how far away from the smoker does the hotplate need to be?

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Original poster
Dec 8, 2010
HI all,

I'm planing on building my first cold smoker. I hope to start tomorrow. My plans are to do a varetion on the refredgirator smoke house, and heating it with an electric hotplate. I see in most of the cold smokehouse plans that it is suggested that you locate the fire pit at least 10 ft from the chamber in order to keep the temp.down. is it still necessary to do this with an electric smoke house. My thoughts are that a the hotplate shouldn't be as hot as a burning pit, so I am hoping I will be able to set the old cooler (I'm using an old ice chest like bag ice is sold from as a chamber) on blocks, cut a hole in the botom of it and locate my smoke source in the hole. Will it get too hot with this setup?


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Dec 29, 2009
Savage, MN
Welcome to SMF!

What are you planning on cold smoking?

How much are you planning on cold smoking?

The reason for the 10' distance is to give the smoke a chance to cool down.  You will find that the smoke will also condense  and make a mess if the air temps are too cold.  For cold smoking, you need to keep the temps inside your smoker under 100°.  If the outside temps are cold, this should be fairly easy with the hotplate inside your fridge.

You could use a "Dimmer Switch" to control the voltage of your hotplate and not overheat your fridge.

Lots of posts about this if you do a little searching.

Just an idea....


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