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Thread: smoker question

  1. #1
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    Question smoker question

    This, along with many others has most likely been asked before.....more than once. But it is almost time to fire up the smokers. What kind do you have??? store bought or home made? details welcomed.

  2. #2
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Mine's home made.

    I salvaged and modified a plywood shipping crate. It's 16" x 24" x 6'. I stood it up on one end, braced the corners, added hinges to turn the lid into a door, shelf braces, and used old oven racks for my smoking racks.
    I use propane as my heat source and I added adjustable vents and a thermometer to control the temp.

    I know the purists will say never use plywood but I let mine weather for a year and then smoked it for 3 days after it was finished. My fish has a clean, smoked taste--no hints of pine or glue

    It holds a dozen red/silver fillets.

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    I don't smoke a lot of salmon, and use a "Smoke Chief" (or something like that). Then last year a friend who was moving out of AK gave me a new smoker like the one I already have, but half its size.

    Now, the smokers over at the Sportsman Warehouse are very nice. I saw the same at Sam's Club. These smokers are expensive, but moisture does not scape, and one can regulate its temperature with a built-in rheostat. They also have a thermometer to tell you how hot it's inside.

  4. #4
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    Home-made.

    Walk-in, with a single-slope roof, 5' deep, 7' 5" wide, 10' tall on the high side, and roughly 6' 6" tall on the low side. Metal roof and trim, 3/8" CDX plywood sheathing and interior, 2" x 4" framing as rack hangers, and a total of R-25 to R-30 in the ceiling, and R-13 in the walls, door, and inside the removable panels.

    Nealry complete, with a concrete slab floor, insulated and vapor-barriered, with bug-screened removable panels near the top of the high side wall, and the bottom of the low side wall, for cross-venting, and in order to help adjust amounts of smoke and heat, so that it doesn't get too hot during Summer smoking. ('Smoking,' not 'baking') ;^>)

    It's a three-and-a-half season smoker, and will double as a moose cooler for hanging loaded game bags when we can't get them cut up right away, using three different panels in the 20" sq. panel in the center of the back wall of the bldg, down low.

    A $150.00 cast iron, wood-burning box stove mounted on plate steel with casters allows the stove to be moved out of the way for working. A 'Y' stack with stainless steel spark arresters inside and out, on the inside stove, allows the stove to be adjusted for how much smoke and draft exists, and where the excess smoke goes (i.e. outside, by restricting the inside short stack's damper and opening the outside damper some, if too much). A fire-brick lined pit behind the smoker, with an awning roof over it, and blocks around it, allows a wood stove to be used outside for a 'cold smoke,' for doing traditional Native-style King strips.

    The inside top of the inside stove sits about 18" off the floor.

    Roughly 30 oven racks (mostly stainless steel) have been salvaged from derelict or abandoned ovens at transfer sites. The racks are 4-5 shelves high on the tall side of the building, going about half way around the back wall, then 3 shelves high around the remainder of the back wall, and on the low side, with shelves starting about 23" off the concrete slab all around.

    To the rear, across the center aisle, 2" dowells, roughly 3' wide, running side to side, hang in half-moon shaped cut-outs in the tops of two of the 2" x 4" rack hangers, allowing for two layers (one high and one low) to hold up to 6-8 dowells at each level, loaded with traditional King strips..

    I figure that it will do 60 to 80 average sized reds/sockeye on the oven racks if maxed out..

    When used as a meat cooler, the stove and wooden braces that hold the oven racks (hung inside 2"x4" joist hangers, but only pinned and not nailed) can be removed, the insulated panels and vents all put in place to close/cover the bug-screened vent openings, and the panel(s) that allow for the stove pipe to pass through are removed and a third panel is put in place that has a duct fitting to accomodate a portable air conditioner unit (portable swamp cooler) to keep the meat cold, assisted by ground temperature through the slab, and insulated walls to keep out-side air temps a bay..

    With the stove and rack holders/frame-work removed, two portable 4"x4" post and beam contraptions (similar to portable closet coat racks on steroids) span from the left to the right, at a heighth of just over 6', allowing game bags to be hung from eye-bolts on the beam. Two of these 'racks', side-by-side, provide more than enough room to hang a whole moose worth of game bags with enough room between them for the meat to breathe some.

