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Pellet Smoker Fridge Conversion

mneeley490

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Cool! That's what I was wondering about, all nighter's.
 

mikemav

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I ordered my Pellet Pro earlier in the week and it's arrived! I'm going to start out modding a cabinet I already have. It's just a Masterbuilt XL 40" smoker (propane chip burner now) that I hope to better insulate and convert to full wood pellet burner like your fridge. I like the size of the cabinet, the slide out shelves that can take a full rack of ribs or brisket width, and the fact that I already own it! I am going to start with the stock Pellet Pro controller but may explore using a PID or hacking the Blazn Grill Works pro or Louisiana controller that works with built-in meat probe to set the temp down to 160 when you reach the meat temp desired. We'll see, the stock controller will probably be as precise or more than the propane+ AMNPS I'm used to.  
 

scootermagoo

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You're right about the controller. The one that comes with the pellet pro does a good job. But I definitely think it would benefit from a more precise PID unit. The controller that comes with it is more like an on/off type deal and the temperature may be a little bit spiky. A PID controller that would ramp the auger up and down would provide more precise control of the temperature. Although, a bit of logic may need to be programmed into that type of system to provide pellets at an interval to prevent the fire from going out completely when not calling for heat.
 

pappapig

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Joined Aug 23, 2012
I'm curious about something. I don't see any type of exhaust control, I'm new to fridge and freezer builds so just learning. Is it because of the smoke daddy?
 

scootermagoo

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Sorry about not answering, but, yes, you are correct.  You don't need to control the exhaust because the Smoke Daddy is a forced draft unit.

Scott
 

scootermagoo

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Joined May 2, 2011

Here is a video of Reefer Madness in action.  I haven't really posted any action shots of the smoker.  Some more details are that at the time of the video, the smoker went through the night and was at the 12 hour mark and ended up going for 17 hours.  I have 6 more butts back in the smoker going all night again.
 

vmastros

Fire Starter
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Joined Sep 11, 2013
You have a really nice smoker. Something to be proud of. But don't you think the term "in action" is a bit strong when describing a smoker? :biggrin:
 

scootermagoo

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Joined May 2, 2011
 
what kind of temps do you get off that pellet machine?

why do you use that along with amazen smoker ?
I can get a range of between 225° and well over 400° if I want.  I generally never go over 350°, which is what I go up to when I want crisp chicken or turkey skin.  The smoker won't go any lower than 225° for a few reasons:  1) The smoker is very well insulated and it holds heat like crazy, and 2)  Because of the operating characteristics of the pellet burner unit itself.  Combine the 2, and the smoker will not operate any lower than 225°.   More on the details of this later in this post.  Why do I use an A-Maze-N pellet smoker?   By nature, pellet burners do not produce tons of smoke, especially at higher temps.  I use the A-Maze-N pellet smoker to enhance the smoke production and it works great.  I am surprised, however, how much TBS is produced by the Smoke Daddy pellet burner unit at lower temps.  If you like a light smokiness to your food, don't use the A-Maze-N pellet smoker.  Here is a video of the smoker working.  Keep in mind that the smoke you see is all coming from the pellet burner:

 
Did you see that Smoke Daddy has upgraded to a PID controller?  Holds the temperature within 5°.  Work great in any type of weather.
YES!! I saw this and could benefit from the advances in this new controller.  I watched videos of this controller and it has variable speed fan control, advanced auger control and some other really nice features.  It has a feature where if the temp drops below 130°, it will automatically reinitiate the ignition process, great in case you have a "flame-out", which I had occur once.  Luckily, I set up my maverick with a low temp alarm to warn me of low cook chamber temps.  The temp control should be a lot tighter now, I can get temp swings as high as 30-40 degrees of overshoot.  I don't worry about that, though.  My meat always turns out great, it all averages out.  And the meat always stays super moist as well, I never foil or wrap anything.  Foiling is so much hassle in my book.  With probes in place, I rarely even open the door to peek.  As they say, "If you're lookin', you ain't cookin'".  My personal mantra is  "Keep it Simple" and, I'm lazy as well.  So this all works out for me.  All-in-all, my smoker has exceeded all my expectations.  It works in sweltering heat of Summer and the snow and mind-numbing cold of Winter.  I was smoking meat in the dead of winter last year with sub-zero air temperatures.  So cold, in fact, you absolutely hate to go outside.

