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Old 01-13-2011, 03:02 PM   #1
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Default Homemade smokers (Pics added)

I've read through some threads and just wanted to ask the question. It seems like many people have used old refrigerators for smokers. I've been trying to find an old steel lined one and I understand that one would be ideal, however, I had two older plastic lined ones and I'm wondering if anyone has tried it with a plastic. I would plan on regulating the heat to 200 degrees or less. I could always build one out of fire brick and such.

Thanks for your ideas.

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Old 01-13-2011, 03:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

The plastic is not safe to use. Find an old one that is all metal if you want to go that route.

I got one years ago and replaced the racks with stainless steel oven racks.

A hot plate in the bottom with a cast iron pan with wood handle.

Put a vent stack in the top or rear.

I have used mine for 13 years now.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

I have the hot plate, extra racks, and other stuff, just having trouble finding a metal lined frig. Any ideas on where to look?
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:44 PM   #4
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You could tear out the plastic and line with wood.....?
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

Why not pour a pad and build one?
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

I used a freezer lined the inside with a panel like a pegboard
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

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Originally Posted by No Fences View Post
Why not pour a pad and build one?
Then I'd have guys like you wanting to come over and use it....kiddn.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:52 PM   #8
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You could tear out the plastic and line with wood.....?
I might explore this. It just seems like a convienent container with racks and such but I understand the danger in the plastic. I have block and could make a permanent one if need be.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

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Originally Posted by Onemovecharlie View Post
Then I'd have guys like you wanting to come over and use it....kiddn.
HAHA. I've thought about the route your going, but I just can't seem to beat my Traeger. Although, what you're going to use will sure smoke a lot more Springer at a time.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:58 PM   #10
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HAHA. I've thought about the route your going, but I just can't seem to beat my Traeger. Although, what you're going to use will sure smoke a lot more Springer at a time.
I've got trips on the calendar to Canada, and several to Alaska that I should be bringing fish home from as well as a need to get a few more springers with you than last year.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

I would imagine you are hoping for a free one?
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:03 PM   #12
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I would imagine you are hoping for a free one?
I can get a deal through family on the commercial ones but I was hoping to have a larger, cheaper version to use here at the house. Like I said, I have a couple old, plastic frig's that I was wondering about using and it sounds like I should either try ripping out the plastic and line with wood, build one out of block on a pad, or keep looking for a steel lined frig. Thanks.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Onemovecharlie View Post
I've got trips on the calendar to Canada, and several to Alaska that I should be bringing fish home from as well as a need to get a few more springers with you than last year.
Yes, more Springers would be great.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:05 PM   #14
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

You might email some of the scrap metal people on craigs list and tell them what you are looking for, they might run across something like what you need.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:15 PM   #15
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You might email some of the scrap metal people on craigs list and tell them what you are looking for, they might run across something like what you need.
Good thinking.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

Last time I was at Cherry City Metals in Salem, they had some aluminum boxes with hinged doors, about the size of a fridge that could be converted, but they wanted a small fortune for them in the scrap pile.

I built mine out of plywood and lined with 1/4 inch concrete board in the heat areas. havent been able to burn this one up yet.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:59 PM   #17
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Last time I was at Cherry City Metals in Salem, they had some aluminum boxes with hinged doors, about the size of a fridge that could be converted, but they wanted a small fortune for them in the scrap pile.

I built mine out of plywood and lined with 1/4 inch concrete board in the heat areas. havent been able to burn this one up yet.
I have faith, Roy, that if it could be burned, you're the guy for it.
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

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Originally Posted by Bait O' Eggs View Post
Last time I was at Cherry City Metals in Salem, they had some aluminum boxes with hinged doors, about the size of a fridge that could be converted, but they wanted a small fortune for them in the scrap pile.

I built mine out of plywood and lined with 1/4 inch concrete board in the heat areas. havent been able to burn this one up yet.
Good ideas.

