Looking for advice to build small electric smoker

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Original poster
Dec 13, 2013
Hey there everyone,

  Thanks for taking the time to help me out. I live in northern Illinois and I'm looking to build a small electric smoker as a christmas present for my dad.  I was looking at all the different ways and materials and (at least to me) it looked like a plain plywood smoker was the way to go. I was planning on something rectangular  2ft wide 4ft tall. I was looking to spend in the area of 50-75$. I was planning on plain 5/8 red oak plywood, and (the area I need the most help/suggestions) was what to do electric burner wise. My initial newbie plan was to go with just a plain electric pan heater something like this


in the bottom with a cast iron skillet on top to put chips/wood chunks in.  I was going to put that in the bottom and then about 6in up from it put the actual bottom of the smoker in with holes for the smoke and then room for a couple shelves and a drip catch pan underneath them. 

 My question is, would this allow the smoker to reach the warmer temperatures 200-250? Or is there something else I should be looking to use as an element to achieve that? I figure the 5/8 thick plywood should insulate pretty well, and I'm not too worried about weather because it will either be kept indoors when not in use, or when in use it will be in a covered outdoor area. 

  If this is not a viable idea I'm comfortable with using a recycled food grade drum. but the same questions I have about a electric elements still remains.

                                                 Thanks for taking the time to help me out today!
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