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Walk in Cooler

gsuders86

Newbie
26
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Joined Dec 19, 2019
Tossing ideas around of how to build a cheap "walk in" cooler. By walk in, I mean to be able to hang 2 deer)) It will only be used if temps are warm during hunting season to allow the deer to be hung longer until I can process them. I've read up on coolbot and they seem like a good option if trying to make a walk in cooler with a window a/c unit, but are pricey. I've also read of how people use inkbirds to make their own. With digital a/c units you can only set to be so cold, but would the older knob style a/c units would it work for my intended use? Could I just turn the A/C to Max cool and Fan to get the temps low in the cooler than turn it back to say mid way to help it maintain the temp? Would it still ice up? Not looking to maintain a certain temp to the degree, just keep the meat chilled.

Another thought I had was if I were to put the AC on a timer where it would run for 1-2 hrs than turn off for 1 hr at a time maybe that would help prevent it from freezing up but also help keep it cool enough?
 

GonnaSmoke

Smoking Fanatic
602
946
Joined Sep 19, 2018
I would not feel comfortable with a temp above 35℉, 32℉ is better. I don't believe that window A/C units will get the temps down that low.
 

crazzycajun

Smoking Fanatic
485
126
Joined Feb 17, 2007
You would have to change the tstat to a refrigeration style, and possibly add defrost to achieve 35f-40f. Those window shakers won’t go that low with a stock stat
 

thirdeye

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Dec 1, 2019
One year at a BBQ competition a food vendor had a cargo trailer rigged up as a refer to hold his food. I'm guessing he used a CoolBot or some other device to over-ride the AC unit, but it worked very well. He used the FRP panels like in the trailer video and claimed it was no problem to maintain <30° if there is not a lot of traffic. He had an internal steel frame used for hanging wild game quarters.

You might have seen the first video on how to insulate a cargo trailer, and in the second video a guy builds an insulated room in his workshop.



We have a local fiberglass company that makes all kinds of commercial buildings, tanks and such. I would think if you had a business like this in town, they could build insulated panels you could use as walls.
 

Smoking Allowed

Smoke Blower
95
86
Joined Feb 13, 2021
We had an old Coke vending machine that we stripped the guts out of and it would easily hold 2 deer if they were broken down into quarters and some meat hung high and some hung low, but not touching the bottom. We through mounted open eye bolts in the top to hang meat from with varying lengths of rope. It would get down to around 30-32.

Something similar to this...
1615311129221.png
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Nov 12, 2010
Processing slaughtered meats .. hanging and aging time.
Fig. 1.1. Effect of rigor mortis. Times for onset and resolution of rigor
...........................Time to onset of rigor .............Time for resolution of rigor
Cattle ......................12 - 24 hours ................................2 - 10 days
Pigs ..........................6 - 12 hours ...................................1 - 2 days
Lamb...................... 7 - 8 hours ......................................1 day
Turkey ....................½ - 2 hours.................................... 6 - 24 hours
Chicken................. ½ - 1 hours .......................................4 - 6 hours
Rabbit ..................12 - 20 hours .....................................2 - 7 days
Venison ...............24 - 36 hours ....................................6 - 14 days
Looking at the above data, it becomes conclusive that the aging process is more important for animals which are older at the slaughter time (cattle, venison). Warm meat of a freshly slaughtered animal exhibits the highest quality and juiciness.
Unfortunately there is a very narrow window of opportunity for processing it. The slaughter house and the meat plant must be located within the same building to be effective. Meat that we buy in a supermarket has already been aged by a packing house.
If an animal carcass is cooled too rapidly (below 50° F, 10° C) before the onset of the rigor (within 10 hours), the muscles may contract which results in tough meat when cooked. This is known as “cold shortening.” To prevent this the carcass is kept at room temperature for some hours to accelerate rigor and then aged at between 30-41° F, (-1 - 5° C).

Marianski, Stanley. Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages (Kindle Locations 51-83). Bookmagic LLC. Kindle Edition.
 

daveomak

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archeryrob archeryrob , a member here, built this cooler..

 

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