By the concrete board, are you talking about the stuff that goes under tile?
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:38 PM   #19
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

A friend of mine converted an old kitchen range into a smoker. He placed the heat source in the broiler in the bottom. Placed stuff on the oven racks to be smoked. Drilled hole in the top for a thermometer.

Seemed to work, he always had something he had smoked around to snack on.

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Old 01-13-2011, 07:43 PM   #20
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Default Re: Homemade smokers

The old metal interior fridges are getting hard to find, I think most of them are Toyota's now.
If I was looking again I'd check all the used appliance places. Junk yards and nickel ad's. I just lucked onto mine, sitting on a sidewalk with a free sign on it.
It'll take a week or so of retro fitting but it's big and well insulated.
I tried a new twist with mine over the holidays. I took out the regular smoker burner and put in the fire pan and water dish from my dead water smoker. It worked excellently, tender smoked pork loin.
I think these are about the best most versatile smokers a non-commercial guy could have. You can smoke year around, cold isn't a problem.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:46 PM   #21
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My dad made one to look like a old out house with cresent moons for vents the hot plate were the hole was it worked great and we used it for 20 years.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:55 PM   #22
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I built my own and didn't spend a whole lot of money. The custom racks cost lots more than the house its self.

Concrete brick foundation held together by heat resistant caulk, 2 X 4 walls, plywood and Hardi-Plank for siding, glass insulation, interior lined with plywood with bottom half covered in concrete board. Cedar roof and trim, painted to match the house.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:23 PM   #23
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Instead of a fridge, how about going to goodwill or craigslist and buying an old metal file cabinet?

Seems to me that their pull out drawers would work great to rig with racks, and you can pull in or out to check the meat/fish during the smoking process
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:28 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Onemovecharlie View Post
Good ideas.

By the concrete board, are you talking about the stuff that goes under tile?
Just tear out the plastic and replace with sheet metal (you can buy it at guttermans supply on columbia Blvd) pop rivit or sheet metal screw the metal in place and your done! I don't think you will spend more than $30 to finish the job. fh1
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:09 AM   #25
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Just tear out the plastic and replace with sheet metal (you can buy it at guttermans supply on columbia Blvd) pop rivit or sheet metal screw the metal in place and your done! I don't think you will spend more than $30 to finish the job. fh1
I like it! I'm going to start ripping and tearing on the plastic and see what I get. I have a roll of metal flashing left over and can make some rails out of something.

Thanks for the ideas everyone.
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:33 AM   #26
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Best one I ever used was built out of wood. It was placed on a slight hillside with the firebox downhill and the smoke ran through stove pipe for a ways before reaching the smoker which cooled the smoke. It produced that great tasting, moist, cold smoked fish. In my opinion most folks smoke their fish way to fast and hot.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:00 AM   #27
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I have a friend who used a server cabinet. It works great!

I personally want to build a block smokehouse on a concrete pad and apply some local stone to the outside. I am planning to build it as a cold smoker with a firebox/stove that sits a few feet away, but yet build it small enough that I can also use it as a hot smoker with a fire in the bottom. I haven't seen anyone do this, but I don't know why it couldn't be done.
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:12 AM   #28
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What ever you use - stay away from a dish washer. We made an great looking smoker out of one and made our own racks. Built in a electric burner and thought we built the coolest smoker out there - wrong!!!! First batch of salmon and my friend and I couldn't be 10ft. away from the bathroom for 2 days - we got sicker than dogs!! Threw that away as soon as possible and built a wood box type - worked great!
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:53 AM   #29
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PM fishonjon he makes some nice one out of old refridgerators bet he can give some advise on plans and materials
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:10 AM   #30
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What ever you use - stay away from a dish washer. We made an great looking smoker out of one and made our own racks. Built in a electric burner and thought we built the coolest smoker out there - wrong!!!! First batch of salmon and my friend and I couldn't be 10ft. away from the bathroom for 2 days - we got sicker than dogs!! Threw that away as soon as possible and built a wood box type - worked great!
: laugh:
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:20 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Onemovecharlie View Post
Good ideas.

