Computer Server Cabinet Smoker

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Jan 17, 2011
Winona, MN
My buddy and I had been using the GOSM smoker for all of our smoking needs the past several years.  We definately put out some good pork, chicken, jerky, hotsticks, and sausage with the GOSM, but we decided that we wanted to go bigger.  We typically put together some big batches of venison jerky, hotsticks, and sausage - 20 to 30 lbs of jerky, 30 to 40 lbs of hotsticks, and 50 lbs or more of sausage.  We would have to do 3 to 4 batches in the GOSM and it became quite a long weekend.

I was walking through the warehouse at work one day and saw some old computer server cabinets that they were getting rid of.  These cabinets are roughly 2 ft wide X 3 ft deep X 6.5 ft tall and have a hinged door on one side and an are open on the opposite side.  I figured we could probably make ourselves a big version of the GOSM with one of these cabinets, so I took one of the cabinets and a door from another cabinet (to use as a second door for the open side of the cabinet).  We got the cabinet and doors sandblasted at a local shop and  painted up with some grill paint.  We had 4 expanded metal racks made up and secured them in the cabinet with some L- channel that is bolted to the inside of the cabinet.  The nice thing about the computer server cabinet is that it already has adjustability built into it to support the different sizes of servers that are in it - we just bolt in the L-channel at whatever height we need our racks to be.  The doors were the next issue - they had vents built into them to keep the servers cool.  We ended up tack welking some sheet metal over the vents on the inside of the door, leaving the bottom 3 vents open on each door for air intakes.  The next task was the burner.  We ended up with a pipe burner, regulator and needle valve from Tejas Smokers.  These guys were great to work with and helped us out with many questions.  We drilled a hole in the side of the cabinet and inserted the pipe burner into the cabinet.  The venturi and hose can be seen in one of the pictures below.on the left side of the smoker.  Finally, we drilled a hole in the top and put in a small chimney with a baffle in it to give us some adjustability.

3 of the racks are used for cooking, with the bottom rack holding some heavy duty cooking trays loaded with bricks.  This catches any grease drippings, helps distribute heat evenly and the bricks hold some heat for us.  Below the bottom rack we put a cast iron pan about 6 inches above the pipe burner for a wood pan.  We are able to hold temps anywhere from about as low as 120 to 250 and up without any issues.  We were a little worried, because the unit is not insulated, but we haven't seen any huge temp differences in the smoker and have had no problems even with our cold temps up here in MN.  All in all, we could not ask for this thing to work any better and it has produced some of our best smokes to date.  We can also hold a ton of meat in this thing.  We can now do 30 lbs of jerky at one time (we use 1/8 inch stainless rod held up by the L-channel to skewer all of our jerkey - a heck of a lot easier than toothpicks), 40 lbs of hot sticks at one time, and over 100 lbs of sausage in one batch.  Pics below. . . . . . .





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Reactions: dwrek
Very cool - you are going to have some fun with that. Thanks for sharing

Now what do you tell your boss when he find out that the server is messed up??? Very cool project and it looks like it will smoke a ton of meat too. 
Nice job! Those old server rack cases can be great! I have a co-worker that has one that he turned into a parts and storage cabinet with rollout shelves - he repairs and re-builds Mikuni carb's for people.
Thanks everyone.  We were thinking about keeping the roll out shelves in the unit, but the way we built it gives us more adjustability.  We also figured that the access from both sides eliminates any need for the rollouts.
Well son of a gun I thought I would be the first to try this. Just got started on my server cabinet build. Im going to start a thread as I get all the parts in. Fantastic can't wait.

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Ha Ha that's funny I was thinking about doing the same thing with some server racks that we had a work but I ended up going with the big crate I found at work and made that into my smoke shack. Great looking smoker. It sure is nice to have a big smoker when you are doing large volumes of sausage, sticks, etc. isn't it.
Why start a new thread when this is already going... here is my progress. Slow going right now as I am still waiting for parts.

I decided to strip it. Big mistake. Ended up sanding it, worked ok. Wish I just got it blasted though. Still waiting for parts to complete the burners. I can't wait either.

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A little more progress, I used some orifices off of an old grill to mock up the burner. I was able to sustain a constant 170 even without seals and many holes that still need plugged. I don't know what is taking so long for the parts to finish this, the suspense is killing me. I am almost out of kielbasa from my old smoker and need to restock.


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