New electric smoker build

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michiganbushman

Newbie
Original poster
Oct 25, 2014
16
25
After going an entire year without a smoker it was time to get one built. I had been searching for just the right type of stainless freezer/fridge/warmer etc to make a smoker out of and a deal came along on a commercial freezer. I really liked this because the inside is all smooth with no condenser coils and stuff to get all yuckified.

This one had a protected interior light and I was able to re-purpose the circulation fan that was part of the cooling system.

Step one was to remove the plastic trim around the doors as well as the plastic inside door faces and the rubber seals. I replaced all those with sheet metal and installed a heat proof door seal.

Next was to install the heating element on the bottom. I put in a raised floor of about 3/4" for the element to sit on. It is removable for cleaning and also keeps the element off the floor. I then built a shield box around the element out of duct work. The element can get the sidewalls next to it really hot so this helps shield that area as well as focus the heat in the center and up. Over top of the element I put a piece of sheet metal that was part of the original freezer and it fit perfectly on the surround below it. It too is removable. This protects the element from drips and or dropping anything on it.
The element is a 1500 watt.

I removed all of the freezer coils and machinery from the top of the freezer. The box that was for circulating the cold air into the freezer I left intact.
After removing all of the unnecessary items and wiring I installed the fan back into the box with only its wiring pigtail as well as the light pigtail. These I drilled a hole into the upper box and sealed it with a grommet. The circulation box is effectively now my exhaust box. There are three holes in the top of the cabinet that were for cold air. I plugged two of them. On the side wall is a thin rectangle duct that is for air returning back from the fan. It blows down the side of the cabinet while the fan draws it back up the center.
I sealed the box with heat seal and placed it back on top. In the end of it I put a hole for some black pipe with a ballcock valve to act as my smoke stack with damper.

After that I installed a Bradley smoke generator to the side of the unit.

The unit already had adjustable shelves and is on castors so I can roll it in and out of the garage easily.
I added a dry erase board to keep track of the times and temps. I always think I can remember what time I started this and that but I always forget.
Yesterday I was able to track the times and temps on my turkey to make sure it wasn't in the danger zone for too long.
I know the Auber will tell me but I still like the idea of being able to write stuff down and I can take a picture of the board and file it away in the smoker file of my lap top for future reference.

All of this runs off an Auber wifi enabled 1800 watt controller with three temp probes. I mounted a power strip on the back of the cabinet and also wired the fan and the light into their own separate controls. The fan I put on a dimmer switch so it is adjustable. I still need to clean up the wiring a bit. I want to run some conduit but that will have to wait for a bit while I put the smoker through its initial trial runs.

I think that is mostly everything.

Thanks for looking!
 

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I forgot to mention that I installed a false ceiling in it that is removable so when I do turkey or brisket etc and only want to use one shelf at a higher temp I can install this anywhere in the column.
One of the pictures shows it. I also drilled a secondary hole for that compartment for the temp probe.
 
Great build. Should give you many years of service. The PID-driven element is so versatile allowing lower temp smoking while providing functionality to cook a whole turkey. What temps did you cook the turkey at? It looks great.
 
Great build. Should give you many years of service. The PID-driven element is so versatile allowing lower temp smoking while providing functionality to cook a whole turkey. What temps did you cook the turkey at? It looks great.
I cooked the turkey at 240 degrees. Pulled when breast meat was 165.
 
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So far so good. After the turkey I did 12 lbs of jerky and yesterday I loaded it with 28 lbs of summer sausage. I had two different casing sizes so the dual probes worked out great. I also used a seperate bluetooth probe in a different area of the smoker away from the 2 Auber probes. They were all pretty much right in the same 2-3 degree mark.

The sausage was stuffed the day before and rested in the fridge overnight. I took it out of the fridge and let it set at 60 degree room temp for a few hours until the meat was around 52 degrees.

I put it in the smoker at 10 am and pulled it late around midnight.
I forget how SS likes to stall those last couple degrees.
The PID made it great for keeping even consistent temps and increases.
It has a 6 step programmable "recipe" function so I was able to program it for my temp increases over time and the last step it was set to a temperature stop and the unit shut itself off when it it the mark.

The odd thing was both size casings were done at the same time. One was the standard 3" and the other was a 2".

The other cool thing was the wifi enabled control on my phone allowed me to slip over to the neighbors for a few beers and still keep track of what was going on in the smoker.
 

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that rig is pretty legit, I love what you did there. I was looking to do the same thing until I found an old Traeger, just modifying that one Until I go bigger.
 
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