By the concrete board, are you talking about the stuff that goes under tile?
Yes the stuff that goes under tile floors.

If you still live in Amity, it wouldnt be far to come see it

I just gave my aluminum diamond plate one away to a neighbor
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:09 AM   #32
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homemade all the way--wood only--we used 3/4" plywood which insulates very well--ripped 2x4's for framing with screws--2'x2'x4' or size to racks 2x2" screwed to wall for racks to sit on--3/8" holes around top evenly for distribution of smoke--little pitch roof--any old siding--play with it !--pressure wash when necessary with water only--cobwebs and racks--remember it is just a heat column--used propane burner with no plastic and 3' chunck of copper pipe with fittings on hose with regulator to bulk propane tank--i used old dutch oven with lid for firebox with s hooks to control oxygen to chips to control burn--simple metal meat thermometor thru hole in front top door we look for 135 degrees--had door on leather hinges --leather and nail latch--minature outhouse effect--stay away from pellets they dont have enough moisture content-- we used wood gathered from our travels and woodcutting--my favorite green debarked alder--my friend and i each made 1 of these over twenty years ago--what a learnig curve--make sure have out in open away from buildings for safety --we have had no problems in 25 years ---remember 135 degrees or so---have fun !
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:22 AM   #33
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Okay, I've started. I will post some pictures when I get done. I have most everything I need. I'm starting with a 1970/80's frig. I ripped everything out of the interior and it is basically a metal shell with insulation. I'm framing against the metal with 2 x 2's and wood of various sizes to provide backing for support. Then I'll plywood the interior using tile backing board near the hot plate at the bottom. I'm thinking this is going to work real good.

How far apart should my shelves be? I'm thinking 6"? Thanks
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:29 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Bait O' Eggs View Post
Yes the stuff that goes under tile floors.

If you still live in Amity, it wouldnt be far to come see it

I just gave my aluminum diamond plate one away to a neighbor
Did you warn them first?
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:36 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Onemovecharlie View Post
Good ideas.

By the concrete board, are you talking about the stuff that goes under tile?
Go to Home Depot and ask for Wonderboard. It comes in small sheets.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:52 AM   #36
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there's a stainless rack and fridge in the classified section right now. easy conversion to a smoker.
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:08 PM   #37
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Get a commercial bread rack with casters... Line it with sheet-metal and then cover with wood!!! Shoud be pretty easy!
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:58 PM   #38
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All good ideas. I'll take some pictures. I started today and should get a bunch done tomorrow.

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Old 01-14-2011, 05:36 PM   #39
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I listened to Mr. BBQ on 750 KXL last weekend and he had an interview with a Big Mike that built his own "cold smoke" smoker in his back yard. Big Mike is the manager at Parr Lumber in Raleigh Hills and sounded as if he would be glad to share info and coach someone who might want to build their own.
The interview is here
http://www.kxl.com/play_window.php?a...udioId=5081182
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:33 AM   #40
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Here is a pic of the smoker I recently built. It is made out of "Hardie" cement board siding that comes in 4 x 8 sheets. I took the propane burner out of my old smokey mountain. I needed the height of this smoker because I make german sausage and like to hang the links in longer strings.[/IMG]
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:48 AM   #41
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Here is a link to plans of the smoker I built although I changed the dimensions somewhat http://animalscience.uconn.edu/exten...smokehouse.pdf
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:31 AM   #42
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I have always wanted to build one out of a big "school locker", but they are hard to find.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:18 AM   #43
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I've spent some time the last couple days working on my homemade smoker. I had most of the materials so the cost was minimal. I started with an old refrigerator. It was a 70's model with a plastic interior. I used a grinder with a cut off wheel and cut out the plastic, gutting the inside. What was left was just a metal outside shell and the insulation between the layers.



