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Offset Fridge Smoker Build & Questions

 
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Smoke Point
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Joined: 06 Oct 2007
Posts: 45
Location: Stevens Point, WI

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02 12 5:59 am    Post subject: Offset Fridge Smoker Build & Questions Reply with quote

I wanted to show my build and ask for some advice.

I started with an old fridge, no foam insulation.

Inside dimensions are about 45” high, 26” wide and 15” deep. I replaced the inside of the door and the front trim with steel and covered all of the different holes as well.

I know most of the fridge smoker / cabinet smokers that I’ve seen use a charcoal drawer or a electric/propane burner for heat. Here in central WI I have access to wood at a fairly reasonable price, so I wanted to try a stick burner. For a fire box I had a wood add on furnace. It is 14” wide, 15” tall and 26” deep inside. The air chamber around it makes it look a lot larger.



Instead of using the small auto damper on the front for airflow, I have been using the ash drawer which measures 11" by 2.75". This way the airflow comes up under the fire grate in the front of the firebox and exits out the top of the back of the firebox.

To spread the airflow out and cut down on the amount of vertical space taken up by vents, I transitioned from a 6” round to a 3” by 12” opening for both my in and out. I put the shelves in at a 6” spacing to leave room for butts.

I have not permanently fastened the two parts together yet. I want to make sure everything works and decide how I want to arrange the parts. For now I am using black 6” stove pipe to make my connections.

The fire box sits rather high and the fridge just clears the garage door with a few inches to spare. Since I couldn't raise the fridge and I didn't know if I could safely drop the firebox low enough, I looked at two options.

Option 1


Option 2


I decided to try option 1, a reverse flow. It seems like it draws pretty well.

This is what I've ended up with for now.

Outside




Inside


I've gotten some decent smoke out of it.




Now for the first question. I was under the impression that a reverse flow like this would result in even heat distribution. On the last test run I had a 50 to 60 degree drop in temp going from the second shelf from the top to the shelf two below it. That's a 50 degree drop going about a foot down. From the second shelf down from the top to the second shelf from the bottom (about 2 feet) I had the temp drop close to 90 degrees.

I have to do a large event with this smoker in about a week and need to figure out what is going on this weekend. Is a drop like this normal? Should I switch to a normal flow? Do I need more airflow?

I thank you for your time reading all of this and any advise you can give.

Thank you,
Ben
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smootz
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Joined: 12 Nov 2011
Posts: 451
Location: Kitts Hill, Ohio

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02 12 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you have is not a reverse flow. You are basically just shoving wood stove exhaust into the top of a box.

There are people here who are qualified to give advise on fixing your set-up. Hopefully they will chime in soon. I would suggest searching some builds on upright clones (vault, backwoods, etc.). Before attempting a build it would be wise to understand the process.

Good Luck
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Jarhead
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Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 7355
Location: Marionville, Home of the White Squirrels, Missouri

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02 12 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hint: Warm things rise. Heat, smoke, etc.
You're gonna have some mighty stagnant smoke in there. The YUCK factor taste.
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02 12 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben, switch to option 2 and get the firebox as low as possible making your entry into the fridge as low as possible. Try to get rid of the up over then down and in making your entry as close and straight as possible for the connector pipe and call it a day.
Reverse flow uprights have the heat directly under the chamber the heat pushes the smoke up channels and into the chamber then back down into the exhaust channel.
As John mentioned when you add moist cold meat to your existing plan your going to have a mess.
These are just my thoughts. Smile
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Smoke Point
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Joined: 06 Oct 2007
Posts: 45
Location: Stevens Point, WI

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03 12 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to argue, but to explain:
I might be wrong calling this a reverse flow. I was basing this on a comment made by harry on one of his early smokers that was set up this way, as well as my limited knowledge of how an Oyler works. After reading your comments I searched out the threads and noticed that both of them had huge stacks to create the needed draw.

I also had to admit that just because it can work, and has for some people's smokers, it doesn't mean that it is the best way for me to do it.

After thinking on it for a little bit I decided:





So k.a.m. Has Spoken, So Let It Be Done






Seriously, I have a lot of respect for k.a.m. as well as the rest of you who take time to help people like me as we try to take the next step past the UDS. (Thank you to the ring for the uds. It is a wonderful way to learn smoking)

I changed the smoker around as suggested this morning and have been running it empty most of the day to get a feel for it. From top to bottom I am looking at about 10 degrees difference. I have had smoke you can barely see for most of the day. (most of the time I couldn't see anything) The best part for me is that I've been able to run with a slightly bigger fire. With the other setup I was having trouble keeping the fire small enough for the temp I wanted and yet not having it die out.

Tomorrow I'll take the next step and try a rack of ribs. I'll let you know how that goes.

Thank you all for your help.

Ben
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03 12 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben, I am glad your cooker is working for you now. Very Happy I look forward to seeing those cook pics. Very Happy
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Beertooth
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Joined: 03 Nov 2007
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Location: Central Washington

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03 12 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hell yeah Ben!

Glad to see you getting it dialed in. Very Happy
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03 12 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, that looks sooo much better Ben.
I'll bet food will taste 1000% better too.
Now, get them bones on. Wink
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Tony
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06 12 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jarhead wrote:
Now, that looks sooo much better Ben.
I'll bet food will taste 1000% better too.
Now, get them bones on. Wink



Yup...Let's Eat! Laughing Cool

Good Luck and Best Regards! Wink

Tony Very Happy
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