Buy or Modify to improve smoker

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Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby johngaltsmotor » Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:35 pm

So I'm looking for input on improving my smoking hardware.
I've got a small charcoal fired water smoker (16"dia x 48"). My biggest problem is maintaining heat. The charcoal constantly wants to snuff out so maintaining temperature is a problem.

I was rooting around online and like the notion of the offset vertical smokers. Mostly because I want height so I can hang a whole bunch of sausages (the reason I added an extension to get more height out of my current smoker). And the offset firebox would make it easier to tend the fire. Or possibly run a CSG for smoke and modify it for propane or electric for more hands off heat control if needed.

OR... I'm thinking of mounting a charcoal chimney in place of the charcoal bowl on my existing and adding a chute so I can drop in a handful of charcoal to land on top but continually have the draft effect of the charcoal chimney to maximize heat. Then just get a good smoker box and separate the heat and smoke functions.

What say ye oh wise and experienced smokers? Buy something new? Or modify what I've got? I'd hate to spend $300 and just be a different kind of unhappy.
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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby kimgary » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:03 am

I would fit an electric element and thermostat to give perfect heat control to the unit you have.

Think about putting a frame around it and insulate with mineral wool or vermiculite to save fuel costs and give better temps.

This should give you all the flexibility you need for hot or cold smoking imho.

Regards
Gary.
My biggest fear in life is that when I die my wife sells all my stuff for what I told her I paid for it!!
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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby johngaltsmotor » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:07 pm

Any idea on wattage required? I would think that 1000 might be enough (based on the amount of heat a moderate hair dryer can put out.
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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby kimgary » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:54 pm

Depends on what temps you want to reach, regardless I would go for something around 2000 watts @ 110v, this would allow you to basically have a outdoor oven as well, depending how well you insulate it, you could set the stat on 80 degrees and this would enable a pretty stable temp for hot smoking etc because with that size element it would not take long to come back to temp, set it on 190 degrees and as I said earlier you could use it as an outside oven, imagine what size turkey or belly of pork you could roast in it.

It is down to a lot of variables, outdoor temps, amount of insulation etc, i would wire it via a digital type therrmostat as they are so much more accurate and relatively cheap now.

If I can help more please ask

Kind Regards
Gary.

Quick edit, just thought I should state the temps im quoting are degrees C, forgot ouir friends over the pond still use F.
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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby johngaltsmotor » Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:56 pm

I figured you meant C's instead of F's at those values. People say the US is messed up for not using metric units. But you guys in the UK use pints for volume and C for temperature - at least we stick to the same system ;-)

I've got an extra controller and SCR from another project I could easily tag in, plus a bunch of insulated 110V hot rods. I'll give it a go now that someone has configured that I'm not nuts for thinking I can do it better myself.
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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby wheels » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:03 pm

johngaltsmotor wrote:I figured you meant C's instead of F's at those values.


Even more bizarrely, we tend to use F for hot weather but C for cold!
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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby johngaltsmotor » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:14 pm

Okay, in looking at the youtube videos of the ProQ CSG it looks like hardly a whisper of smoke. I'm thinking that with the convection of a hot chamber that won't be nearly enough smoke. I know you can light both the outside and inside and burn both ends toward the center for double the smoke. Has anybody used a ProQ in a heated chamber to guarantee that's enough? I'm used to smoke rolling out of my smoker and I'd hate to waste my money (and sanity) if the ProQ is truly only good for slow moving air flow of cold smoking.
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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby wheels » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:36 pm

My call would be that the CSG's not really suitable for hot-smoking. At least not hot-smoking as I know it. As you've said, it just doesn't produce sufficient smoke for hot-smoking.

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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby Shuswap » Wed Nov 26, 2014 8:10 pm

I had nothing but trougle managing smoke and temperature on my MSE30 gas smoker. I switched to the Bradley 4 tray Original and couldn't be happier - preheat, load it up add the smoke pucks and find something else to do.
I did my first ever streaky bacon, hocks and ham bones yesterday. Bradley has aa 6 tray model.
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Re: Buy or Modify to improve smoker

Postby DiggingDogFarm » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:44 am

johngaltsmotor wrote:Okay, in looking at the youtube videos of the ProQ CSG it looks like hardly a whisper of smoke. I'm thinking that with the convection of a hot chamber that won't be nearly enough smoke. I know you can light both the outside and inside and burn both ends toward the center for double the smoke. Has anybody used a ProQ in a heated chamber to guarantee that's enough? I'm used to smoke rolling out of my smoker and I'd hate to waste my money (and sanity) if the ProQ is truly only good for slow moving air flow of cold smoking.


If you go with the A-Maze-N pellet models you can use them both for cold smoking and hot smoking...even BBQ.

~Martin
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