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Will this work?

grandpa.e

Newbie
11
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Joined Jan 20, 2020
Hey everybody. I am new to the forums and pretty much new to smoking as well. I acquired a smoker my Grandfather had converted many years ago. It is an old hobart commercial dishwasher. It is almost all stainless steel, in pretty fair shape for being over 40 years old and sitting outdoors for about 20 years. He rigged it up for charcoal smoking and based on family members recollections it worked very well and produced some fine meals. I would like to convert it to an electric smoker. I have some ideas, even tested it somewhat, but I need advice.

First question is the most important, is it worth pursuing? It has some drawbacks that I can see, it isn't insulated and doesn't lend itself well to being insulated, it's also a little bit of an odd shape, and racks would need to be made due to the non-standard size.

Second question is airflow. It has a pretty large (3-1/2") opening at the bottom in the center of the firebox part that can be adjusted. It has a vent in the top center on the back wall that is rectangular, but probably about 2-1/2"x4". Totally open, but I can easily make a sliding cover that would allow adjustment. Is this enough? Too much?

Third question is water pan or not?

And last, but not least, since it isn't insulated, I thought two 1650 watt elements should be more than enough to hit any reasonable smoking temperature I could ever need. The plan was one with a pan for wood chunks, and possibly a water pan on the other. Of course that is dependent on whether I need a water pan or not. I could always fill that pan with sand, or something else for heat storage.

Any ideas, comments, or criticisms would be greatly appreciated!
 

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tropics

Epic Pitmaster
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Depending on where you live would be a big factor. Cool climate or extremely Cold would make the cost to much. You could make a cold smoker out of it.
Richie
 

Electric88

Smoke Blower
90
51
Joined Jan 10, 2020
Financially? Maybe not. I'm guessing after time and materials, you would spend less if you bought an MES variant. But for most of us, the time spent is fun and not considered labor. So it's more a matter of what it's worth to you.

If it was me, I'd make that sliding cover to adjust airflow.

Since it's not insulated, a water pan would probably be better to have. A lot of the MES users don't use them, but those smokers are insulated really well and keep the humidity in the smoker decently high. You may be able to use an AMPS and cut back one of the burners. Would highly recommend a PID controller for temperature control. Those things are dead nuts accurate.
 

grandpa.e

Newbie
11
1
Joined Jan 20, 2020
Depending on where you live would be a big factor. Cool climate or extremely Cold would make the cost to much. You could make a cold smoker out of it.
Richie
I'm in Louisiana, so I would very rarely be smoking in under 60 degree temps. Hopefully that won't be a factor.
 

grandpa.e

Newbie
11
1
Joined Jan 20, 2020
Financially? Maybe not. I'm guessing after time and materials, you would spend less if you bought an MES variant. But for most of us, the time spent is fun and not considered labor. So it's more a matter of what it's worth to you.

If it was me, I'd make that sliding cover to adjust airflow.

Since it's not insulated, a water pan would probably be better to have. A lot of the MES users don't use them, but those smokers are insulated really well and keep the humidity in the smoker decently high. You may be able to use an AMPS and cut back one of the burners. Would highly recommend a PID controller for temperature control. Those things are dead nuts accurate.
The financial aspect isn't really a part of the equation. But my backup plan is a Smokin-it model 3 if this doesn't work out...

I am getting an AMPS just to play with and see how it works out. It would be nice to have the ability to cold smoke some cheese and fish.

I am looking at a PID controller, but I want to get it rigged up to produce some smoke and see how it goes. That way if it is a total failure I don't have too much invested in it.
 

daveomak

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That should be a great smoker... The inlet air needs to be cut down to about 3 each 7/8" holes... The exhaust needs to be about 4 each 7/8" holes.. spaced around the top of the side walls for uniform heating.... I would use the AMNPS for smoke generation with wood dust made from pellets... and I would place it in that box on the bottom of the smoker... Heating elements above the AMNPS...
The AMNPS needs legs for better air flow....

Beef Ribs 010.JPG



The dust burns cooler and give a much better smoke flavor.....

