Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby GUS » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:51 am

"Gert thee a brass cabin ook, boi" ..or a cheapo clasp from a poundstore ironmongery type place to shutter it instead of "tha" string.

I get where you are coming from, the wine cooler is a first foray into smoking & curing, offers basic weather-proofing & room for expansion should you need it, ..plus a place to balance the odd tray / plate of smoked schmutter, & the wood et al is left over from another job, makes perfect sense & offsets the cost (in argument terms of budgetary spend for your new hobby) .., can just imagine your other half on the phone, ..."what the hell does he want with a big bag of sawdust, oh well, keeps him quiet" #been there worn out the t-shirt :lol: (haven't we all)!?

You "might" want a flip up tray table on one side to save you juggling ...speaking from experience (or drag a thrown away gas bbq with table arms & cobble them on the sides, invariable they are plastic with metal supports, but are weatherproof & durable, a saw, drill & some screws ...sorted.

Plenty to be scavenged on freecycle / the local tip,

"Good Work Fella" *


*is of the "loaded" generation.
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby GUS » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:21 am

Swing Swang.

To me certainly it makes good sense to use a defunct wine cooler, #Recycle, as once a few cuts are made you do in essence have a very cheap bradley style container, (without the expensive mechanics, briquettes nor price) ..ok it's not stainless steel inside, & you can't hot smoke but in terms of insulation (looked to be extruded polystyrene within the cut made for the gutterpipe smoke stack vent, which has better thermal properties than regular "bubbly" polystrene composition, so a definite advantage for seasonality.

(Can't believe I used to lust after a bradley smoker)

As with anything "fridgey" that ventilation is going to have to be checked on for a while so it doesn't get smelly till all is going to plan, but hopefully enough through=flow for that beautiful thin wisp of smoke to do it's job, or else a wee modification in forms of a proper regulated air feed, ( or a drill, a bit of spare copper / plastic pipe to the drill diameter into the chamber & a rodent seal :wink:

That incidentally is in basic form how you put an air feed from outside (room sealed) to feed a woodburner in order for it to burn (draw) with a much better efficiency % fuel ratio, calorific content & all that, so whilst not the same pull as a flame & a long smoke stack, ..well, the theory is there.
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby Swing Swang » Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:09 pm

Thanks for the feedback and the reasoning behind the decision making process - Philip
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby GUS » Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:45 pm

..& you have an opportunity to sell it onward as a dedicated recycled cold smoker if you move onward & upwards, well you know ebay!

What are the measurements for the internal racks? ((dunelm))!?

Incidentally, copper is very bitter to vermin, when they chew cables they are gnawing on the sheathing, so it should be very off-putting, also inhibits all kinds of growth, hopefully that will put paid to anything wanting in, unless you fit some gauze material as a fly-screen / thunder-bug back up.

I'm trying to remember where I saw some slimline dowl rod "hangers" for when you get itchy feet beyond bacon.

I'm assuming it's a moulded plastic liner that forms the inner & shelf retainers? so before lighting a CSG do place a cheapo tile / sliver of Hardiebacker (topps tiles maybe) under your csg as a protective barrier, just in case.

Look forward to seeing it seasoned & in action, (sic)

Where did you find the copper mesh incidentally?
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby NCPaul » Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:40 pm

so before lighting a CSG do place a cheapo tile / sliver of Hardiebacker (topps tiles maybe) under your csg as a protective barrier, just in case.


Really good advice. :D
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby kil2k » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:15 pm

GUS wrote:What are the measurements for the internal racks? ((dunelm))!?


Racks are approx 9" x 17" [43cm x 22cm]

GUS wrote:I'm trying to remember where I saw some slimline dowl rod "hangers" for when you get itchy feet beyond bacon.


Got loads of the stuff - bought it for another project :lol:

GUS wrote:I'm assuming it's a moulded plastic liner that forms the inner & shelf retainers? so before lighting a CSG do place a cheapo tile / sliver of Hardiebacker (topps tiles maybe) under your csg as a protective barrier, just in case.


Damn good idea!

GUS wrote:Look forward to seeing it seasoned & in action, (sic)


I had to buy some cheese today to test it out. The CSG starts off well, but goes out after approx 30 mins. I'm thinking there might not be enough air-flow. If I leave the [wooden] door open, pack the dust down with my finger, and place the CSG over the air holes it burns for longer. The dust has has good feedback, so I think I may need to modify the air vent for my next test.

