Building Charcoal smoker out of freezer

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by davenh, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Here's the start of the latest project.

    Building a smoker out of an older upright freezer. The main fuel will be charcoal, but also adding a 1500W electric element and PID controller. Aluminum interior and exterior with 2" of fiberglass insulation in between. I'm hoping to reach 325 for smoking poultry.

    Outside dimensions are 51"H x 24"W x 24"D. The inside dimensions will be 40"H x 20"W x 22"D.


    4 cooking racks and 1 water pan rack. Racks will be 20" x 22". This gives 1760 sqin of usable cooking area.

    If things go as planned (usually don't [​IMG]), I want to get temps close with charcoal and bump it with the element for even temp control.

    The charcoal will go in a chargriller side firebox. I guess this smoker would be more of a vertical offset.

    Here's a few pics of the start. I'll be collecting materials and hacking away at it over the next month [​IMG].


    Removed the old liner and foam insulation. Used a torch to burn out any leftover foam residue. Riveted .062" thick aluminum to the exterior to add some strength. Aluminum sheet is from a local salvage yard so looks kinda scuzzy, but will clean it up and paint later.


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    Here's where the firebox will eventually go.

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    Fun project so far, I'll post more in-progress pics as it goes [​IMG]. Tomorrow I'll start building in the liner.
     
  2. ronp

    ronp Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks good so far Dave keep keep the pics coming.
     
  3. Looka pretty darn good so far Dave! Good fab work on the aluminum.


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    Keep us posted!
     
  4. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    DaveNH
    Looks like it will be a very nice, well thought out build. I am looking forward to seeing it progress.
     
  5. teeotee

    teeotee Smoking Fanatic

    Hey nice looking project.

    Recently i was out looking around our sheds here, seeing what could be tossed onto a bonfire when i came across our old upright freezer. I think ours is around the same size. I thought hmmmmm that could make a good smoker, just wasn't sure which way to go.
    I think you have given me some inspiration ! [​IMG]
     
  6. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    Looks cool.

    I saw something similar in a book a few years ago and always thought it would be neat to take an old refrigerator and/or oven to make a smoker.
     
  7. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks guys...I'm hoping it turns out ok..lol.

    I'm just glad the aluminum cuts easily with table and miter saws. I don't have a brake, so bending the corners in place with the old mallet and 2x4 technology [​IMG].

    I'm not exactly sure how to attack the liner, but will get it in there. Will hopefully update with more pics later [​IMG].
     
  8. crash01

    crash01 Newbie

    Looks very good I have been thinking along the same lines but cannot find a old fridg. or frez. but I do have a 1000 gallon Lp tank???????? but not alot of time to work on it though......keep the updates coming please.I do have a line on a 10'x10' shipping container I was thinking of useing for cold smoking...........all metal, double doors....ummm my wife know I am crazy so theres no problem there she just smiles and goes back in the house (very good women) in all honesty we both just love to see the other happy.Best of luck with your project.
     
  9. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    looks good keep us posted[​IMG]
     
  10. munymunyd

    munymunyd Newbie

    Looks great. Two weeks ago I took my old (50 yrs old) refridge apart. Took out the compressor, the insulation and anything else that I felt didnt below.

    I was going to powerwash to get the rest of the instulation out, but I like your idea of burning it out. I will powerwash after. I will post my progress as well.

    I have a couple of questions as your pics/plans are the best I have seen online.

    - Was the added alumumn only for structure or for added insulation properties

    - My refridge lining seems to have an enamal paint on it. Did yours as well? If so, did you try and remove the "paint".

    - What did you use to insulate the walls?

    I look forward to see your progress.

    Doug
     
  11. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    HEy Doug... Welcome to SMF from Lake Orion area. Stop into the Roll Call forum and give us a bit of an introduction... experience, smoker type, etc. Kind of a tradition...like smoking meats :{)
     
  12. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks Terry, already had to change plans on the liner [​IMG]. Was going to put angle and individual panels inside, now going to build the interior box separately then fit it in the exterior box after.