For cooking the meat, after enough smoke has been applied at lower temperatures, you can plug several of the exhaust holes with corks or something similar or make slide gates to close them off partially.... Closing the exhaust makes for reduced air flow and slows or stops evaporative cooling effect from the draft....
For temp control, I use an SCR... reduces the wattage of the element like closing down the flame on a gas burner.....
One of my many smokers with a 1500 watt element from a table top burner....
Totem Smoker burner.jpg


SCR controller

It's slow to control so be patient.....

Your smoker may not get hot enough to cook roasts etc. so do like I do.... finish them in the oven... Your oven is designed to cook food... Make your smoker to add great smoke.....
,,,
 
Last edited:

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Sep 28, 2018
If you aren't opposed to wiring your cabinet for 220 VAC, you could make a solid electric smoker from that unit. I think that a 120VAC may be a bit under powered.

That is a solid cabinet and would be worth upgrading IMHO.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

grandpa.e

Newbie
11
1
Joined Jan 20, 2020
That should be a great smoker... The inlet air needs to be cut down to about 3 each 7/8" holes... The exhaust needs to be about 4 each 7/8" holes.. spaced around the top of the side walls for uniform heating.... I would use the AMNPS for smoke generation with wood dust made from pellets... and I would place it in that box on the bottom of the smoker... Heating elements above the AMNPS...
The AMNPS needs legs for better air flow....

View attachment 429357


The dust burns cooler and give a much better smoke flavor.....

For cooking the meat, after enough smoke has been applied at lower temperatures, you can plug several of the exhaust holes with corks or something similar or make slide gates to close them off partially.... Closing the exhaust makes for reduced air flow and slows or stops evaporative cooling effect from the draft....
For temp control, I use an SCR... reduces the wattage of the element like closing down the flame on a gas burner.....
One of my many smokers with a 1500 watt element from a table top burner....
View attachment 429358

SCR controller

It's slow to control so be patient.....

Your smoker may not get hot enough to cook roasts etc. so do like I do.... finish them in the oven... Your oven is designed to cook food... Make your smoker to add great smoke.....
,,,
I do plan to get an AMNPS and play around with it. Seems like it could be quite useful!
 

grandpa.e

Newbie
11
1
Joined Jan 20, 2020
If you aren't opposed to wiring your cabinet for 220 VAC, you could make a solid electric smoker from that unit. I think that a 120VAC may be a bit under powered.

That is a solid cabinet and would be worth upgrading IMHO.

JC :emoji_cat:
I don't have a 220 outlet in my shop, so for now I will stick to 110. Maybe one of these days I can upgrade!
 

grandpa.e

Newbie
11
1
Joined Jan 20, 2020
Had a little free time so I got the elements installed and ran a quick test. I was able to hit 225 degrees in 15 minutes and 250 degrees in 20 minutes. Outside temp was around 50 degrees, so I felt tlike that was pretty good. I plan on making some smoke tomorrow. Hopefully everything goes well!
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Mo pitures !!!! Meat engulfed in smoke... Smoke trickling out of your new smoker... Maybe a cold beer, in the picture somehow...
 

grandpa.e

Newbie
11
1
Joined Jan 20, 2020
Mo pitures !!!! Meat engulfed in smoke... Smoke trickling out of your new smoker... Maybe a cold beer, in the picture somehow...
Well, I do finally have a few pictures, just need to get them off my phone. Sadly no beer... But, it works! Took a few dry runs to get the method down, but I feel like I have a pretty good handle on it now. Since it isn't insulated I find I need to let it get up to temp and then wait 30 minutes or so for it to get heat soaked. I also figured out that wood chips worked way better than chunks. Once it is all hot and ready to run, I add about 4 good handfuls of chips and it takes about 15 minutes to get past the billowing white smoke and get to some good smoke. I get around 30 minutes of pretty good smoke on a load of chips. I am able to maintain temperature within about a 10-15 degree range. Had the first real test today and smoked a ham. It came out great, so I say it was a successful test! Can't wait to try it out with a brisket or a butt. It is definitely not the perfect smoker, but it works and the results are tasty. That was my main concern. Will get pictures posted later.
 

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