I started framing the inside corners with 2 x 2's, added backing for the shelving, and then replaced the insulation. I also added tile cement board around the hot plate area in the bottom and a couple bricks under the hot plate.



Here is how the bottom turned out.



I added a 3" vent to the top.



Some screw eyes to hold hanging rods for peperoni and sausage.



Shelving rails.



And a thermometer through the door.



I need to figure out some kind of latch system. The hot plate has settings 1-9 so I clamped the door shut and I am testing the hot plate to see what temperatures correspond to what settings.

The interior shelves are roughly 22.5" wide by 20" deep. I found a cast iron pan in my camping stuff and I have a couple oven racks that will work. It looks like I will need to find another 4-6 racks and some sort of drip pan for above the hot plate to finish it up. Oh, and a load of fish to test it out.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:31 AM   #44
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couple concerns come to mind?....

creasote and moisture will wick down the walls and soak that insulation..I'd remove it if it were mine, it could potentially become a fire hazard.

The blue caulking used for the top vent...I'd remove that too...creasote and other stuff sticks to everything, not sure what you used but being a heated source and the gravity from dripping may give off foul odors/taste to your finished product with that blue sealer....

in reality you don't need to seal that joint





Quote:
Originally Posted by Onemovecharlie View Post
I've spent some time the last couple days working on my homemade smoker. I had most of the materials so the cost was minimal. I started with an old refrigerator. It was a 70's model with a plastic interior. I used a grinder with a cut off wheel and cut out the plastic, gutting the inside. What was left was just a metal outside shell and the insulation between the layers.



I started framing the inside corners with 2 x 2's, added backing for the shelving, and then replaced the insulation. I also added tile cement board around the hot plate area in the bottom and a couple bricks under the hot plate.



Here is how the bottom turned out.



I added a 3" vent to the top.



Some screw eyes to hold hanging rods for peperoni and sausage.



Shelving rails.



And a thermometer through the door.



I need to figure out some kind of latch system. The hot plate has settings 1-9 so I clamped the door shut and I am testing the hot plate to see what temperatures correspond to what settings.

The interior shelves are roughly 22.5" wide by 20" deep. I found a cast iron pan in my camping stuff and I have a couple oven racks that will work. It looks like I will need to find another 4-6 racks and some sort of drip pan for above the hot plate to finish it up. Oh, and a load of fish to test it out.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:37 AM   #45
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The blue caulking is a special oven seal caulking. I only sealed the outside of the vent to keep air flow through it and not around it. The insulation is behind several layers of plywood. I appreciate the concern but I'll probably give it a try and see how it goes.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:15 AM   #46
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Based on my experience, (Frigidaire, circa 1954, with Hotpoint fabric-corded hotplate.) before my first meat or fish smoking session I would put some sort of slick-surfaced lift-out liner on the floor under the hotplate.

This will allow you to wash off all of the liquified fats and protein by-product grunge that will drip down from your fish and meats. Otherwise, I think that stuff is going to seep into the cement board and create a constant mold problem.

Maybe.

Oh yeah, and for fish - vine maple. Definitely vine maple.

This advice is probably worth exactly what you paid me for it.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:23 AM   #47
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http://www.ifish.net/board/showthread.php?t=238289
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:32 AM   #48
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I can't tell from your pics, but do you have some kind of damper on the vent? You will want to be able to control air flow. Also an opening on the bottom to promote a draft that you control with the top damper.

I second the liner on the bottom. You will want something that will make the bottom easy to clean.

Be sure to heat it up good and run several batches of smoke through it to "condition it" before smoking anything you want to eat.

Great job
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:48 AM   #49
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I can't tell from your pics, but do you have some kind of damper on the vent? You will want to be able to control air flow. Also an opening on the bottom to promote a draft that you control with the top damper.

I second the liner on the bottom. You will want something that will make the bottom easy to clean.

