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New from SE Washington

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Good morning everyone. Nice site you have here.

I am not totally new to smoking meat but I am looking to pick up some new skills. My wife and I do spend a lot of time smoking with our old Weber Kettle. We have cooked every Thanksgiving Turkey on it since we were dating. We usually run that little guy at least once or twice a week. The biggest problem with the Weber is that there really isn't much room there. When you are cooking indirect with that you only really have about 1/3rd of the grille.

For a while I have been thinking about building a smoker with more capacity. I also work Maintenance at a local Hospital and I have kept my eye out for something that would be a good start. The other day I drug home an old hot plate cart that still works great and I am going to give it a shot. We don't need the hot carts at the hospital anymore because we are doing room service now instead of meal time, so we had a few of these carts that were headed for the dump.

It is electric like I said and has an adjustable thermostat and timer with the heater on the bottom. It has a thermometer on the front that has been calibrated and it has a little stainless vent already. It is all stainless steel inside and out, fully welded and very high quality. It is insulated with some kind of foam board about an inch thick between the layers of SS. It has adjustable shelves to hold sheet pans. There is a little water pan at the bottom to keep things humid. There is a really high quality door seal like a fridge. It looks to me like it was made to be a smoker. It seems to be able to hold pretty much any temp I want between zero and 300f and it will hold it dead steady.

I have a couple sheets of 3/4 x 13 raised expanded steel I am going to put a couple of shelves in it and a sheet pan full of water near the bottom. I am going to fill that little water pan with the wood chips. If that works I am going to make a way to refill the chips without opening the door. I will probably put another sheet pan below the meat I am cooking, maybe put the meat near the center. Does that sound alright? Does anyone else have any suggestions on how to better smoke meat in this thing? We have some cheap country style ribs I think I am going to do for a test run this morning.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

post #2 of 14
Welcome to SMF glad you decided to join us. WOW thats an awesome find I'll bet it will work great since thats basically what it was designed for minus the smoke. Personally I would use the water pan for just that and maybe try a cake pan with chips or chunks then foil over the top and poke some holes in the foil and see how that does. Maybe a coffee can would work instead of the cake pan if you have the room for it. Good luck and let us know how it works out
post #3 of 14
Welcome to SMF. Glad you joined us.
post #4 of 14
That looks like a sweet little rig and sounds like it will be perfect for smoking. Now here's my question;
How hot does it get in there? It may be more suitable for the cold smokes and not so much for bbq smokes.
post #5 of 14
Welcome to the SMF forum, You came to the right place. Good people and good info.
post #6 of 14
Welcome to the SMF, We are glad to have you onboard
post #7 of 14
Howdy, welcome to the SMF!!
post #8 of 14

Welcome to SMF, Glad to have you with us. This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

For Those of you New to Smoking, be sure to check out Jeff's 5 Day Smoking Basics eCourse.
Click Here it's "FREE" ... 5 Day eCourse

I Would Highly Suggest Reading these posts on Food Safety by bbally.

This thread will tell you basically everything you need to know and the man explaining it is
both a ServSafe Instructor and a HACCP Instructor.


Here you can get the 2009 USDA Food Safety Guide from his site.

How to post Qview to Forum:

When you uploading to Photobucket I always use the Large IMG setting, 640 x 480 it is a nice size...

Everyone here enjoys seeing the Qview so be sure to post plenty of pics...

Large ones that us old people with bad eyes can see.

For Step By Step Instructions On Posting Qview Check Out This Tutorial

post #9 of 14
First off welcome Pat to SMF. It sounds like you are well on your way to be an outstanding new member of this fine site. You'll like it here cause there are abunch of good folks here that would just love to help you out with just about anything to do with smoking. We really like to have newbies here because they can bring in a new propective to how things are done. There's nothing like a new set of eyes to give and new way to make things that little differant to make things alittle better. So I hope you know about the Qview here.
Here's a link to photobucket it's free and easy to download pictures. Then if your really new to smoking Look up the E-course.
It's also free and it will give you the basics of smoking. So after all of that you just need to go grab something to smoke and if you have any question just post them here and we will answer it quickly so you don't have any mishaps with your smoke.
Welcome To Your New Addiction
post #10 of 14
I'd suggest you run, don't walk back to work, and see if you can score any more of those carts.

If it holds steady like you say rock steady all the way up to 300f then you have the perfect combo for a smoker. Around 230f for Low and slow and 300f for poultry is about perfect.

The top vent looks a little small for that volume of oven area but time will tell. You need to have just a whisper of thin blue smoke coming out of that top vent, which should probably be run wide open.

Let us know how it works.

Just looking at it, I would bet that you will eventually have to either have to put in a different top vent or at least open up the existing one a bit. Those three tiny holes do not look like enough to me.

I do as piney suggests and try a foil packet with wood chips in it first.

But first go to work and try to get more of those things. biggrin.gif
post #11 of 14
Welcome to the SMF. Glad to have you here. Lots of good folks here and knowledge. Looking forward to your first qview. icon_smile.gif I believe that will be a great smoker, definately alot of room.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the welcome.

I tried it out the day I posted the first post. I think the dietary manager may have been stretching the capabilities of this cabinet a little bit when he told me what it is capable of. It is a 1500w 120v unit. I ran it and it only hits about 205 or so before the internal stat cuts it off, and that is with the stat cranked. It does hold 205 but it won't hit 300 because the internal stat won't let it. The internal stat does have a remote bulb - currently located a the bottom of the cabinet near the element. First thought is relocating the remote bulb to a more central location. It may be possible, but first I have to see if the 1500 watts is even capable of getting this bad boy to 250+.

Right now as I type this I have the element wired straight to the outlet so I will see how hot this thing will get without any thermostat intervention - current outside temp 40 or so. If it is capable of 250+ then I will figure out some type of controller weather it is a PID (which I can get my hands on with some effort) or a simple 1500w rated solid state dimmer (which I already have in hand) and some concrete blocks in the bottom to try and shorten the recovery time.

Thanks again for the welcome and I will update this post with that I learn. Thanks again.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Another quick note:

The existing factory element is located directly in front of the water pan I posted in an earlier picture (towards the door.) The sensing bulb is in the center of it which I have currently bypassed.

For smoke I set my SS chip box right on top of the element which is just in front of the water pan on top of the element. I had hickory in it for the pork. It went 3 hours of so on a load of chips and I refilled a couple times. After 8-10 hours the water pan was only about half empty (maybe 1 qt used?) and I really don't know what to expect on that.

If the 1500w won't do the trick I have a 5kw duct heater that will go in that box and I will plug the thing in to my welder outlet for 240v @ 40a. 5kw duct heater is in hand. I am going to win either way - I am not going to let a 20 year old stainless steel box beat me at this.

Thanks again for the welcome and the help.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
I will post some pics just to keep this going

A few pics of the 1500w continuous rated dimmer just for kicks - if that existing 1500w element can hold 250+f then I will throw some concrete blocks in the bottom to kick up the recovery time and wire in the dimmer to bypass the current stat and I'm done.

If that 1500W element can't get the job done then I plan to step it up - to a 5kw heater which I already have in hand. I will need to go PID for a stat for this. If it comes to this I will post a very detailed writeup.

I will keep this up to date and let all know what is going on. I am going to smoke some meat in this MF no matter what it takes.

Thanks again.

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