Chest freezer to smoker build

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Nov 12, 2010
I purchased a chest freezer in about 1977. It is due to be converted into a smoker. Probably next summer. I will fire it with electricity.

It is metal outside and inside w/plastic liner in the lid.

I plan on removing the plastic lid liner and replacing it with steel or aluminum. The magnetic gasket will be replaced with (what do you suggest)? I have read where electric oven gasket is a good choice. I saw some smokers with wood stove gaskets also.

Seems the carcase is somewhat flimsy. It twists and turns fairly easy. I noticed that while trying to level it. The lid is also flimsy. Hopefully this problem will go away when all is set in it's permanent position.

I would like to make this an upright smoker because I have never heard of an electric fired horizontal smoker. Heat travels uphill u-know. Don't know how to make an electric horizontal smoker.

Since this build will take some time, I first need to know if anyone has used a chest freezer for a smoker. Do I need to replace the insulation with Roxul insulation. Seems I read that here somewhere.

How should I reinforce the chest and door to reduce the flex?

Secondly, am I on the right track?

Patience, patience, patience. Good food takes time to prepare. A good smoker takes time to build. Thanks, Dave
I use a chest freezer to cold smoke, and thus it did not require all of the mods yours will. I use a commercial warming cabinet for my hot smoking and that just needed to have smoke added. Using a freezer and looking at how much you will have to do, it almost seems like it would be easier to start from scratch. I am interesting in how this turns out. PLease post pics and I am sure someone here can offer some sage advice.
Thanks for the advice. I believe you are right about starting from scratch.

My current meat smoker is lined with concrete board. I hauled it here when I moved. It does not work in cold weather. Too much thermal mass to get it warm. It works really well when the temp is 80+. Holds too much moisture (condensation) when colder out. Bad choice on my part. I do consider that build "a valuable learning experience".

Since it is below freezing about 3 months of the year here, and not much to pressing stuff to tend to, I decided to build a new smoker and fill up some spare time. By the way, this ambitious project is SMF's doin'. I was perfectly happy on the tractor forum until I found you folks. Thank you very much.

As I gather up all "your thoughts" from the posts and put it all together, I'll post somethin'. Thanks again. Dave is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.