    And I bet you wanted to know all that, too.. ;^>)

    Yes, nearly everything I build is 'over-built', per carpenter friends of mine. ;^>)

    ruffle

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruffle View Post
    Home-made.

    Walk-in, with a single-slope roof, 5' deep, 7' 5" wide, 10' tall on the high side, and roughly 6' 6" tall on the low side. ...
    Hey Ruff-

    Could you post a photo or two of that contraption?

    -Mike
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    Hi Michael,

    As stated, it's unfinished. All the materials are here, including the box stove.

    The building itself is up, and the vents are mostly cut out (6" x 6" sq., as well as approx. 10" x 16"- 3 of each on each location, or a total of 6 vents top, and 6 vents low) in the cross-draft places.

    'Some' insulation went in behind the nailer in the corners this last Fall, and needs to be finished, and the concrete floor (a remarkable 18 bags worth of mix) went in last Fall as well.

    If you can wait until the finishing touches are on, you'll laugh less, though it's already a fairly impressive structure.

    For now, just envision a really tall outhouse, with a (roughly) 6.5:12 pitch, roofed in Denali green metal and eave trim, with about 35 sq. ft. (+/-) of floor space. , with the approx. 3' door on the gable side. and venting for either a smoke stack or AC ducting opposite that on the other (back) gable wall. Wider than it is deep.

    If you -really- want to see it in its current condition, I'll ask my wife (the owner of the digital camera, and the one who knows how to do that stuff) to post some pics. But any resulting laughter heard over the web will result in an immediate removal of the pics.. ;^>)

    My wife wants to put vinyl siding on it to match the house, using the extra we've got. I've explained that smoke might tarnish that a bit. But it'd be interesting.. ;^>)

    ruffle
    Last edited by ruffle; 05-02-2007 at 19:14.

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up pics

    I second the request for pictures. That sounds like a nice smokehouse.

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    >>>I second the request for pictures. That sounds like a nice smokehouse<<<

    Finished, or in its current, framed-in state??

    I told a friend last fall that I had a GOOD two days work left on it. Then relocated some of the older Chitina reds that'd been blocking my freezer to a friend's in order to make room for moose, and haven't done much more on it since then.

    It's become a teasing issue for him when we talk, and he asks if I've "still got two more days to go??..." a half-year later...

    But yes, it still has a -good- two more days of labor to go.

    If you're willing to wait 'til early this Summer, you can have pics of it completed. If you want them now, you can likely view those too. ;^>) Though I highly suspect that the prior will be more impressive than the latter.

    ruffle

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    finished product is fine. sounds like an awesome smokehouse!!!

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    I have the model 41000 from www.sausagemaker.com as mentioned in the 'Dollies as Table Fare' thread - great unit.

  11. #11
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    >>>finished product is fine. sounds like an awesome smokehouse!!!<<<

    The somewhat self-inflicted humiliation of responding to inquiries about this project caused me to get out the necessary tools and materials to make some more progress.

    As I stated earlier, all of the materials are here, (except for the second stove to go out behind the smoker for 'cold smoking,' which won't be needed until it's time to smoke some traditional King strips..).

    So, thanks for the motivation to get back on this thing...

    It's really a fairly simple approach to a smoke house; just more substantial in area, height, and strength, insulated, and able to double as a cooler by virtue of portable AC..

    The port in the center of the back wall (relatively low) that accepts 3 different 'panels' is merely a framed opening. Two of the 'panels' are/will be relatively square, fairly heavy sheet metal with a wood lip/edge, and in the center, the angle of the penetration for 6" metal bestos is different for the two stove pipe outlets/jacks (inside stove, vs. outside stove).

    The panel for the AC will simply be a properly fitted duct for a portable AC unit's exhaust hose, mounted to CDX plywood or some old scrap T-111 the same size as the other sheet metal panels;just slightly larger than the framed opening by about 1-1/2" to 2" in width and heighth.