Image

Image

GUS wrote:Where did you find the copper mesh incidentally?


eBay. Bought 3m for £10.74. I tend to go OTT when buying materials, because you never know when you'll need it next :wink:
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby GUS » Sat Jun 06, 2015 2:24 pm

That looks over complicated at the moment as a way of hanging cheese / product.

Nip out to dunelm & grab a cheap wire cooling rack, if slightly undersize at the gripping edges, grab some loo roll inners (really) & pack em inside each other then flex it, test for size & add another till a temporary "jamb" is formed on the mouldings lip.

...i can stand my not inconsiderable weight upon these, we use em as dog toy chews, & for seedlings, so save em all year round. If available, or simply elevate it about the height of a tall nesqik container to allow full round flow. ...rummaging n your recycling will turn up something.

Have you microwaved your dust?

For test purposes if yes, & still petering out then grab some foam pipe wrap place round top & side seal of door leaving gap open at bottom, see how that goes, dont drill willy nilly!
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby wheels » Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:03 pm

Gus
What's the oak like burning on its own? I only ever use it mixed with beech.
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby GUS » Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:18 pm

wheels wrote:Gus
What's the oak like burning on its own? I only ever use it mixed with beech.
Phil


(I must congratulate myself on correct use of the quote button, I never see it)!

No problems here! I think the key is judicious use of a microwave every time, ..it's part of my regime, factory packing moisture level quotient does not reflect current time or state,

Thundery weather conditions here have had humidity readings yo-yo'ing ..easier to always microwave than re-pack, relight, cuss, ...lots.
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby wheels » Sat Jun 06, 2015 8:33 pm

Thank Gus

Phil
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby GUS » Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:20 pm

Kil2k if you have ongoing problems with the oak failing, then am happy to send you a kilo or 2 of beech (finer dust) many on here use a 50 / 50 mix ...say the word ..as stated elsewhere , i have bags of it packed to go, the mix will assist burn / smoulder issues till you get your required draught rate for your unit spot on.
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby kil2k » Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:37 pm

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I forgot to bloody microwave the stuff! That's what happens when you're a virgin smoker :lol:

Incidentally, the next day I lit the CSG, and the dust burned true! Must have just needed drying out. The cheese was delicious! Tasted very similar to the smoked sausage type cheese you can buy. Many thanks for the offer, Gus. I'll certainly let you know after my next attempt :)

The next test will be sausages, but the 2Kg I made for the weekend are all gone. Gave some to the neighbours [who raved about them], and we snaffled the rest. The El Diablo, Garlic and Herb, and Wild Garlic and Black Pepper seasonings that Franco sells are DELICIOUS! My missus was the first one to bite into one when it came off the BBQ. She looked me dead in the eye and said "which one is this". She had the ultimate poker face, so I wasn't sure if she hated it, or liked it. Turns out that unicorns may as well have been dancing on her tongue - she liked them that much.

It's awesome to have a hobby that you can enjoy with other people. Especially when their reaction is "oh my god, that's ******* amazing!" :D
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby wheels » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:19 pm

It's a good idea to include curing salt if you're making sausage to cold-smoke.

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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby NCPaul » Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:38 am

It's awesome to have a hobby that you can enjoy with other people. Especially when their reaction is "oh my god, that's ******* amazing!" :D


Exactly
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Re: Building a cold smokehouse from a wine cooler

Postby GUS » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:25 am

The more you feed / share with others the finished product of what may be initially perceived as "a strange little pecadillo" ..the more you win over, congratulations my friend, you have made it less of a mountain to skirt round where buying seemingly daft supplies is concerned.

Stating the obvious here, DO not leave a microwave full of sawdust unattended, & use kitchen gloves to remove, prior to the release of moisture (it should steam a little) before re-piling & giving more time.
Just build it into your preparation like anything, it's less chore-borious that way.

I have a small "rustlers" (supermarket microwave nasty burgers) branded large box for blending with it's 3 walls & a front lip, keeps everything from spilling far & wide, does a nice batch that way ready for later (stored in clip-seal bags).

I also use my csg in it for loading with fresh dust, way better than a tray.
Microwave every time, this is Engerland's weather system after all!

Congratulations, you have just unlocked, "food snob" achievement, ..be prepared though now the missus will be demanding a smoked cheese platter to take into work for "er & the girls"
You have that ruddy fromage caveau, tightly cling wrap & use it sir I beseech thee! ..much improved for maturation.

Smacks hand, ..14 days in fromage caveau chokey!
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