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take-um
05-24-2003, 08:19 AM
has anybody built there own smoker? do you have any plans or ideas on where to start, materials etc.

Trigger
07-13-2003, 10:17 AM
I have a store bought unit that has lasted me over 15 years. Do about 5-8 loads of jerky a year and 3-5 of smoked fish. The jerky is going to take you about 12-18 hours at moderate heat to get the cooking and dryness you want.

As for plans on building a smoker, I would search the net. but the most important parts are the thermostate, and a good quality heat source. If your going to be smoking in the late fall and winter months, insulated is a good idea as well. Remember that the smoke just doesn't sit inside the box, there has to be a little bit of draft. always.
If your at the outdoors store some time, have a look at the factory built models. they have patents for a reason on these things.

I have heard of guys building them using stove elements, but I would stick with the commercial grade for this project. More exact in temperature and control.

Trigger..

Greg Owens
07-14-2003, 11:24 AM
Take-um,
We made a smoke house out of an old refrigerator. If you can find an old one with a METAL interior you could replicate this set up for a very low price. The problem with the store bought units that I have seen is that they are cookers, not smokers. They get way too hot to properly smoke anything.

To build the smoker, start by stripping out the METAL lined frige, (we used an old one with a single door). Remove the door latch mechanism for safety reasons. Remove anything that is plastic or rubber, (including the door gasket if applicable) as this will tend to impart a rather unpleasant flavor on the meat. Put a 8 to 10 inch hole in the bottom of the main frige compartment down to where the compresser used to be. Place a brick or two on either side of this hole and place a 'drip tray' on top of these bricks to prevent flare-ups in the fire pan that will be located in the area vacated by the compresser. The fire pan will also sit on a layer of bricks. For the pan we use a steel drain pan commonly found in auto parts stores. Two things that are very important about the pan, first, it must be new, (nobody wants jerkey that tastes like 30 weight...). Second make sure the pan is not zinc plated, (galvanized) as these will give off a poisionous gas when heated. If you can't find a suitable pan you can also make one that will work. The only requirement is it must be able to be removed from the smoker to load more water soaked wood into it. To regulate the heat produced, just adjust the amount of air to the fire pan with a piece of wood / metal proped in front of the outside access to the fire pan, (not the interior hole under the drip pan). You can add or remove wire racks on the inside of the smoker as needed depending on what you are smoking, (not intended to be a drug reference...). Start the fire pan w/ charcoal and add water soaked pieces of your favorite wood as needed.

If you need additional info, don't hesitate to send me an email.

Greg