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Old Mini Fridge into an A-Maze-N Cold Smoker! - Page 2

post #21 of 53

On second thought, dry ice wouldn't be very safe without some way to ventilate the carbon dioxide: http://www.howstuffworks.com/question264.htm

post #22 of 53
Thread Starter 

Three hours in and we're up to 109°.  Wonder at what point the cheddar will soften considerably?  150° or so?  Or higher, maybe 180°? 



post #23 of 53
Thread Starter 

Well, I answered my own question - after the last post I decided to open the door and check it; yup, you guessed it, it'd softened already.  Hadn't gone thru the grates but was cut in deep.  I carefully pulled it out onto a plate and took a pic.  Now it's in the fridge hardening up for a second round of smoke.  I don't think my little frozen cubes could make much difference, but I'll try 'em!




But, the cuts through it opened up more surface area so it's all good!  I'll chill down for an hour and put back in.  Where's the 'off' switch on the AMNS? haha! 

post #24 of 53

That's what I thought.

I had mine go up pretty good on one of my smokes. All I did was open the door once in awhile. It takes it longer to build the heat with the door closed than it takes to get it down with the door open. My MES holds heat pretty good too, but probably not as good as your fridge/smoker.

Somebody else had theirs melt pretty good (I think it was SOB), but he said it really tasted great. Maybe if you crack the door open a little?

When you open the door to cool off, you lose heat & smoke, but it gets smokey in a minute or two when you close it again, but it takes awhile for the heat to go back up. At least that's the way it worked for me with an abient temp of about 80˚.




post #25 of 53
Thread Starter 

Well, the proof is in the pudding.. what an A-MAZE-EN flavor!  After a 3 hour smoke, it's smoked enough!   I don't need to do it any longer.  I took the AMNS and shoveled out the dust about an inch away from the burn to stop it.  The cheese is in the fridge in a bag.. I just got to leave it alone (sob!).  But, I'll do some more tonight!

Wife and I decided to go to IKEA for a look-around, we usually go every 6 mo. or so, it's in Frisco, about an hour away.  More experimenting when we get home!

post #26 of 53
Thread Starter 

Test no. 2 this morning; it's 78° out at 6:30 am.  Loaded it up with a brick of Pepper Jack, a larger brick of Monterey Jack, and a stack of 6 string cheese.  The Mont. Jack I split down the middle and put the three pieces on edge on a plate; the string cheese I stacked 3x3 on a smaller plate.  I started the other end of the AMNS (handy being able to do it that way!) to continue it smoking and put an ice brick on each side of it on the floor.003.JPG


The temp was @ 76° before I opened the door, went up to 78° when I closed it, counteracting the cooling effect.  No noticeable smoke out the chimney yet but the cavity has smoke throughout it.

Coming back from Ikea we met our older son and his wife at Chili's just up the street from their house in Kennedale and I was telling him about yesterday's experiment.  He just said, "Yadda yadda yadda.. so WHERE"S MINE??!!" lol.  Guess I'll have to drive over a piece or two this morning, haha!  Both sons sure inherited dad's smoking passion!

post #27 of 53
Thread Starter 

Just checked it at 8:45, the outside temp is 79° and in the box is 85°, smoke is wafting out the top pipe and the box has good smoke in it, nothing has melted so smoking has been going on for about 2 hours so far!

post #28 of 53

Great looking smoker Pops and a great idea for sure- nice build

post #29 of 53
Thread Starter 

At 9:30 I changed out the ice bricks with 2 ice bags I had in the back freezer.  It had gotten up to 99° with outside temp of 83°; now at 10am it's down to 93°!  So by changing out the bricks every hour or so you can extend your smoke time or use larger ice, as Todd suggested frozen milk cartons, ziplock bags, etc. 

Also, by putting the cheese on plates it doesn't have the cutting effect of the grates.  The cheese is softened but not melting or misshapen.  I did turn it over on it's opposite side around 8:30 am and it's doing well and definitely has a brown darkening from the smoke!  The sticks I left alone, they're just sittin' and smokin'!004.JPG






It's stabilized at 92° now until the pacs warm up, so with rotating some sort of iced body you can keep the temp down continuously enough to do a good smoke!  Now, our temp here today is cold at 83° (almost sweater weather! lol!).  If it's 110° then I think you'd have to be chilling quite a bit to keep it down in temp but you still should be able to cold smoke to some extent, or do it at night when it's 20° or more cooler.  You would have to babysit every couple hours changing out your icing packs. 

