New from South Central Illinois

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Patersmith
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New from South Central Illinois

Post by Patersmith » February 18th, 2018, 11:58 am

First off, hello everyone and thanks for the add. I live in South Central Illinois almost 1 1/2 hours straight West of St. Louis Mo. and have been smoking meat since my college days with a then awesome Brinkmann Smoke'N Grill. Could have been all the alcohol that was consumed while grilling, but it made some of the best New York strips I've ever had. Moved up to the Pitmaster Deluxe Smoke 'N Pit (Not the flimsy one from Walmart) and have had it for several decades now. Growing up I got to be a part of my grandparents tradition of gathering the family and processing meat. Within the last 5 years, my brothers and me have started to really focus on making sausages.

I found this site while looking for ideas on building a large smoker for curing sausages. I'm lucky enough to belong a large family that gets together several times every winter and does their own butchering for the year and then divides the meat between the families. We just finished up the last two beefs last weekend and are getting ready to start the process all over again next week with 7 hogs. This is when we mix in meat from this seasons deer hunts and make several 25lb batches of summer sausage, snack sticks, brats, pepperoni, bologna, and hot dogs. This is the worst part because it takes FOREVER to smoke cure all those links in the cheap, flimsy, non insulated "smokers" that you find at the big box stores. Currently we bring our Traegers, Cajun Injectors, and Smoking Brothers grills and make a weekend of babysitting our smokers in the cold. Some do good, but have a small capacity while others have large capacity and do a poor job of getting and keeping temps in the cold. There has to be a better way.....

Sorry, caught myself rambling there.
I was doing research and I am leaning towards building the double pan insulated gravity feed smoker. My wishlist in order of importance is:

1. Smoke at least 50lbs of hanging sausage comfortably at a time in outside winter weather.
2. Be able to control and maintain stable temps from 140 - 250. (This may be a problem with the lower range?)
3. Preferably I would like to have consistent temps throughout the cabinet so meat doesn't have to be rotated in & out of hot spots.
4. If #2 and #3 are possible, I would like to have an automated programmable temp control that steps up temp. ( 1hr @140 then 1hr @ 160...)

Can someone give me some input on this? Would the double pan GF cabinet plans be large enough, go low enough, and be able to be controlled with something like a Stoker, DigiQ, Flame Boss, Guru, or even Raspberry Pi? I have some welding skills, Miller 211, clamps, magnets, grinders, and I need a reason to buy a Hypertherm or metal miter saw (or both). Also know a guy who owns a great scrap yard that is located right next to two large metal fab shops that are not shy about throwing stuff away. Visiting that yard is almost like going to Harbor Freight - Full of junk but its so cheap that I can't leave empty handed.

I'm starting this job in the planning/gathering stage to build this throughout the summer. Figured if I started now, I might have a good chance of completion before next winter. Maybe..

Thanks in advance,
Steve



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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by Big T » February 18th, 2018, 1:47 pm

Welcome aboard!! I'm sure some of the GF guys will come along soon and be able to answer your questions.


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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by ajfoxy » February 18th, 2018, 3:43 pm

Welcome aboard.
Sounds like you need the Double Pan gravity feed. Or maybe several of them by the amount you guys process. :D
Possible hooked up to a BBQ Guru (only one I've tested so the otheres might be fine as well). The one I built maintains stable temps over a long period.
Just be aware the DP is a beast. But it sounds like you have enough family to move the units around if necessary.
Good luck and look forward to pics and commentary of your build.


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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by Dirtytires » February 18th, 2018, 4:46 pm

Sounds like your main concern is volume. A large diameter (30+ inch) pipe in the 5 foot legnth would give you a huge volume (you could fit it with hanging racks AND close spaced shelves for versatility) and also have the option of smoking a whole hog for those summer family gatherings.

A reverse flo is a bit harder to control that low but definitely can be done. And you make a trailer build so the whole family can borrow it easily.

Just my humble 2 cents.



