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'.