refridgerator smoker

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Gone but not forgotten. RIP
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jul 3, 2005
forks washington
hello everyone

i need help my electric smoker is dead i am thinking of making one out of an old fridge i have this old style fridge that i got from the landfill what i would like to know is a 1100 watt burner enough to heat it for both hot smoking and cold smoking i know i can get the temps up high enough for cold smoke but i was hoping that i could use it for both types of smoking

is gas a better way to go can you get the temps low enough to cold smoke with a gas burner my gosm only get down to around 150 degrees would like temps down around 100 in fridge any help with the gas unit will help a lot this is the way i would like to go if i can regulate temps and control temps for both cold and hot smoking

now if i decide to go electric or gas do i need a water pan

thanks for your help i will probibly have a lot more questions as this project goes along

I'm strickly guessing here, but maybe set up a 2 burner propane unit that can do double duty for you. Possibly turn a small burner on low for cold smoking and the second for warm(250*). I hope someone else can give you a better answer because I want to build a fridge smoker also and I'm thinking propane.
I went with propane and so far I am loving it. I am still trying to get the smoke how I like it but temps are no problem. I used a dual burner cast iron stove for my heat source and it works great. i can adjust one burner at one temp and the other at a different temp.

I am hoping to get pics posted of my smoker. Also you can check out the thread I had on my smoker as well.
Just a note that if you are going for cold smoking you can rig up the unit for that and will work just fine.
I am having issues today trying to get the Wookie (my electric frig smoker) up to temps. It seems that all the electric burners these days have a high temp cut off switch and will not get the Wookie up to temperature. I will tear on of them apart and see if I can remedy this or will order one designed to go higher.

I will let ya'all know how it turns out.

If you choose a gas unit, make sure you have enought airflow to allow for that. My first attempt with gas did not go so well. So I switched to electric

Sorry to hear that your electric smoker died. My condolences.
Now for some answers.

ALWAYS use a water pan between the meat and the heat source in a vertical style smoker. It helps to regulate temps and catches grease before it hits the heat source.

Airflow is all important. Open at least two air ducts in the lower part of the smoker between the water pan and the heat source. Open a vent at top dead center. The size of this vent should be equal to or greater than the combined size of the lower vents in total square inches of opened surface.

For a heat source I would suggest that a 1500 watt element be minimal and a larger element be used if available.

With all that said I have an old fridge to convert and have done a bit of research mostly with friends and a few tips received here.

I would suggest that you research the posts of Bigdaddyviking67. He had a setup that I will at some point try to copy, somewhat.

BDV used an old fridge lined on the bottom with fire brick. He had an electric element that was used only to start charcoal and his smoking wood was then place on the charcoal.

Then again you can use the old fridge to create an offset smoker. Setup a firebox off from the fridge and pipe the heat and smokin in. In this case you will probably not need a water pan but will want a drip pan lined with foil on the bottom. Only problem accomplishing this setup is that the fridge must be higher than the smoke/heat source. But that is a minor detail! My own land is far from even!

The possibilities are endless!

Use your imagination and go for it!

hello all

thanks for your help guys i am still looking at going with a gas unit but i have a electric unit in mind i was trying to kill two birds with one stone i will let you guys know how it goes thanks again

as Monty said the possibilities are endless

the first fridge smoker i used had an offset firebox...we put the fridge up on some cinder blocks and pallets

i had an old industrial oven that i used for a smoker at one the summer i used an electric 2 burner stove, the older kind that you can still find at salvation armies, thrift stores or second hand stores...

i know in port townsend WA, they have a second hand building supply store and they sell all kinds of household stuff. you might want to check out places like this as well...

in the winter i used my old coleman 2 burner propane stove right in my smoker, i wrapped the adapter hose in a piece of tinfoil and never had any probs with heat

also converted a couple of old propane burners from an old pop up trailor to use in a smoker...lots of ways to get heat... i have more
The Wookies dead again!
Just for the moment. I need to dig around inside the burner and remove the thermostat that turns off the unit when it gets too hot.

But now with the BSKD I have a back up and after the maiden voyage I believe I like it better. At least with the weather is nice.
What if .... instead of putting fire brick under the heat you put it over the heat? Kind of like a pizza oven? Wouldn't that be more energy efficient? The brick once heated would retain the heat for longer periods and being above the heat would more readily absorb the heat as heat rises.

Hmmmmm smoker pizza oven I may have to try that, been wanting to try smoked pizza!
hello everyone

away we go i started my refridgerator smoker today here are some pics of the begining of the project i will post more as it comes along
Salmon,looks like a real gem.My old fridge smoker is going into retirement this year.Not only is it looking rough,the doors are about to fall off and the framework on the bottom is rusted out so bad its causing the whole unit to list badly to the left.All I can say is she has been a good smoker and still is.I done the butt in it today.Id love to have all the meat Ive put through that ol girl in one pile,Id say it would be a truckload at least.Ive had it for eight or nine years and smoked everything in it from cheese to whole hogs cut up.

your smoker is it electric i was going to pm you and ask what you use for a heat source i think i will go electric i was gonna try and go gas but dont know if i can control temps as well as i can a electric your old smoker sure has put out some awesome looking food you take care talk at ya later
For the burner in my converted refrigerator I went to Wally World and picked up a dual electric burner 1550 watt and 700 watts. The unit has a thermoswitch and will cut out at 225F so I will tear it apart this weekend and take care of that.
Salmon,I used an oven element and the oven control out of an old oven.It has worked great over the years.It takes maybe an hour to get it to trim out to where you want the temps but once you get there it stays pretty even temps.My smoke is seperate,I use an old Brinkman smoker with charcole and wood piped into the side of the fridg as low as I could pop a 3 inch hole.This also provides some heat as well as the smoke.
i have done pizza on my grill, never my smoker, you temps have to be fairly high or the dough wont cook properly...

when i make homemade pizza dough for the grill i :

prepare the dough - roll into shapes i want
put on grill b4 i put on toppings
slightly brown it
remove, put on toppings, put back on grill until cheese is melted

frozen pizza, i just throw right on grill
Got me thinking ... (only hurts a little) being as my ECB is propane converted, I can turn the heat up to a normal temp for pizza and leave the water pan out ... I think that would work well!
Hmmm? ... which wood to use? is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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