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Wanting to Build an Electric Smokehouse

 
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02 13 4:48 am    Post subject: Wanting to Build an Electric Smokehouse Reply with quote

Hey all, I'm getting ready to venture into the world of sausage making. I got a grinder and stuffer for christmas, and now I'm getting ready to build a smokehouse. I could use my UDS I suppose, but I'm really needing a project to satisfy my boredom.

There are some cool builds in this thread that I want to model mine after:

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=57522

I am wanting to do an electric version, but my techie side won't let me do a simple hot plate. I found a cattle water heater at my local farm store (1500-2000W, 120V AC) and am curious if that would work. How do I go about controlling it? I want to build a PID temperature controller, and found this thread that Killswitch505 did:

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37975&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=control&start=0

Do you think I could adapt that to control the heating element?

Then the next question is how about smoke? I've thought about doing something fancy/separate for smoke control, but might just use the ol' cast iron skillet and wood chips, but I really want to get away from opening the door every 15 minutes......Maybe an Amazin smoker? What do you guys think?

As for temperature control, on my list so far is:

1. PID control (I want one that is good and has good directions, but that may be hard to come by)
2. Solid state relay
3. Some sort of thermocouple (question is, which one?)

I'm in the planning stages.......what am I missing?

Thanks in advance for the input.

Ed
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02 13 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what you're going to spend on parts to make something that probably will not work as intended, you could get one made by "Masterbuilt" for half the cost, and it will do exactly what it is intended to do.

I have one of the masterbuilts at home specifically for sausage when I make a small batch for personal use.
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03 13 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Harry,

I've thought about that, and I will definitely be paying attention when Jarhead gets his new one, but I'll have $350 wrapped up in that by the time it's said and done.

I think I can do better for cheaper (because I am going to make it out of wood), and besides, it's not about the money so much as something for me to do.

I'm not convinced that it "probably will not work as intended"......

At any rate, it's all in the planning stages at the moment. Cool

Thanks,
Ed
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wyrman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03 13 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just posted this in the other thread but here it goes again. I built a smoker out of a refrigerator with a 3000 watt oven element and PID controlled. It works great, I couldn't be happier with it.
http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=55840&highlight=refrigerator+smoker
I bought an amaz'n tube smoker recently and am really happy with it.
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03 13 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This looks to be the same thing, only no window. Chances are you won't be able to see through it anyway. The hinges are reversed. Cheaper. No remote. And from experience, better CS than what I have read about for MB.
If you are a vet, you get 10% off too. WIN-WIN if you ask me.
http://www.lowes.com/pd_416468-58355-20070513_0__?Ntt=20070513&UserSearch=20070513&productId=4459487&rpp=32
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03 13 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Wyrman......

A couple questions for you:

Do you think I could use the water heating element at 1500W? It is 110V, which is what I want to use (and only like $14 at Tractor Supply). My smokehouse is going to be about 2 x 2 x 48" tall.

How about your cold smoke generator? How do you get that going? And I assume you are using an air pump from a fish tank? The switch on the box just controls the pump? Does it use saw dust?

Thanks and sorry for the 20 questions.....
Ed
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03 13 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cat, are you talking about a round floating stock tank heater?
It will melt the foam and plastic and burn out. Don't ask... Crying or Very sad Embarassed
Edit: Just looked at the Model #'s for each. Amazon is 20070512 and Lowe's is 20070513. $180 difference. Shocked
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03 13 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jarhead,

The one I found looks like an oven element, but is made to be mounted through the drain hole in a metal trough. That way the cord isn't in the water. I thought that it would be perfect to go through the wall of the smoker.......
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wyrman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03 13 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never run across anyone using a stock tank heater but as long as you don't have any wires inside of the smoker I don't see any harm in giving it a shot.
You definitely need a solid state relay.
On my setup I have three switches, I added one since that post. One for main power, one for the aquarium pump, and one for a ciculating fan. I light the CSG with a torch, and I use chips, chunks, and a little bit of pellets.
I'm not sure if 1500 watts is big enough, you might want to research that out, I don't really know.
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BBQonICE
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03 13 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

becarefull using the stock heaters or any element meant to be submerged in liquid....they are meant to have liquid around them....they are not good to run dry.
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wyrman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04 13 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBQonice, now that you mentioned it, I remember one time I had a steer that liked to pull the heater out of his tough and it would shut itself off.
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Harry Nutczak
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04 13 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wyrman wrote:
BBQonice, now that you mentioned it, I remember one time I had a steer that liked to pull the heater out of his trough and it would shut itself off.


Did you punish him by eating him?? I hope so!!
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wyrman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04 13 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
wyrman wrote:
BBQonice, now that you mentioned it, I remember one time I had a steer that liked to pull the heater out of his trough and it would shut itself off.


Did you punish him by eating him?? I hope so!!


Absolutely!!!
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GF
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04 13 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cat797, here is a link that was posted in the cooker section a while ago for a PID.http://www.lightobject.com/0-999F-Fahrenheit-Temperature-Controller-P139.aspx

Not sure if that's what your looking for but, that seems like a decent price. Very Happy

I made a small electric UDS using a hot plate element,(1000 watt), and a 1000 watt dimmer to control it. I'm sure you can put something together if your looking for a project. Very Happy
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stevec3135
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07 13 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My fridge smoker is set with a replacement burner out of a ol smokey smoker works great 1500 watts, have the amps on side going for smoke.
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07 13 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the comments guys.....

Steve, I was looking at those too......
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Mikey P's BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07 13 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I did was build a UDS the standard way only I replaced one of the ball valves in the bottom with this:
http://www.amazon.com/Brinkmann-Electric-Replacement-Element-116-7000-0/dp/B004W4U0K0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360240042&sr=8-1&keywords=1500+watt+element+smoker

Plugged it into one of these:
http://www.amazon.com/SE-Electronic-Stepless-Speed-Controller/dp/B000HQAVNI/ref=pd_sim_lg_4

Added this for smoke:
http://www.amazenproducts.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=12

And there you have an electric smoker. Works great for sausage but I dont know that it would have enough wattage to run it up to 225 for smoking anything else. I figured if I wanted to run it up to 225 I could remove the electric element and add a charcoal basket. Theres only 1 bolt holding the element in so its an easy task.

I'll snap some pictures tonight if your interested.
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08 13 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the links MikeyP...... Cool

This would be a dedicated sausage smoker. I thought about using the UDS, but have decided that I want to build a wooden unit with a large door so I can more easily access the hanging sticks, etc.

How does the temperature controller work? Can you map your cooker and dial in a specific temperature, or is it more trial and error? I was thinking that if I built a PID unit, I could have more of a thermostat type unit where it would power on only when it needed it.

Thanks.
Ed
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wyrman
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09 13 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a lot of good ideas in this thread. I also wanted a dedicated smoker for sausage making. I originally built a smoker out of an old fridge and used a double burner commercial hot plate, it worked great but I had to constantly check and adjust the temperature. I couldn't leave it on overnight because of that reason.
That's when I decided to build a PID controlled smoker. Whether you go with a fridge, wood built, or something else the PID is the way to go. You'll be so happy that you did, and it doesn't have to be all that expensive. I enjoyed the build and enjoy being able to set a temperature and not worry.
My PID can be programmed for 30 different steps, that means that I can have the temp start out at a certain degree and change to other temps whenever I want, then shut itself off if I want it to.
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Cat797
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11 13 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wyrman, I really like your set up and I think that I am going to the same......I'll probably hit you up when it comes time to do the electrical part to make sure that I am thinking clearly.

Thanks!
Ed
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