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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by Patersmith » February 18th, 2018, 7:19 pm

Dirtytires, volume is my main concern but the smoker has to do it evenly without having to move the sausages around. I did look at the reverse flow designs and people love them but I figured one end would still be hotter than the other and I would have to move meat around. I would prefer insulation because that seems to be our biggest problem with the ones we have now in the cold and wind. The scrap yard has a really nice selection of large propane tanks and a pile of 300 gal oval fuel oil tanks that I was looking over that would fit that build though.

ajfoxy, If the double pan GF build happens and it works good, I have a feeling a few of my cousins will find a reason to have a git-together during the summer and build a few to divide up among them. If not, everyone has a trailer so I might need to plan on including tie-down points into the build. Is there a specific reason you picked a BBQ Guru over the other controllers? Have you ever tried to run your smoker that low? How is the temperature spread between the lower and upper halves of the cabinet? I was hoping with the insulated cabinet and the low airflow that some users are suggesting this style smoker has that the cabinet will be more like an oven with equal heat.



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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by ajfoxy » February 18th, 2018, 8:33 pm

Patrsmith. Tie downs are a must, in fact I put eyebolts on top so I could lift it via gantry crane onto my truck as well as tie it down.
I chose the BBQ Guru as it seems to garner the most praise when I was looking at something. Might be a whole different selection out there now. So look around and ask. Even without the BBQ Guru and only using the valve the temps could be made stable. I wanted something that told me what the meat was doing and not only rely on the door thermomenter. And most of all being a lazy old bugger I wanted something to "set and forget" and only attend to from time to time.
The lower shelf does seem to get a tad hotter than the others but not by much. Mostly it was around 5 to 10 degrees C. Something we could handle.

Unfortunately I no longer have the unit as I made it for my son in law to use at his restuarant and when he left it stayed. Needless to say I was a tad dissapointed. :(


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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by Pete Mazz » February 19th, 2018, 5:31 am

Welcome


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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by Rodcrafter » February 19th, 2018, 7:43 am

Welcome to the crew!


:welcome:

Now if I was going to do what you're doing I would build 2 Double Pans and put them on a trailer back to back. They hold a lot and it would be easy to move around depending on where the smoking is happening. When I say on a trailer I mean so you can walk up to the trailer and open the door like it is you refrigerator reach in and do whatever. I say that because doing as much as you will be doing you don't want to have to bend over as you put stuff in and take it out. As far as the temps go you can modify the bottom of the CC by adding an shadow plate above the transfer tube directing the heat to the sides where the rack slides are and it will even out even more than it already does. They won't have a problem with those temps. I use the Cyber Q on mine and run 155* making jerky all the time.

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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by The Czar » February 19th, 2018, 9:49 am

Welcome


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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by bswisher » March 8th, 2018, 4:43 pm

Patersmith wrote:First off, hello everyone and thanks for the add. I live in South Central Illinois almost 1 1/2 hours straight West of St. Louis Mo.
Welcome Steve, where exactly are you from in Illinois? I am just south of you between Mt Vernon and Carbondale


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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by Patersmith » March 23rd, 2018, 10:53 am

Sorry for the delay.

Live just North of Mt. Vernon in Salem.



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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by bswisher » March 23rd, 2018, 12:47 pm

well we might as well be neighbors, I live in Sesser


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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by Oak Grove Bacon » April 23rd, 2018, 6:03 am

Welcome Steve! I am also in Salem area. I have built 2 reverse flow smokers from propane tanks. There is an excellent source for steel in town at ESI. I have had them cut to size and also bend pieces to spec for me. Made my builds much easier. I also know a source for propane tanks that is cheaper than the scrap yard south of town.



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Re: New from South Central Illinois

Post by mp4 » April 23rd, 2018, 6:31 pm

I worked in the Salem area last year. One of my favorite places to eat was east of Salem in Iuka at Smoked to the Bone. I loved that place!



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