    All three panels will have the foam strip that's sticky on one side as a seal where it over-laps the sheathing around the framed opening.

    Using (8) 3/16" x 4-1/2" to 5" long machine bolts, washers, and wing nuts will allow the removal of one panel to replace it with another.

    The 'hangers' for the game bags will be 4"x4" post and beam, with two up-rights on each end, roughly 2-1/2 to 3 feet apart from each other, mounted to a 4' 6"x 2" x 4" bottom plate laying flat on the floor, perpendicular to the 4"x4" beams that run to the 'posts' at the other end, roughly 6' 6"+ away. The beams and posts will be gussetted with plywood scrap that is removable with machine bolts, washers and wing nuts, with eye-bolts anchored through the 4" x 4" beams, and placed roughly every 18", starting 12" in from either end.

    In this particular case, a picture, (or series of them), may be worth at least 2,000 words. ;^>)

    I've got some things to take care of over the next couple of days, then I'll take the materials and tools that I re-gathered yesterday, and attack this thing again..

    Hopefully within the next two weeks or so (not withstanding required garden work and other mandatory stuff) I'll get some pics going. (My wife has agreed to help with sizing and uploading for that).

    ruffle

  12. #12
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    Default Upscale and stainless steel...

    My smoker is two door stainless steel industrial bread storage container.
    It is 6' tall by 2.5' X 2.5'. It has two pyrex glass doors, 12 prefabricated holders for racks, a sliding top flue, and caster rollers.

    It was discarded by a grocery store simply because one of the magnetic catches had fallen off one of the doors. All I had to do was construct custom wood and wire shelving to slide neatly in.

    It is powered by an electric hotplate on which I place a stainless saucepan with a lid that has been drilled with quarter inch holes.

    I could not believe my luck in finding it and I have yet to use it. As soon as I move out of this miserable humid and sufferingly hot state of Florida, it goes with me.

    Meantime, I use a conventional propane grill. The top rack holds 4 fillets and I simply run a single gas jet on low with a foil puch of alder set directly on the deflector plate. I replace the packet with a new one half way during my 3 hour smoking process and get excellent results.

    http://www.alaskanauthor.com

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    >>>I use a conventional propane grill. The top rack holds 4 fillets and I simply run a single gas jet on low with a foil puch of alder set directly on the deflector plate. I replace the packet with a new one half way during my 3 hour smoking process and get excellent results.<<<

    I try to use debarked fresh/green willlow or alder not larger than 2-3 inches in diam. for smoking standard, 'hot smoked,' (sweet brine) fillets, though I haven't used the -new- smoker yet, as it's still under construction.

    The traditional Native king strips use one of two brine recipes that a couple of older folks involved in the Native community were kind enough to give to me; they're just salt (each recipe uses a different type), and one uses measured amounts, while the other uses the 'floating potato method' for achieving proper salinity. it's the process that's equally important with those type strips.

    With the traditional king strips, a cold smoke of weathered, dry cottonwood pieces is a.o.k.!! ;^>)

    And I can eat traditional king strips 'til I'm physically immobilized!!! ;^>) And have done so.. ;^>)

    ruffle

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    Default alder

    There sure ain't any of it in Florida! I have to pay to have it shiped as chips from the northwest.

    If anyone is faced with this same dilemma, you'll find good prices and care at
    http://www.barbecuewood.com

    http://www.alaskanauthor.com

  15. #15
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    Question

    does anyone use an old upright freezer? are there any issues with the "plastic" interior other than dont get it hot enough to melt?

  16. #16
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default home made c-band dish smoker

    FYI, smaller plastic covered enclosures like upright freezers will impart a bad plastic odor and taste if you get them too hot.

    Below are a couple pics of our all-in-one summer cooking and sitting area, fireplace, and smoker. Just an old c-band satellite dish turned upside down. Works great as a cold smoker too but if there is any breeze we have to hang a tarp along one side. Smoked bear and fish in this thing and it is slick. Now have screen around the whole thing and spend a lot of time in the gazebo just getting away from the skeets. You an pick up c-band dishes for free nowadays; some people will even pay you to remove them from their property.





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