Old Luhr Jensen Little Chief - Use for Smoking Sausages?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by gregr, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. gregr

    gregr Newbie

    I just inhereted a 30+ year old Luhr Jensen Little Chief top loading electric smoker. It seems to work, and I'm interested in smoking sausages. Will this smoker work ok for sausages? Should I do some sort of check to see what temp it gets to before using? It was only ever used for fish....and I'm a noob at smoking, so not sure if there are special requirements for sausage.

    This looks to be a newer version of the smoker I inherited: http://www.vanceoutdoors.com/products2.cfm/ID/31454

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    greg, morning.... Tons of great smoked food came out of the early smoker like that....  Plug it in and with a calibrated therm, check the temp... It may have a strong fish odor that a thorough cleaning should remove...  If the temp will get to 160 or so, you are good to go....  At times they needed an insulation layer to get the temps up... a welding blanket will do the job nicely....   Be sure to follow a good recipe that incorporates cure# 1 for safety reasons....  Think about getting a grams scale that maxes out at about 500 grams for accurate weighing... they are about $20 and well worth the price for safety and adding spices for consistent recipes and flavors....  

    Oh yeah, welcome to the forum....   Great members sharing recipes and their wealth of knowledge...    enjoy the long smokey ride....   Dave
  3. X2
  4. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    Greg, the link you have is to the correct smoker.  I'd check with Luhr-Jensen and see if they can give you the latest manual.

    These critters are great for cold smoking but depending on any breezes or the air temperature they may need some help to get to the 160-165 degree range (as already said). 

    Another good way to get the temps up is to get a hot water heater blanket from the local building center and cut it to fit.  Be sure to tape the edges so you don't have loose glass fiber floating around.

    For cold smoking they recommended removing the cover, placing two sticks across the top of the smoker, setting the rack frame on the sticks and sliding the box down over the frame.  The separation from the heat element gives colder smoke than the inside of the smoker would.

    I have two of these along with all the other smoking, curing, BBQ junk,  They are still my favorite cold smoking tools for nuts, cheese, small batches of cold smoked meats and for malted barley when I make a smoke flavored beer.


  5. mike johnson

    mike johnson Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Im up for tasting some of that[​IMG]
  6. lancer

    lancer Smoking Fanatic

    I use German peat smoked malt.  I put it in the muslin boiling bag, toss it in for 3-4 hours of hickory smoke and make a standard porter with it after it sits for a day or two for the smoke to mellow.

  7. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would take the element out and clean it good. You might want to have a temp control on it like a PID as the old Luhr Jensons have 1 temp thats plug in and hot.

    How do i know?

    Cuz i still have mine from 1975 and still works strong.

  8. gregr

    gregr Newbie

    That looks just like mine ... as I think mine is from around 1975 as well.

    I did a test with it. It got some wood chips up to smoking point, but the thermometer I put inside only read up to 130F after 20 minutes. So, I put it aside and forgot about it.

    However, just came back to the thread and reread the comments. I think I'll give the element a good cleaning, wrap an insulation blanket around it and give it another try.
  9. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You just made nepas and daves ears perk with this thread... :) from what i know and read on smf... (i think) and I think I want one of these.....

  10. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Or well.. you did last october.. just saw it was an old post resurrected. ..
  11. gregr

    gregr Newbie

    Yeah...resurrected the thread as I am just now giving this another shot. I hope I can get it to work ok.

    I like the idea to smoke some malt for brewing. I brew as well and love smoked porters. In fact, last weekend we had a smoke party ... a tasting of 4 different smoked beers, smoked salmon, and 3 smoked cheeses. This is actually what made me think about the smoker sitting in my garage again.
  12. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If i recall the temp didnt get much higher than 150.


    I gave my son my Lil Chief to keep in the family. He says its a fish smokin machine.
  13. rstr hunter

    rstr hunter Smoking Fanatic

    I too use mine for fish, but will also do hotdogs when we butcher in this.   I finish getting the hotdogs to temp by parboiling.  Just an alternative if you get caught in the middle by not getting to temps. 
  14. fishinag02

    fishinag02 Newbie

    I have one exactly like these, also from the mid-70's.  Given to me by my father-in-law.  I've used it only a handful of times and it work amazing for fish and for cold smoking. I've done some other meats & jerky, and my method is 5-6hrs of smoke, then cook in the over or grill under higher controlled heat to finish it off.  Mine seems to tap out at about 140F.  I figure as long as I'm all clean and cook it afterwards, it should be okay.
  15. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have two Big Chiefs as shown here which I tossed out the original 500watt elements in exchange for a couple 1000 watt unit with a control knob. You should consider doing the same.



    Tapayakin' from my iphone
  16. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    Put a disposable pan on the bottom shelf to catch drips, and put a few lumps of glowing charcoal on that existing drip pan as needed to get you to the 160 mark.
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great minds think alike.......

  18. michael weber

    michael weber Newbie

    I want to do the same for my Big Chief! How did you install the 1000 watt element? You have a recommendation on which element to buy?
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  20. michael weber

    michael weber Newbie

    Awesome! Thanks, Dave!

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