Could I please pick your minds

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Post by ssorllih » Fri Feb 22, 2013 19:25

The plenum could be made from cement board with one piece fitted closely around the front of your steel wood burner and the other three sides set into the ground and a fitted top. An insulated pipe could run to the smoke house to carry the heated air and a small blower in line with a cold air return pipe could control the heat flow. One pipe in and one pipe out. The size of the plenum needs only be large enough to allow good air flow and it wouldn't hurt if it were also insulated.
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Post by Butterbean » Fri Feb 22, 2013 19:33

Thanks Crusty. Three of them are still bathing in the smoke and the color is beginning to become more like what I like to see.

I enjoy building stuff and overcoming problems such as this. I think the basic design is pretty good just wish I would have foreseen this radiant heat zapping but the metal was free and sometimes people will spend a dollar to save a dime. :oops:

BTW, in my job I have to do a lot of what if's scenarios and sometimes my posing questions might seem like I'm arguing and I don't mean to come across this way. Its just the way I analyze stuff and smoke things over so please keep this in mind if I sound argumentative.
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Post by ssorllih » Fri Feb 22, 2013 19:42

I haven't heard any negativity in this discussion. Just good honest questions. I need to take another look at the stove you made. I just had a look and I think if you enclose all of the iron you have above ground you will capture enough heat to meet your needs. It wouldn't hurt to allow the blower to run all of the time you are heating if you can control the heat with the fire. Maybe the air flow will affect the rate of drying on the product.
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Post by Butterbean » Fri Feb 22, 2013 20:14

I was just giving some forewarning cause I sometimes turn things over in my head a lot of times befoe I can get my head around a subject. It serves a good purpose sometimes but sometimes I know it can come off as argumentative.

I don't know if I could control the heat with the plenum the same as I do the other setups. Basically with the other I am controlling the flow of the heat and gases in the exhaust. With Wilbur I have four dampers and I can route the heat and smoke to two seperate chambers. The first chamber cruises at 225-250 and the upright which is about six feet way will be half that temp at the same fire size. With the turn of three dampers I can have them all at 250 - 300F and they will stary there for however long with no budging. Or I can turn all four of them and the upright will do a cold smoke.

I still can't get over how this upright is six feet away and it can carry such a high heat when this new build is only about a foot further and I can't make it go any higher. My only guess is that this tubing is much thicker than what I used on the other. This is 5/16 thickness and the other is only about 3/16's.

Bacon is gaining some color. Don't know if its soley the time or the extra heat I put to it but its looking better. At meat level the temp is 125F.

Image

Can't help but wonder if I quit opening the door if it wouldn't finish faster. :lol:
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Post by ssorllih » Fri Feb 22, 2013 21:36

You need a speak-easy door in the wall so you can peek in. Study the difference in the smoke pipe run in this new set up compared to the wilbur. Also look at the volumes to the two spaces. The heating with the plenum on the new house would be the same sort of system as is used for home heating with a furnace and a forced air system. The rate of heat loss in the new building will be high for several reasons. No inside ceiling and no sidewall insulation. Look at where the smoke escapes from the new smokehouse and realize that this is where heat will escape.
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Post by Butterbean » Fri Feb 22, 2013 21:59

The new house is double insulated and pretty much air tight so its not a matter of heat loss in the house but the heat not getting in the house. Its not going to take much extra heat to bump it up to where I want it to go to. I really think simply running a straight pipe directly into the side of the house will give it the needed heat.

Here is the pic of the first bacon from the house.

Image

Had a nice flavor to it. Had a fella drop by and he was my guinea pig. He ended up walking out the door with 3 lbs of it after testing this piece.


Image


Ended up with 15 lbs from this one belly so I have about 45 more pounds to go but this will be smoked heavier.

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Post by ssorllih » Fri Feb 22, 2013 22:20

very nice looking bacon in the slab,in the slice and in the skillet. Big hogs too. With the insulated house and the captured heat you may be able to just enclose what you have . A small computer fan is good for 24 cubic feet per minute and if your smokehouse is 8x8x8 gives 512 cubic feet of volume so you could get 3 complete air changes per hour with only that.
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Post by Butterbean » Fri Feb 22, 2013 22:37

That's a good idea for sure. I had wondered about mounting a small fan at the opening in the floor to pull the smoke and heat in faster. This should increase the draw which I think would give the heat less time to cool. I don't know how well this would work but I really don't think I need to add too much extra heat to bring it up to the target temp. I might give this a try first before I go modifying anything.
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Post by Butterbean » Sat Feb 23, 2013 01:52

Finished sides.

