Electric Smoker Modifications

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Nice work, Mikey. Welcome to the SMF! Do you have any pics of the mod we could see?

PS - if you did not already, stop by roll call and introduce yourself. Folks here are nosey.
As soon as I get back into town, I'll post some pics of my mod(s). Not exactly rocket science, but it works.
Okay guys, first of all I'm 26 yrs old and live in Grand Junction, Colorado. I have been wanting to buy a smoker for the last year or so and up untill now did all of my handy work on a Propane Grill. I ventured out to buy an Electric smoker and ended up with a Big Chief. I should have know by the price that it wasn't what I wanted so I used it about 3 times and decided that I needed more heat and insulation. In original form it gets up to about 165* which is fine for making Jerky or cooking beef. I wanted to broaden my horizons so I began pondering what to do with this halfway smoker.

I ended up taking the element out of the smoker and eliminating the tabs that hold the element in place. I then proceded to widen the hole in the rear of the smoker so that the electrical receptical from my Presto electric skillet would fit inside with the thermostat on the outside. I am in the process as we speak of smoking a 2.5# london broil for the test run. I also bought the insulation blanket that was made for the Big Chief for extra heat protection. The walls are extremely thin on the Big Chief so this is needed.

For the first 3 hrs I ran at the full 400* temp that the skillet would allow because this is the only way the wood willl smoke. That gave me a temp at right around 200-215 inside the smoker. I only ran smoke for almost 3hrs and used the rest to slow cook it. Right now I'm getting ready to check the internal temp and hopefully pull the meat. I will post some QVIEW when I'm done. Here are some pics of the modificaions.

Widened the rear hole for the power source.

Front view.

Here it is in my shed because of the wind and a little rain today.
While at Home Depot getting dowel rods for sausage stuffing horn pushers, I got an extra one to do a quick mod to my smoker; drilled two ½" holes for a ½" oak dowel so I can hang sausage vs. laying on the racks. Going to need to plug up the holes during conventional smoking, will probably utilize a couple small corks for it.

Now, looks like I've got some cleaning to do!
Some time ago I was fortunate to pick-up 2 Char-Broil wattburners from Home Depot for the bargain basement price of $30.00 for both. The helpfull sales associate even slipped in an extra element w/thermostat. Those of you that have these types of smokers know what a crappy fit the stock lid is since it fits inside the smoker body, and it's even worse if the smoker body has a bit of out of round condition. Being content to not leave well enough alone, I decided to make the bottom the lid. Here are the steps that I did & the final result. This is the bottom with the legs still attached & the element removed.

I used .050 aluminum to plate the leg slots & element locations. Since there was some surface rust I went ahead and removed it. A light coat of cooking oil will go on just prior to this afternoons smoke.

I made a vent from the same .050 aluminum and drilled 2 9/16" holes for vents. Below is the final pic with the handle & vent installed.The lid now fits just like a Weber which is much better. This should work like a champ and I'll soon find out when the tri-tip & chicken thighs go on shortly. Thanks for lookin' & Happy Smokin' Saturday to all.
I currently own a Brinkmann stand up charcoal smoker. I am being forced to convert it to electric as I just moved to a condo. How should I go about it? I am not very interested in purchasing a Brinkmann electric converter as it costs about as much as i paid for the original smoker.

I have seen a few people on the web talk about using a 1000W hot plate to heat a cast iron pan full of wood chips. Are there any draw backs? Could the hot plate melt? Also, one of these posts recommended detaching the heat element from the base controls.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi rooriders, first let me welcome you to SMF and suggest that you stop in the roll call thread and introduce yourself and tell us a little about your experience an equipment...

That will give everyone a chance to properly welcome you...

Next, the thermostat you have looks to me that it will only go to 80º...
Assuming you are using 110 volts and not 220 volts....
I would use illustration T410A as it is simpler and will get the job done.
T1 and L1 is probably red. Black not used.

If that makes no sense, buy someone a 6 pack and have them check it for you.

p.s. Beer-B-Q is right. Only goes to 80 degrees. Ok for smoking cheese. That's all.
Thanks, Beer-B-Q.

