Holding Cooler with a Sous Vide heater

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KM0AGA

Smoke Blower
Original poster
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Nov 25, 2022
112
155
Iowa
Trying something new here. I have an electric SM066 smoker that has a hold feature (145 to 150 degrees) BUT it only holds temps for six hours. I also know that I can set the temp to 145 or 150 and walk away as well. I have been searching far and wide on the internet for holding oven ideas without dropping 4500 bucks on a real holding oven.

My plan is to hold briskets at 150 degrees for at least 24 hours prior to serving. I am smoking a brisket over the Memorial Day weekend.

In the spirit of American exceptionalism, I discovered a Canadian beat me to the punch on this. Not only did he turn a cooler into a holding oven, but he also turned an old chest freezer into one as well. Here is the link:

He did not give any specifics. He just drilled a hole and shoved in the Sous Vide.

Here is my take on this.

Parts: JB Weld, Marine adhesive, two – (2) inch repair couplings, one – 1.5-inch pvc cleanout with plug (optional), four – 12-inch threaded rods, 16 flat washers, 16 nuts, 2 cooling racks that fit your cooler, and 2.75-inch hole saw.

I drilled a hole in the cooler at an angle so the Sous Vide heater would be
somewhat vertical. JB Weld the two repair couplings together and insert them into the hole. Use the marine adhesive to seal the hole and glue the couplings into place.

The rods, washers, and nuts are for holding the rack up and keeping it together.

I am not providing any measurements for hole location or rack set up as it is cooler dependent. The cleanout plug can be insert into the coupling if you want to use the cooler as a cooler.

It's not pretty but see the pics below. It was more difficult than I though to drill a vertical hole in the side of a cooler.

cap.jpg
coupling.jpg
inside.jpg
outside.jpg
rack inside.jpg
rack.jpg
sous vide inside with rack.jpg
sous vide inside with rack.jpg
sous vide inside.jpg
sous vide outside.jpg
sous vide.jpg
 
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Should work I think. So you put water in the bottom and meat above that on a rack? Your just heating the upper space with the hot water below? Interesting concept.

I use a SV stick in a cooler for bagged meats, but your idea of a holding cabinet is a good use of SV water. May have to play with water temps a bit to keep the meat above at 140+ but maybe not. I’ll be watching.
 
Sorry too much work, I will use my master Built electric smoker and set the temp I want, no building ect lol
 
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I believe he'll run it dry.... But one would wonder if the SV will burn up without water to cool it ?
There will be water in the bottom covering the Sous Vide heater.
 
Here is my cooking method for this:

Initial smoker temp: 225 - smoke the brisket until about 165-170
Increase temp to 275 - cook until the temp reaches 185-190

Rest brisket to 155 and wrap with butcher paper place into an aluminum pan and seal off with foil and place into the holding cooler for another 16 hours minimum at 150 degrees.

The brisket won't cook anymore but the long hold should keep rendering and the brisket should be done after 16 more hours.
 
But one would wonder if the SV will burn up without water to cool it ?
From looking at the pics I would think so . Looks like he's no where near the minimum water line . To much of the heating element is exposed to the air .
 
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From looking at the pics I would think so . Looks like he's no where near the minimum water line . To much of the heating element is exposed to the air .
Mine will shut down if the water level gets below the min. I don't know that it will burn the heating element up or not, but shouldn't.
 
From looking at the pics I would think so . Looks like he's no where near the minimum water line . To much of the heating element is exposed to the air .
I can fill the water over the pvc pipe. See pic below. The minimum water line is marked with the red line. I am also going to remove the bracket which lower the heater another two inches. I will be water testing this weekend.

sous vide2.jpg
 
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Interesting. Looking forward to the results. I modded a cooler for SV, but went in thru the top lid. Hope you have a leak free weekend test!
 
From looking at the pics I would think so . Looks like he's no where near the minimum water line . To much of the heating element is exposed to the air .
Winner. Winner. Chicken Dinner. My angle needs to be about 1/2 inch more to lower the Sous Vide under water at the minimum mark. Where I screwed the pooch is placing the hole too close to the bottom. I am going to use my maritime Loctite and a piece of plastic to seal the hole and start over.

I have a 26 qt Polycarbonate Food Pan 20"L x 13"W x 8"D. I'm testing it know to see what the internal air temperature is with the water temperature at 150 degrees. It's not insulated it has an insulation sleeve that fits around the container.

The racks I purchased for the cooler fit perfectly. I'll have enough space to elevate the rack and keep the brisket out of the water.

After 30 minutes, the water temperature is 150 degrees and the air temperature 134 degrees and rising.

I'll post more later.
 
From looking at the pics I would think so . Looks like he's no where near the minimum water line . To much of the heating element is exposed to the air .
My Anova will shut off if water is below the minimum line, so won’t heat or circulate without correct water level.
 
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Over heated or shut off fail safe results in the same non function .
I can fill the water over the pvc pipe.

Since water seeks it's own level the fill level will be highest point of the lower ( I/ D. ) penetration , unless you seal the Anova in the hole .
I'm hoping it works just as you want it to .
 
Over heated or shut off fail safe results in the same non function .


Since water seeks it's own level the fill level will be highest point of the lower ( I/ D. ) penetration , unless you seal the Anova in the hole .
I'm hoping it works just as you want it to .
That is what he did in the video. He has his Sous Vide permanently sealed so it can be submerged. I don't want to do that but I really want this to work.
 
Last edited:
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his Sous Vide permanently sealed so the can be submerged. I don't want to do that but I really want this to work.

Any thought about doing an elbow coming out of the cooler ?
Say you used 6" PVC . A short horizontal out the side of the cooler , then an elbow to a vertical section to hold the Anova . Just wonder how it would circulate .
 
Any thought about doing an elbow coming out of the cooler ?
Say you used 6" PVC . A short horizontal out the side of the cooler , then an elbow to a vertical section to hold the Anova . Just wonder how it would circulate .
I don't think the Sous Vide will be in deep enough to have the minimum water line filled.
 
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