Choosing electric element for old oven smoker build

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by baconjacobs, May 6, 2013.

  1. Hi everyone, I am greatly inspired by your forum and while mulling over buying an MES 30, I realized that I have an old gas stove in my garage that I want to convert to an electric smoker. (Locking door, glass in the door for visibility, high-temp light already inside, much bigger rack capacity, already vented cavity, and cheaper... $0! This means my budget is up to the price of a new MES 30 electric smoker.) I will gut it, but it up on a wooden caster frame, extra insulate it, and add external electronic controls. I will be using PID controls designed for controlling a 120V element, and I need to decide what kind of burner would be best. The woodchips and burner are going to be in the storage drawer so I can easily add more smoke without losing heat.

    My first idea was to use this as an easy heat source to put the chips on. The other good part is that the control knob allows me to adjust the power output to fine tune the amount of on-time of the burner and therefore hopefully the smoke performance. I would mount this knob by the PID controls.

    Then I realized at work I can get what is called an "electric baking assist" element, which is an electric oven-type calrod element that is used as a broil on the lower oven in double ovens. It is rated for 120V and 1150W. This is much larger than the hot plate and I would have to suspend the chip supply over the burner somehow. It is still much smaller than a typical 240V electric broil element though. I could also run a potentiometer to this to limit the amount of power output and again hopefully fine tune the smoke performance. It is closest to the MES Electric Analog element if I had to choose something to compare it to.

    Does anyone have a good idea which of these two options would be the best starting point? Even if I make a mistake and re-do it later, I would like to choose the smartest option upfront.
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  3. Thanks, Dave.  I will probably move forward with Auber Instruments PID controller with built-in relay for control.  It can handle up to 1200 Watts of power, and this element is only 1150.  That or I will pay the extra $8 for the external relay... haven't decided.

    I see that a lot of people pair up their electric smokers with an AMNPS.  Could explain how that works?  I set the temp with the heating element, and separately the smoke generation is produced by the AMNPS smoker, right?  The AMNPS can do up to 11 hours of smoke, but I assume I can easily put just enough pellets for a shorter smoke when doing something like ribs.

    Can you also give a beginner a good suggestion on what the best flavors of pellets for brisket and baby back ribs are?  I understand they might be different.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pitmaster's Choice is a very mild, everyone likes, blend...  I use that alot, and at times add some mesquite, when doing beef....  I like the "hint" of mesquite on beef and shrimp and other stuff...  Some has mentioned Peach when smoking cheese..... I haven't ordered pellets from Todd since he got peach in inventory, so haven't tried some of the new woods he's got in...

    The AMNPS will smoke until you dump the lit pellets.... Needs no additional source of heat or anything.... (except oxygen)...  light it... it smokes.... food tastes good...   Todd did us all a good turn when he woke up in the middle of the night with his A...HA....  moment....

    You can look up threads using "pellets and flavor" in the search bar, or call Todd....   He's an advertiser, and avid supporter of this forum..

    Look under SPONSORS on the top bar.... his number should be in there...  Occasionally he has a really good sale for members....  


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