Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing chamber

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Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing chamber

Postby pickledpork » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:33 pm

Hello everyone,

A few years ago I got the air-dried sausage/meats "bug" and decided that I NEEDED I a curing chamber. Unfortunately I didn't know about this forum, and based on the little info I gathered up I bought a 2nd hand cheapo fridge that was used as a drink display fridge - like those with the glass door. Got a new condensor/fan unit, and the fridge was working great. Similar to this one

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8619&p=76178&hilit=curing+chamber#p76178

MY former boss helped me rig a dual temperature/humidity controller to the fridge, overiding the original controls, and we put in an ultrasonic humidifier.

http://www.dixell.co.il/products.php?lang=_l1 (it's the XL240L).

The way this controller works is that everytime one of the functions turn on (light, heat, cool, humidify, dehumidify) the fan turns on as well. Knowing that airflow control is vital we also installed a dimmer (potentiometer) to the fan. This type of fridge is based on the fan (situated at the "ceiling" of the fridge) sucking in and circulating the cool air supplied by the condensor. No fan, no cool air moving, but condensor keeps working until temperature setpoint is reached (12 C). Humidity runs between 80% and 65%. Condensor lowering it and humidifier increasing it.
Anyhow, although I get good products, case hardening is still a problem. I used to think it was me being lazy and not checking on the water frequently enough, but reading up on forum threads I now believe airflow is more critical.

As stated here be Wheels for the same type of fridg:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11375&p=97440&hilit=fridge#p97440

Question is, how can I decrease airflow around the sausages? If fan is slow, it and the condensor will have to work for a long while to cool the fridge. If fan is fast, cooling is rapid but so is air movement. I was thinking about creating a micro-environment within the fridge that had less draft.
I saw this threads which could provide a solution:

http://www.localfoodheroes.co.uk/?e=390
And another thread (can't find it) which showed a caterign rack completely covered by a flexible plastic sheet.

I would appreciate any help, advice or ideas concerning my situation.

Thanks!
If any additional info or pics are necessary, just say so!
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Re: Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing cham

Postby NCPaul » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:55 pm

I don't use a fan at all, I just check on the salami every day and flap the door a couple of times. Welcome to the forum. :D
Fashionably late will be stylishly hungry.
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Re: Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing cham

Postby wheels » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:46 pm

Hi

The only way I could see of using one of these fridges was to create an area protected from the draft of the fan. I used it for a while, but it left very little space.

I've since changed to using a domestic fridge.

Phil
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Re: Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing cham

Postby pickledpork » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:34 pm

NCPaul - What kind of fridge/setup do you got?

Wheels - My drinks fridge us quite big. Even with a nice batch of product there is still plenty if room. I could sacrifice some of it to create a protected area. Do you think something like polyethylene sheets draiping over the sides would help? Did your wood setp do the job while you were using it?

Thnx for your comments and advice.
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Re: Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing cham

Postby wheels » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:26 pm

pickledpork wrote:... Did your wood setp do the job while you were using it?


To a degree. It was very small, so controlling the humidity was a nightmare.

Phil
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Re: Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing cham

Postby NCPaul » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:02 pm

I use a Fridigaire 16.7 cubic ft refrigerator only. It also lagers two beer fermenters at a time when it's not doing salami. :D
Fashionably late will be stylishly hungry.
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Re: Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing cham

Postby pickledpork » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:28 pm

I did the polyethylene drape thing. It sort of creates a semi-isolated area in the fridge. I can feel the draft caused by the fan outside the plastic sheets (path with least resistance) but inside there is much less air movement and higher humidity. I hung a couple of new salamis a week ago. They are looking great and don't seem to dry out as much as before. If this whole thing works (and there's no dry rim) i'll post pics of it, maybe someone can benefit from this.
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Re: Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing cham

Postby crustyo44 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:59 pm

PP,
A lot of members would like to see your photos and the end products. We have a lot of beginners on the forum including me.
We all like to learn.
Good Luck,
Jan.
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Re: Advice - soft drink display fridge made into curing cham

Postby rick54 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:53 pm

Just thinking out loud mind you, could you insert a full size sheet pan in between the fan and your hanging sausage? That way the air would travel between the walls of the fridge and the edges of the sheet pan. Or if the sheet pan isn't big enough, could you just put in a piece of sheet metal cut to fit? Maybe drill some holes in it to allow for minimum air movement? Where there's a will, there's a way!
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