Be sure to heat it up good and run several batches of smoke through it to "condition it" before smoking anything you want to eat.

Great job
If your speaking about my smokehouse yes when I poured the pad I a placed a 1/2" pvc that leads to the fire pit to the outside, I then can place a wooden dowel into the pvc to control the air into the fire. No vents on the top as of yet I may put one in later if I need it but so far haven't needed any additional top vents. BTW the OP's smoker looks great.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:19 AM   #50
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If your speaking about my smokehouse yes when I poured the pad I a placed a 1/2" pvc that leads to the fire pit to the outside, I then can place a wooden dowel into the pvc to control the air into the fire. No vents on the top as of yet I may put one in later if I need it but so far haven't needed any additional top vents.

Sorry about that, I was commenting on Onemovecharlie's pics
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:25 AM   #51
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You do need bottom vents as the humidity will be much too high for your product to dry properly. Once you get the right amount of smoke on your meat and the curing process is complete, open the vents and let the air flow. If you can maintain 120 degrees by manipulating the top vent, your stuff will dry.

I think you did a great job.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:14 PM   #52
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Thanks guys,

I've got the hot plate going right now to test what temp is associated with what number on the hot plate and also what number corresponds to smoke. I was aware that I would need to control air flow but I'm stumped as to how to do it. I had to furr out a wood seal to replace the plastic and rubber I removed. I thought about cutting a few slits in the bottom wood liner but I wouldn't be able to control it.

I was planning to use a cookie sheet on the very bottom rack above the hot plate to catch drippings. I could also line the bottom with foil or something else. Still have some work to do but I'm making progress.
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:34 PM   #53
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I left the top vent flush with the top. Took a piece of metal and attached it with one screw so it could pivot to cover/uncover the vent. That way you can control the draft.

Having the proper airflow in the smoker is important for many reasons. It allows moisture to be removed for one. Also you want the new smoke to push out the old smoke, otherwise you will pick up more of the bitter flavors in the smoke.

It is just an learning experience, have fun with it.

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:38 PM   #54
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You could tear out the plastic and line with wood.....?
Before PLYWOOD becomes the rage for home built smokers, you might want in investigate the consequences of burning or heating plywood. They are put together will RESINS.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load...443920936.html

http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Organ...od_20and_20OSB

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/formalde.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=pzX...ed=0CFwQ6AEwCQ
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:05 PM   #55
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Before PLYWOOD becomes the rage for home built smokers, you might want in investigate the consequences of burning or heating plywood. They are put together will RESINS.
Just some extra preservatives.

Any treated wood, would be bad also. Just like using treated cedar shingles to grill your Salmon on.
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:46 PM   #56
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....secret ingredient......
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:55 PM   #57
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Default Re: Homemade smokers (Pics added)

I wouldnt worry about using plywood You probably shouldnt have handled the lead sinker you used fishing either Probably to much mercury in that fish to eat anyway.

I would be curious how hot your getting with that little electric burner. My smoker is about twice the volume, and I dont have the insulation, but I use a 30,000 btu burner at about 1/2 power for smoking, and fire up the 170,000 btu burner and the 30,000 btu burner wide open when I am done smoking and want to cook (sausage not fish) and I can only get it to about 350 degrees on a good day. When the smoking is done and I want to finish by cooking, I want to do it fairly quick so I dont spend forever and dry things out.

your project is looking good though
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:01 PM   #58
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Last time I was at Cherry City Metals in Salem, they had some aluminum boxes with hinged doors, about the size of a fridge that could be converted, but they wanted a small fortune for them in the scrap pile.

I built mine out of plywood and lined with 1/4 inch concrete board in the heat areas. havent been able to burn this one up yet.
I was wondering when you would bring that up on this topic, lol
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:40 PM   #59
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The old pop machine !!!
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:00 PM   #60
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The old pop machine !!!
That is sweeeeeeeet!!!!!!!!!
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