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FREEZER CURING CHAMBER STARTED.

Robert H

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I have just started on a curing chamber build, if you want to call it that. I picked up an inkbird humidity sensor a couple weeks ago on Kijiji (think craigslist) and then ordered an inkbird temp control on the big A online store. So, I start hunting around for a freezer and found one today for $45. I had a line on the same model that was virtually new but could not come to the price I wanted. Just as well, I can make my mistakes on this one. I would have preferred a large stand up but it is in my garage and with the meat stuff and woodworking stuff it could only go under a halfwall in the back off garage.
I researched a few builds on here and elsewhere and found Indaswamps build and how he found the cooling lines by applying a mix of alcohol and cornstarch to the exterior of the unit and finding the ghost lines that would appear after sometime. Great idea, but it did not work and I think I know why. So, I took a small drill bit and poked four corners out and then cut through the exterior skin with a small cutoff wheel in my dremel tool. I pulled the tab out and started removing insulation until I hit the interior wall. The cooling lines were about a quarter inch below the bottom of opening and I think that either I did not wait long enough for ghostlines to appear or the insulation would not let it. Hope that makes sense. Since I safely had room I drilled four more small holes into the interior wall and then cut an opening with the dremel again.
I then ran the thermostat sensor and humidity sensor through and wil decide later where to route them. The temp sensor works and was easy to set. I do not have a dehumidifier or humidifier yet, so still a little work to do.
At this point, I have about $145 into it and should end up under $300 for the whole thing. Looking forward to some curing!
Sorry about the pic quality, I did not use all the vodka for the cornstarch mix, and accidentally swallowed some.
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SmokinEdge

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I don’t know where you live geographically, but generally a chest freezer is the worst possible option for a curing chamber. You will struggle with high humidity. A dehumidifier is essential as is some sort of air exchange. This will be a long curve in learning.

Where I live, the RH is steady at about 20% it goes up and down. I can make this set up work, but only because I have to add humidity all the time.

As a side, why not just drill through the lid towards the back or hinge side? No cooling tubes in the lid.

indaswamp indaswamp
 

Robert H

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I just got the fridge today. It is not complete and as I said in my post, I still have to get a humidifier and dehumidifier and yes, some type of air exchange. I cant see how there is any difference between a fridge or a freezer. I will let you know if I have any problems.
 

mike243

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Ya reckon routing them down through the lid would have been too easy? lol, ran through the door on a stand up model is also safer than trying to miss lines, put near the hinge end and just a little slack would work fine imo
 

Robert H

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I put the controls where I wanted them to be lol. There barely enough room to open the door. You don't see it in the pics but the bottom of my bedroom closet protrudes into my garage and the fridge is under that. Thanks for the comment though.
 

daveomak

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Where do you live ?? If it gets cold, like below 45F, your freezer will not cool and you will need heat to warm it to curing temperatures... Freezers and refrigerators need to be in a heated space....
 

daveomak

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Here's a 200 watt heater that should work well......

HEATER
 

Robert H

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I am just across the river from Detroit, so the heater will likely be needed at some times during the winter as I don't heat my garage unless I am doing some woodworking. Will need dehumidfier and humidifier also. Summers are brutal here so dehumidifier from June to October and humidifier in winter months. Thanks for the link Dave.
 

SmokinEdge

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When you load the chamber with chubs, the humidity will spike. Moisture will condensate on the walls( cold walls warm air) you will need a fan ( very low speed) to just move the air, not too much or you will cause dry rim or case hardening. The dehumidifier will have to be tended to daily at first, to empty the water. With a fridge, when you open the door all the cool air dumps out on the floor, creating air exchange. Chest freezer will need an air exchange of some sort outside to inside. This will be fun. Watching your progress. Looking forward to the first run. Will help all I can.
 

Robert H

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Yeah, fun for sure. I am hunting around for heat source for cooler months as it has been hovering around 46F without unplugged. I should have what I need in a week or two and can start experimenting. Will likely start with some lonza or a capicollo. It would be easier if I could bring into house, as it would likely stay at around 60F, eliminating having a heat source, but the garage is where it will be for now. Thanks to all for your feedback.
 

Robert H

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A little progress made on my curing chamber. I picked up a small heater yesterday, and was at Costco today and found a nice small ultrasonic humidifier, actually two for $59, so have a backup. I also ordered an Evadry mini dehumidifier that should be here tomorrow. In the pic, I also have a small fan that is plugged into the dehumidifier outlet on the controller just to make sure it is cycling properly. I will likely plug the fan into a timer later or install a computer fan somewhere along with some sort of vent. All the wires will get routed and ziptied once I figure out the best place for everything. Both controllers are cycling properly to the limits I set and that will likely change once I am actually curing something.
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That should be pretty soon as I picked up a whole boneless porkloin to make lonza with. So, all in, including freezer, controllers, humidifier and heater I'm at around $280. That's in CDN dollars, not sure of exchange rate now but somewher around $215 U.S. . I will update after the first cure. Thanks for suggestions.
 

SmokinEdge

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Air speed is big. About 1 MPH is all. More than that and you will dry the outside. This is bad. Most use a computer fan, or a setup with a controller to limit fan speed, it must be subtle.
 

indaswamp

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4 inches per second is the optimum fan speed according to Marianski. Just a whisper of air flow in the chamber. Don't blow it directly on product hanging. aim on the floor, roof, or in a corner.
 

SmokinEdge

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4 inches per second is the optimum fan speed according to Marianski.
I’m curious if this is a misprint or if I just missed this somewhere?
In Marianski’s “ Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages “ he states on page #384 that for fermentation, fan speed should be 0.8 m/sec and then on page #385 talking about drying, he states that fan speed should be reduced to 0.5 m/sec or about 1.64 feet per second. He mentions these same numbers on page 301 of “ Spanish Sausages” also. What did I miss?
 

SmokinEdge

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Never mind Inda, I just saw it in “The Art of Making Fermented Sausages, page #20 he says after about 2 weeks lower fan speed from 0.5 m/sec to 0.1 m/sec or about 4 inches/sec. I did miss that.
 

Robert H

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Thanks for comments and imput from all. I recieved my evadry dehumidifier and have been playing with settings. I just looked in an hr ago and noticed a lot of condensation on the walls. It was all fine and I did some adjustments with the humidity controller, so I will reset to what I had. I will use the fan I had and just run it direct into a timer to go on at a regular intervals for now, until I can install a fan in the lid and possibly a vent. I will be starting a new batch of lonza tonight, so it will be ready to go into the chamber in a week or ten days from now, for the maiden voyage. I should add that I was off on my total cost, as I forgot about the taxman(15% in the land of free health care and overly restrictive gun laws). I got the freezer and the humidity controller used, so no tax there, so the total would likely be about $320 CDN.
 

indaswamp

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FYI, turn the humidifier way down to 20-25% of full power....you do not need a lot of humidity added...
 

SmokinEdge

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Most of the humidity will be supplied by the product in the chamber. Dehumidifier is a must until you provide outside air circulation. This can be tricky.
 

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