1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

building my own smoker (what could go wrong?)

Discussion in 'Smoke Houses' started by thejester, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. thejester

    thejester Newbie

    OK, I have been using a ECB for a few years now.  I have convinced myself that I would smoke more if it were not such a hands on experience.  A friend of mine recently picked up a Smokin-it electric smoker and he thinks it is fantastic.  So, looking to get the ease of an electric smoker, without the expense, I wonder if I can do something similar.

    According to my calculations, I need about 50 BTU to maintain 250 degrees in the ECB.  A 1000 Watt hot plate puts out more than 3000 (gleaning information from the web). 

    So the plan is simple.  Soak wood chips and put them in the ECB basin that I would normally put wood chips and charcoal in.  I would then cover the wood chips with an aluminium pie tin to keep air away from them so as not to allow them to catch on fire.  I would then place the hot plate under the basin and use that to heat the ECB as well as create smoke from the chips.

    What bad things am I inviting to happen?

  2. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have used a hot plate in my ECB.  I placed it inside on the bottom of the charcoal pan and ran the cord out through the bottom vent hole.  I placed a small cast iron skillet on top with the wood chunks in it for smoke.  My model pretty much runs on high most of the smoke time.  If you're in a cold climate, you might have problems keeping your temps in the safe zone.
  3. thejester

    thejester Newbie

    Well, just a heads up, my idea did not work.  I was able to create smoke with no problem, but when it came to fitting the hotplate under my smoker, that was a no go.

    I thought that another problem might be creating enough heat if the hot plate cycled, so I decided to see if I could fit my hot plate and a cast iron skillet under the smoker and use the mass of the cast iron skillet to aid in the heating process. 

    With this set-up, I was still able to create smoke, but I was never able to get the rack temperature above 112 degrees (even with using boiling water in the water pan. 

    Well, this started at 6:30 in the morning.  By 8:00, I had the smoker going with charcoal was was resigned to a day of sitting watching my smoker.  6.5 lb boston butt (pork shoulder), 8 hours on the smoker (mopping every hour after meat his 100 degrees), plateaued at 150 degrees, brought into the house and finished (4 more hours) bringing the internal temp to 200 degrees.  Let rest for one hour and had delicious pulled pork.