As I understand it, there's no actual temperature sensor on this, and it's merely a high wattage rheostat. I could be wrong, though. Can anyone tell for sure by looking at the manual?
After dealing with my Brinkmann Electric gourmet a few times before I ended up gettting an ECB Brinkmann and then Afterburner, I finally decided to see what could be done about getting the temperature under controll and being able to smoke are more than just one temp with the electric. Ended up adding a PID Temp Controller, that triggers an SSR and flips the burner on and off and looks way more advanced than it is. I got the idea here and here is what my setup ended up like.

Anybody know what model the presto skillet is that was used in this modification? I did search and did.t find one that had the plugin on that side. Thanks
I wired an elctric range burner control in line with an extension coord and it controls the temperature perfectly.

I have been enjoying my Electric Brinkman for a few months now and I truly enjoy it, except the wood cleanup from the lava pan. I decided to make a couple of mods.

Added an aftermarket thermometer from Academy at $9.95 (Yes, I know its not needed but it drives me crazy not knowing)

Then, drilled a few holes in the bottom pan and inserted three bolts, washers, and nuts to hold an old Weber smokey Joe grill grate above the element. Now I just place a foil pan on top of the grate and throw away when used for easy cleanup. Seems to work really well. Happy smoking!
Since new, I started putting the chips in a 1-pound coffee can. Position the can so it makes maximum contact with the element. Cleanup involves dumping the ashes in a trash can. The only caveat is the can will *probably* have a plastic label or paint that should be removed (or else ... YUCK!). I do this by "seasoning" the can on the heating element without the barrel or lid. Takes about 10 minutes.


On a side note, I just love my electric ECB. I can buy three cows, a pig, and a herd of chickens, a truckload of herbs and spices, *AND* a new ECB for the price of a Masterbuilt. And I haven't heard any complaints.


Steve in chilly NM
Has anyone found a stainless pan that fits the ECB?

I'm using foil, but it's still a PIA...
when you rewire the control which wire is the white and which is black, theres one wire that hooks to the probe, and one that goes to nothin, is the white wire the one that hooks to the probe? 
Dang near cheating!

Hi all.  My name is Steve and I am now a meat smoking addict.  After 25 years of grilling, I finally made the jump into smoking meat and cannot get enough.  Born and raised in southern Tx, i recently moved to Wi.  I currently live in an apartment (after the move) where flame based cookers are not allowed.  Being one that cannot live w/o cooking outside, I bought a Brinkman elec smoker/grill (BES) to get me through and have become quite proficient.  With some wood chips/chunks, you would never know it was electric.

Now to the point....

I have made two mods (non invasive) to my BES.  The first was to add a Weber snap-in thermometer, located between the two racks, to see what my temps really were.  After realizing that the temps were too high for proper smoking (275F), I added the second mod - the temperature controller.  Since the first one is a no-brainer, I will focus on the second.


This controller is wired into a 10Ga GFCI extension chord of about 5' in length.  It uses an Omega lab grade electronic temp control unit to turn a solid state relay (2500W) on/off to hold the temperature (Green temp [225.0] is the target and Red [227.1] is the current temp).  The switch controls the power with three settings ON, OFF or AUTO.  OFF is well... off, duh.  ON is full power w/o interruption if needed.  AUTO lets the controller do its thing.  The green plug/wire is the thermistor and I locate the tip inside the smoker right next to the meat.  The OUTPUT light only lights up when the unit is passing power through - you can watch it pulse while it's holding temp.  

NOTE: This controller has/can be used to control the temp in all kinds of things.  I have used it in a foam hot-box for warming wood and stain before application in a cold basement - a tiny personal heater/fan was the heat source.  Flood lights are also good sources of heat.  The controller can also be programmed to cool something by switching a small A/C unit on/off.


The results are better than I could have imagined.  On a calm day it can hold temp at +/- 0.5F.  The temp varies since the top and bottom of the BES do not form a great seal.  Some fireplace rope around the joints will remedy that.  Basically, it is now a smoke pumping electric oven.  Just set it and forget it.  It does take some of the fun out it, but with two small kids and a picky significant other its perfect for now.
Wingnutt, I sent you a PM.

I've been looking online to see if I could buy a temperature controller.  I thought I had one in the Brewer's Edge E54, but after calling them I found out that the max operating temperature was 200 F.  I would love to build one of those, if it wasn't too terribly difficult.
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