Of course, this is a tiny little box.  If you were to use a bigger one, 3.1 - 4.5 cu ft size, you should be able to control your temps very easily with the right amount of ice.  Keeping it on the floor eliminates the drafting problem, it cools the smoke as is emits from the AMNS keeping temps down more from the ground up.

And, at 60° in the fall  or winter, there'd be no problem whatsoever, it will make a convenient, easy-to-use cold smoker for any product!

Next project is to build a 4' tall, 1.5' square cold smoker that I can either hook up to the exhaust of my big smokehouse with a convoluted run of metal duct to dispell the heat but still deliver the smoke, or to use the AMNS in it when I'm not running the big smokehouse and have racks to do a larger amount of product!


I would definitely consider this project a total success and am totally impressed with the A-Maze-En smoke unit!  It delivered in spades!  The only thing I didn't try with it was to fill each row with different sawdust, so you start with hickory, go into apple, then cherry and finish with maple!  Now that would be quite a unique application you can use it for! 

post #30 of 53

Nice set up Pops.


Might consider purchasing a variable speed low flow fan (computer chip cooler fans work well) and building a small induced draft system for the smoker.  It will get you more consistant results on smoke density.

post #31 of 53

Glad that this is working out well Pops.  I have a 4.2 cf fridge here in my office at work; it's been a great little unit keeping the sodas cold and the lunches and suppers safe going on 10 years now. After reading the success that you have had, I've been sitting here thinking of ways to speed up it's eventual demise so I can order a replacement for it and "properly" disposing the old fridge.

post #32 of 53
Thread Starter 

That nick in the electric cord could be dangerous and start a fire...

post #33 of 53
Thread Starter 

Need my jackknife?? :)

post #34 of 53

Great job Pops!  Did the cheese that melted have more flavor than the cheese that softened?? Was the cheese that softened on the plate sweating?? Just wondering if the sweating allows for more smoke penetration?


post #35 of 53



Great Post and follow up!!!


It's gonna be trial and error to figure out the correct amount of ice necessary to keep the temps down during warmer weather, but looks like you've got some great data so far.



Great Job!





No Creosote! A-Maze-N Smokers

post #36 of 53
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by SmokingOhioButcher View Post

Great job Pops!  Did the cheese that melted have more flavor than the cheese that softened?? Was the cheese that softened on the plate sweating?? Just wondering if the sweating allows for more smoke penetration?



No, didn't have more flavor, the cheddar was about as soft as the others but being on the grate it sunk thru, the plate kept it from doing that holding its shape better.  Yes, they all were sweating, don't know if it allowed for more or not.  The sweat dried quickly tho once I took them out and refrigerated them.  The flavor was awesome however!


post #37 of 53

Great little build Pops!  I'm sure your neighbors are having to put their appliances under lock and key!   Thanks for the detaild pictures.

post #38 of 53

Fantastic idea, Pops! Been thinking lately about smoking some homemade mozzarella and am now licking my chops even more!

post #39 of 53

Somehow I miss a post or two on here. Thats a great little smoker ya got there Pops.  The play by play was very informative.

post #40 of 53


I realize this is an old thread, but it makes sense to bring it back for a question or two.  Hope nobody gets bent out of shape over it...


I'm working on doing this to a 4.3 cu.ft. unit, and have a couple of questions:


1.  Are those vinyl covered shelves, painted shelves, or plastic?  How are they holding up?


2.  My little fridge has a freezer compartment:


I plan to leave it in to throw blue ice in to help keep the temps down.  I'm concerned that this will block the flow of smoke if I put the exhaust in the top of the fridge.  Does it make sense to put it at the very top of the back panel instead, to pull the smoke around the obstruction?   Or will it actually be beneficial to slow the flow down to keep the smoke in the smoker longer?


Thanks.  I'll post pics once I get it started.  Well, maybe I will, if I can figure it out...

Edited by stubborn - 5/25/11 at 7:32pm
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