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Post by ssorllih » Sat Feb 23, 2013 03:06

Notice how the slabs stretched. they have a waist part way down their length.
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Post by NorthFork » Sat Feb 23, 2013 13:00

Butterbean Wrote:
That's a good idea for sure. I had wondered about mounting a small fan at the opening in the floor to pull the smoke and heat in faster. This should increase the draw which I think would give the heat less time to cool. I don't know how well this would work but I really don't think I need to add too much extra heat to bring it up to the target temp. I might give this a try first before I go modifying anything.


I'm sure that will increase your smoker temp, just remember you will be creating an "induced draft" effect which is going to considerably increase your burn rate in the burner itself. You will need to keep an eye on your fire until you get that figured out. It will decrease your heat loss in the duct from the burner to the smoke house as you will decrease the pressure to the duct wall (negative pressure) and also increase the flow rate through the duct-both of these having the effect you want. The only down side will be the increased burn rate and actual temperature of your fire. You might also want to watch for an increase in particulate (ash) transferred from the firebox to the smoke house. If the fan is discharging vertical it could move some fine ash into the smoke house and distribute it upward and onto your product, I'm guessing your smoke pipe from the burner to the smoke house is a 4X4 box tube. If this is correct you will have around a 195 fpm velocity in the pipe (allowing for a 10% drop from pressure loss), using Ross's figure of 24 cfm on the fan. This velocity will easily carry fly ash and some larger material. If you have product in the smoker when you first try this you may want to devise some sort of filter (cheese cloth or other) to cover the fan discharge until you see what develops. The product in the burner will easily entrain in the flow through the pipe while it is hot.

I'm not trying to over think your project, just offer some thoughts based on experience.

Let us know how it works out-
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Post by Butterbean » Sat Feb 23, 2013 17:02

That makes sense. There is a lot of stuff to consider and a lot of stuff going on. Should have paid more attention in school I reckon.

After sleeping on it I've come to the conclusion that maybe this is a blessing. I say this because I was thinking about my production sequence and one of the steps I have to do his hang the sausages after stuffing so they can dry and form the pellicle before smoking. By using a gas burner I could simply dry the sausage in the smokehouse without having to hang them as a seperate step. When all the sausages are dry, I could then build the smoke fire.

Since it doesn't take much flame to bring the smoker to heat, the time savings in not hanging the sausages outside the house to dry might outweigh the cost of the gas. Also, I could stick a thermostat in this gas system as well.

Does this sound reasonable?
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Post by ssorllih » Sat Feb 23, 2013 17:33

The cost of the burner controls will greatly exceed the cost of the gas. If you could adapt a propane gas water heater control it would be ideal.
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Post by NorthFork » Sat Feb 23, 2013 17:46

Everything sounds good right up to the thermostat on the gas appliance. You will have to either find an automatic (electronic ignition) burner or install a modulating gas valve on the appliance if you want temp control on the gas burner. This could get real touchy and is not the place to make a mistake. There would need to be proper safety devices on the appliance and including a shutdown on flame failure and also a fail safe on start up-if these are not there you could end up with a big hole where your smoker used to be and it gets worse from that scenario--not to mention some pretty high costs to do this safely. The gas burner alone is OK, it is the auto ignition and or modulating valve that complicates the deal. A manual burner would do the job, you would just have to get used to setting it for the temp you want. If you do pipe gas into the chamber make sure you use a metal (advise Stainless Steel) connector with high temp connections from outside to the burner. There have been more than one smoker turn to ash when a low temp hose failed under normal smoker temps.

If you want a thermostatically controlled smoker without breaking the bank I think Ross's suggestion for building an enclosure around your wood burner and piping from that cavity (heat exchanger effect) into the smoke house with a fan and damper controlled by-pass is your most economical and practical (not to mention safest) route. If you did this you would not affect your fire (induced draft) and you would still have independent control of your heat and smoke density. With that fire box contained you might see a very slight change in your fire behavior but not bad and the cavity around it would provide all the heat you need to raise your smoker temp with a pretty fair control of the temp.
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Post by Butterbean » Sat Feb 23, 2013 19:05

Ya'll are giving me a lot of valuable food for thought and I genuinely appreciate it.

The more I think about it the more I like the idea of the propane from the standpoint of eliminating the extra step in drying the sausages before they go in the house.

I don't like things to be complicated so I think for the time being I'll just use the fish cooker burner till I get a handle on how easily it is to maintain a constant heat. From what little I've messed with it so far I think its going to be easy to control and will hold pretty steady with minimal effort. If this proves to be the case I'll probably just forego the electronic stuff and got with a simple burner. I have a friend who builds grills and he has a pretty simple design that I could adapt to this easy enough I think.

Today I'm working on a bunch of smoked sausages I may deliver to the Boys Ranch. Been wanting to do something for them for a while and I need to test the smoker and a few new recipes so I can kill two birds with one stone.
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