    That would be one whopper of a smoker! You could just walk the cow right in [​IMG]. My girl is the same way except she also does the head shaking thing too. [​IMG].


    Hi Doug...I wasn't going to put the aluminum on the outside, but the walls were kinda thin and needed some support after pulling out the blown in foam insulation. I had extra sheet so figured why not use it up.

    The liner was a b*tch to pull out. It was metal and glued right into the foam. Thought I got lucky and the metal would have fiberglass under it, no luck. The box was the size I wanted, so yanked it all out. The foam is only good for a couple hundred degrees. Chunked and scraped out most of it, lit up the rest and brushed out the ash.

    I'm going to insulate it with fiberglass insulation.

    The paint on the liner was tough stuff, the torch hardly made a mark on it unless I heated the hell out of it. I don't know what the material is, but I pulled it anyways. Seems lots of folks use the enameled liner for smoking so you might be ok. I just don't know a lot about it.
     
  13. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Made some progress today, got the liner together. [​IMG]

    Here's a few pics.


    Bent edges and laid in a bead of hi-temp RTV adhesive to seal it up, then riveted the seams.

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    Placed it in the box to checkout the fit, lines up great with a couple inches all around for insulation.

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    Will post more as it goes [​IMG].
     
  14. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Got a little further. Still need to mount the electronics, door and firebox, but getting there :). I'll find more time next week to finish.


    Aluminum angle to support the liner and give an even 2" spacing for the insulation.

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    Added the insulation.

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    Liner going in, used some extra sheet metal to help keep the insulation in place while fitting it in. Kinda like a shoe horn.

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    Cut out access to element connections and thermocouple wire. I'll cove these with a plate after.


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    Aluminum trim on. Still need to add a few more rivets and cut out the interior stack and firebox openings, but in place.

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    More later :).
     
  15. white cloud

    white cloud Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That should work good for ya . keep us posted, and be sure to post the first Q off of that thing. Good Luck.
     
  16. seminole

    seminole Fire Starter

    DaveNH,

    Great work, I am impressed. In case you decide one day to produce fermented sausages (salami), now it may be the right time to give it some thought.
    Have a look at the link below that deals with the equipment which is needed for making fermented sausages at home conditions. May be you will find something useful. The idea of using computer fan for drying is pretty interesting.

    http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/ferment.../equipment.htm
     
  17. dangerdan

    dangerdan Meat Mopper OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice clean looking work there Dave. A darned site better looking than the burned out version of the earlier interior. Have you decided on your heat source yet? Should be alot easier to cut in than the porcelain enamel I had to deal with.
    Looking good!

    Just a side note; I was passing by a local apple orchard today and stopped in for a 1/2 bushel of apples and to inquire about the trimming refuse a nice sized orchard has to offer. I struck gold there. Guy offered me all the wood I could carry away for nothing.

    While we were talking I was telling him about my recent fridge project and he takes me over to his shed and shows me this 1950ish commercial deep freez locker that went south on him.

    One thing led to another and, well, it looks like I'll have another project coming up soon. I thought it'd be a lil rude to snap a pic of it right there but It is a perfect model for a botton fire pit. It's certainly a heavy one. I'll probably be picking it up in a couple weeks. I figured I'd cook him a nice butt for the freezer and future benefits of a nice apple wood source.
     
  18. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I guess I must have missed this post when it was fresh. That build is awesome! Nicely done.
     
  19. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks Josh :).

    I lost the part 2 thread, so I'll add the rest of the build.

    Here is the finish.


    Mounted the firebox, stack and started building out the inside shelves. Brackets are 1.5" aluminum angle. Stack is a rolled and riveted scrap piece of aluminum.

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    Stripped out the door and rebuilt. I used some small aluminum blocks for spacers between the inner and outer door. The gasket is a soft silicon rubber cord held on with Hi-Temp Permatex gasket adhesive.

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    Not sure if we still have a 10 pic limit, so will break it up. Continued in next post :).
     
  20. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Continued :).


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    Door mounted.

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