What the heck. Glad to hear you have it all figured out. Nice work.I’ve read this post countless times and will build this smoker for sure. Which by the way you did an awesome job with pictures and step by step plans!! We just got done processing and smoking our deer from this year and used a couple small metal box smokers, had a very hard time keeping temp to stay around 180-200 degrees. It was about 12 degrees, the summer sausage in the middle of the smoker was done but not the outside ones. Also the summer sausage was way to close to the heat and bottoms were done way before the tops, we read that someone turns them over when bottom got to temp. What I’m trying to get at is you said you were able to keep your temp steady at 180 degrees with no problems, is it usually pretty cold when you smoke? I’m sure it is being in North Dakota, but just wondering? You don’t have a problem with heat being evenly distributed in the cold ambient temps? We used propane by the way.
Thanks a lot!!
StockyI smoke down to temps hovering around 0, and as long as the wind isn’t blowing, I have no problems keeping the temp in the smoker up at all. I keep the top louver completely shut, pretty much all the time, and that helps a lot to keep the smoker temp stable so summer sausage gets done evenly. I found that if I have the top louver open, the heat channels up and I had the same problem as you, the summer sausage in the middle would get done and the outside ones were a lower temp. I only made that mistake once. I don’t flip summer sausage over, and I find that when the top of the sticks has a temp of 155, the bottoms will be 165. If I were to cut the two ends and give you a slice from each, you would not be able to tell me which is which, the 10 degrees hotter on the bottom is just fine.
Windy days are no problem either if it is say about 20 degrees or better. The wicked winds we get can take away a lot of heat, so lower than 20 degrees with wind can make things a little tougher. I just choose not to smoke on those days. In ND, we have a saying, if you don’t like the weather, wait a couple hours, it’ll change. Very true, so I don’t have to smoke stuff when it is realy nasty out.
Hope that helps..
Joined: 6/16/2011A question for RichP & possumgritz or anyone for that matter…
Though I should ask folks who’ve build smokers, before I venture into this project…
I’ve been researching the idea of building a small electric vertical wood body smoker, say 3′ – 4′ tall x 2′ sq… I was thinking the plywood exterior w/ a cement board interior lining & a 1″ dead air space… But I’d like to heat it w/ a 1,500 watt element… I’m looking at 2 elements, 1 w/ temp control & 1 w/ out… Would this type setup work in the cold weather down to say 10 – 15 deg.??? Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated…
I’d like to stay away from gas…
Wildman62I think you will get enough heat, but the only way you will know is if you try it. I’d definitely go with the element with the temp control, if you have a choice.
Let us know how it works out. You can always add a second element, you know.
Joined: 11/15/2011just wondered how you guys lite the chips in the skillet and keep them lit do you use soaked wood chip and some dry just not sure how to get the most smoke out of chips in a skillet i haven’t tried it yet so not sure :::thanks
just wondered how you guys lite the chips in the skillet and keep them lit do you use soaked wood chip and some dry just not sure how to get the most smoke out of chips in a skillet i haven’t tried it yet so not sure :::thanks
The chips will light from the heat of the burner below the skillet.
Actually, I use sawdust, not chips, but trust me, the burner will start the wood smoking for ya.Well Rich, I finally built your smoker and love it. I’ve smoked chicken breast and was great, today I’m smoking summer sausage. What temperature do you keep the smoker? I smoked it at 140 for two hours, 160 for two hours then 180 till internal temp was 160. It took me about nine hours, you said you can get yours done in 4 1/2. Just wondering, thanks again for the plans and pictures, very well done!!
Well Rich, I finally built your smoker and love it. I’ve smoked chicken breast and was great, today I’m smoking summer sausage. What temperature do you keep the smoker? I smoked it at 140 for two hours, 160 for two hours then 180 till internal temp was 160. It took me about nine hours, you said you can get yours done in 4 1/2. Just wondering, thanks again for the plans and pictures, very well done!!
I start out at higher temps, within 1/2 hour or so I am already at 160 or better, and the temp climbs slowly but steadily as the meat inside the smoker warms up too. With summer sausage, I’ll let the heat continue to build, and I will adjust it, and maintain 200 degrees or very close to that to do my summer sausage.
I don’t see any issues with how you did yours if you have the time to do it that way, but you can sure run the temperature higher. How did your summer sausage turn out?It turned out awesome, I absolutely love my smoker. I had friend and couple of my brother in-laws over to show them and they were so impressed I think they are going to build one!
Joined: 11/3/2012RichP awesome plans! I have a few questions. Did you use compression fittings for the 1/4″ copper tubing? Also, do you thing 3/8″ copper tubing would work? I have everything built just trying to finish the burner connections.Yes I used compression fittings. And 3/8 will work just fine. The burner orifice and regulator will control the flame, not the size of tubing, so no problems!
Joined: 11/3/2012Thanks RichP. Got everything finished. Waiting on the needle valve and should be ready to fire it up and give it a try. I’ll post pics when completed. Super excited. Thanks again for the plans and info.Awesome, can’t wait to see it!
Joined: 2/17/2013In the UK we don’t normally deep fry our turkeys (which is stupid I know, but hey) so I’m a little confused as to what you are trying to do with the propane ring / regulator, by cutting it down….presumably just using a smaller one would do? A smaller propane burner I mean…….!
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