Hope this helps!
 
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scootermagoo

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What do u do with all of that meat
Eat it and get FAT!!  In the video, I was preparing the pork butts for my sons' graduation parties.  My son and step son both graduated from high school last spring.  People just went bat-shit crazy over the pork.  I served it up nekid and with an optional whisky sauce or mustard sauce that they could add.  CRAZY GOOD!  Nobody knows what real BBQ is up here in Wisconsin.
 
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oldschoolbbq

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mikemav

Newbie
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Joined Apr 3, 2014
I have just recently upgraded my Pellet Pro with the new PID controller and plan to make a video outside to review it when I get a chance and it's not terrible weather outside. For now, let's say I'm very impressed! LMK if there are any questions. 
 

trippy

Smoke Blower
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Joined Aug 14, 2015
If you add more air venting into the bottom you can get your temps down for doing fish or salmon. I have just built a pellet smoker from insulated warmer box. Had to install 2 vents to get more draft going. I can get low temps now. Before with 1 vent it was like yours 225-230 temps were as low as I could get.
Nice build I must say!
 
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clearprop

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Joined Jan 10, 2014
WhY did you use both a lower and higher stack outlets and how do they work? Does a damper separate them? Is this specific to a PELLET conversion or is it recommended for all fridge smokers (ie: electric too?)
 

trippy

Smoke Blower
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Joined Aug 14, 2015
With a insulated fridge they heat control is tough to maintain with a pellet burner, because they have a minimum pellet feed rate. Having a upper exhaust and a lower vent control allows you to draw and cooler air to help regulate your temperatures through the PID controller.
 

scootermagoo

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Joined May 2, 2011
WhY did you use both a lower and higher stack outlets and how do they work? Does a damper separate them? Is this specific to a PELLET conversion or is it recommended for all fridge smokers (ie: electric too?)
The reason I have 2 is because I wasn't sure how the smoker was going to behave.  This smoker was basically an experiment, so the exhaust configuration is not specific to anything.  I was worried that one located high in the cook chamber would allow heat and smoke to escape too quickly.  I installed a lower one to keep more heat and smoke in.  They are both connected to a common stack and have dampers on each outlet.  Turns out, I leave both fully open all the time.  If I would change anything, I would increase the diameter of both or maybe just have one large exhaust up high.  With it being so well insulated, heat loss is not a factor.

So I see you are located in Green Bay.  Where exactly?  I live in Algoma.
 

scootermagoo

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Joined May 2, 2011
With a insulated fridge they heat control is tough to maintain with a pellet burner, because they have a minimum pellet feed rate. Having a upper exhaust and a lower vent control allows you to draw and cooler air to help regulate your temperatures through the PID controller.
Just to keep things clear, both vents are exhausts on this smoker.  I am not sure how having "vents" anywhere on this smoker would work because the inside of the smoker is slightly pressurized by the pellet burners draft induction fan.  Because of this slight pressurization, every vent or hole or leak......whatever, becomes an exhaust point.  It's virtually impossible to draw in outside air through the cook chamber.  The only way to increase outside air volume is to install an induction fan with more CFM.
 

trippy

Smoke Blower
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Joined Aug 14, 2015
 
Just to keep things clear, both vents are exhausts on this smoker.  I am not sure how having "vents" anywhere on this smoker would work because the inside of the smoker is slightly pressurized by the pellet burners draft induction fan.  Because of this slight pressurization, every vent or hole or leak......whatever, becomes an exhaust point.  It's virtually impossible to draw in outside air through the cook chamber.  The only way to increase outside air volume is to install an induction fan with more CFM.
You need adiquate exhaust in order to create draft. I did a insulated cabintet build with a Cres Cor Food warmer. About same as refrigerater build in design. You can check it out here (http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/233063/vertical-pellet-smoker-build-food-warmer-proofer) Like you in the first part of testing I had issues with heat creaping up or just would not come below 230 deg.  I had to install a second draft vent in the bottom to help bring in cool air to regulate the temp down. I can run it at 165 degrees now or any thing there after. I have done Jerkey on it with a over night cook that when I got up from my sleep it was running 171 and that is with in the 5 degree pellet pro says they will run.  Inside guage has always been spot on to the set temp.

The folks at Pellet Pro have done a refrigerator build as well. They also had to install lower vents to help create draft for temp regulating.
 

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