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Almost ready for a test run

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

It's been a busy summer, so work on my custom build has been a bit slower than I would've liked.  To add on top of that, my computer recently crashed, so the pictures below are only the ones from my phone and not the best.  I hope to do a full writeup once things are more complete, but I just wanted to post an update to solicit any questions comments the forum has to offer.


The basics:  This is a two chamber electric smoker where the larger cooking chamber's temperature can be controlled independently from the smoke generation in the smaller drum (both use hotplates with their warranties voided).  I'm hoping to be able to do hot smoking and cold smoking with this one rig.  Ultimately, I'll have a microcontroller running everything, but for now it's just on or off.











Somehow the one outlet is able to support two of these 1000W hot plates with no trouble!  The relays that will be driving them are rated for 15 amps each, but I still put a heat sink on them.  Hopefully they'll be able to handle it.




My slow progress has allowed the bottom to start rusting since my drums have been outside.  Would a good spray down of Pam or something like that work for seasoning?  I got the eye bolt idea from another build I saw on this site, but they're great.




Took almost an hour to get up to 210 degrees, but I have a big bowl of lava rocks on the hotplate slowing things down.  The idea is that these will help regulate temperature fluctuations.  Come winter, I may need to buy that 1500 W brinkman replacement element some people around here use.




I had no idea if the airflow would work properly between the two chambers.  I haphazardly tossed a few mesquite chips on the heat in the smoking chamber and sealed it up.  Within a few moments, I could start to get a faint smell of smoke coming out of the larger drum which gradually increased.  The laser pointer on my infrared thermometer confirms particulate matter rising from the cooking chamber to match that awesome aroma.  After the wood burnt, I couldn't see the laser anymore, but the inside of the drum still has a nice smoky smell.  In the future, I may add a small fan on the air intake of the smoking drum to help move things along.  This might be a necessity with cold smoking since I won't get the same amount of convection to pull the smoke through the hose.


So I'm gonna do a small test run tomorrow.  I got a 1 lb salmon fillet with a simple salt, sugar, pepper cure in the fridge overnight.  Gonna put a thermometer in the fillet and try to keep the heat as low as possible.  I'm going for 140 internal, right?  Would a smoking temperature of 150 or 160 be too slow?


Like I said, once things are more complete I'll post more detail.  Thanks for lookin'.

post #2 of 3
Thread Starter 

The salmon cured overnight and the pictures below are right after I washed it clean.  It's sitting in the fridge uncovered drying now.  I'm hoping to start around 1 this afternoon after these storms move through.  4 hours should be enough time for a decent pellicle to form, right?









I didn't do the cleanest job taking the pin bones out.


I ended up putting a little honey in the cure since I only had white sugar and no brown.  If I do some kind of mop or glaze with honey late in the smoke, would it come out too sweet for dinner?  Or is that really a matter of taste?  I guess I'll have to try and find out.


Will keep ya posted.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Finally got it done.  Cooked to 140 internal in about 2.5 hours with the smoker between 160 and 180.  It could've definitely gone another 5 degrees to firm up the inside, but still delicious.  The outer layer was a bit salty, so maybe a little longer rinse next time.  The sweetness was perfect


slamo 1 hour.JPG

This was at 1 hour.  Internal temperature was about 113 from a starting point of around 65.


smoking wood.JPG


Two lumps of hickory was more than enough.  I actually killed the hotplate under this about halfway through and let it smolder out b/c I was worried about too much smoke on the fish.  Should've kept it going since the smoke flavor was nice, but could have been a lot stronger.


slamon finished.JPG


Finished piece.  I was getting hungry, so pushed the temp up at the end to hurry things along.  The caused some of the white stuff to ooze out, but I wiped it off for the picture.  I put it in the fridge for about an hour then flaked it into some pasta with white wine sauce.  Awesome!  Even the girlfriend ate it up.  Though she complained about the smoke leaking into the house, so I'll have to keep the patio door closed all the way next time and move everything further away.

Scooped that little fatty belly piece up with my finger and ate it on its own...WOW!


Overall, a decent test run on the new rig.  Plenty more work to do it, but I'm pleased so far.  Next up: baby back ribs.

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