it to the inside of your box. Shiny side exposed. You could try a can of spray adhesive but I don't have a clue about health safety and spray adhesive. If you do the staples you won't need that many.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well I fixed the problem. Rick was right on. I moded the hot plate to bypass the thermostat control knob so the plate would just stay on continously and it worked like a charm.
Thanks again Rick points.gif
post #14 of 15
try lighting the card board...lol...I just had to say it...good luck on your endeavour
post #15 of 15
? serious? go buy a smoker. Build a fort with the cardboard, keep your coffee warm with the hot plate and cook eggs in the skillet. I guess i just don't get the idea here.
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