Electric smoker help. Anybody?

  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Canning Sous Vide PK100

    I bought my Char-broil electric h2o smoker back around 2006 and tried it a few times with chicken, roast, and briskets but i wasn’t happy with dry and overcooked results so it was put in storage. Last year I decided to try again with snack sticks, and with the help of this website I figured my past problem was temp control and relying on the helpful (sarcasm) temp gauge on the dome. I purchased a PID controller which allows me to maintain accurate smoker temps. I hang the sticks vertical and they are approximately 12 inches long, I follow the recommended smoke schedule with water pan and sponges, and finishing with ice bath, after drying the stick the bottom half is dry, wrinkled and hard and top half is perfect. I use temperature probes in my sticks top and bottom and when I start the smoker the temp probes are within 3 degrees of each other. During the 155 deg for 2 hours the temps start separating to about 10 deg, and when I go up to 175 it can reach up to 15-20 deg difference before I pull the sticks at lowest internal temp reading of around 150. The smoker has no vents but it’s not very airtight so I was thinking that putting a blower to help move the air would help. There are 3 sizes of blowers on the Auber instruments website that I think will work for my smoker although they are for charcoal I’m thinking it won’t matter, they are 6.5CFM, 10 CFM, 20 CFM. Can anyone recommend which size would be best and what location to install? I’ve made 3- 12 lbs. batches (80% venison/20% pork fat, pork butt, and beef chuck roast) of sticks with Walton’s seasoning and flavor was great, even the dry half is somewhat edible. sorry no pics. Any help is appreciated.
    P.s. there was very little fat rendering, sticks were a little oily and small amount of fat in water pan.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Joe1 That’s a tough one, I would say that getting some air moving in there is going to help but as I have never used one of those I can’t say for sure. What are the dimensions of your smoker? Then we can figure out how many cubic feet per minute of air that you need to move. I’m going to guess that the 6.5 isn’t going to do it for you and the 20 will be needed. Someone check me here but cubic measurements are height x width x depth so 6.5 would be a container that is 2" x 2" x 1.5" (slightly more) and I am guessing yours is bigger than that?

    Also, I think we need a confirmed sarcasm font for meatgistics? What about strikethrough? Might be tough though, as there are just soooo many times I want to use strikethrough here Italics might be better though, even though strikethrough is so easy to read?

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Sous Vide Canning Power User

    My vote: strike through

  • Regular Contributors

    I don’t think that model will ever be right. With the burner at the bottom your always going to have that overcook half problem. Time for a new cooker…

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Sous Vide Canning Power User

    I don’t know if there are grates or just hanging sticks. Use the grates and move around. Or hang loops and rotate top section to bottom. Pretty puttsy. Not sure a fan will really help, I would think you will need to pull the air through, might just make it run hotter.

  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Canning Sous Vide PK100

    Jonathon cooking area dimensions are approximately 30x17x17inch

  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Canning Sous Vide PK100

    tarp yes trying to save up. And been thinking a pit boss copperhead or MSB 40. Don’t know if I can get enough spare change for a PK100.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Joe1 then I would say if you wanted to try it the 6.5 cubic feet per minute fan might be enough. Another option is to not hang them past the top half? That wouldn’t let you do much at once though.

  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Canning Sous Vide PK100

    YooperDog @ Jonathon it has grates that work with 19mm casings, the sausage fits between the grates. I remove the lower grate so it’s about 1 foot from the top grate to water pan. It holds 12 lbs snugly but not touching. I’m wondering if it is too big a load not allowing air flow between sticks?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Joe1 So, you hang them from the top and they go through the lower grates? Yeah, I can see if there was a solid wall of either the grate and meat blocking the spaces in between then that might be causing an issue. We are going to talk with Dylan on the podcast soon about how important airflow in a smoker is.

  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Canning Sous Vide PK100

    Jonathon I remove the lower grate and loop through top grate.

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg Dry Cured Sausage Sous Vide Canning Power User

    Joe1 might want to try what Jonathan suggested. Shortening your loops. Will reduce amount processed, but you may end up with a better product.

  • Team Orange PK100 Sous Vide Power User

    Adding some airflow (convection) will help at least a little, but (as discussed) you’re real problem is with radiant heat from the burner. It is hard to know what a fan really will do for you until you try. You also can try a larger water pan to act as something of a barrier between the burner and the sausage. I’ve only seen very old versions of that same cooker, so I’m only vaguely aware of what you might be able to get away with in there.

    In addition to keeping things further from the burner, you also can try insulating the outside. That way, the burner won’t run as much. Of course, you may not get the smoke you want if you do that, but you are going to have to deal with some sort of tradeoff with that cooker.

  • Yearling

    I cannot help you with that smoker but i agree with get a new one. I have had a Cook Shack electric for 20 years and it is the bomb. it doesn’t have a fan but seals tight and is super insulated so you can smoke in the Kansas winter and still come out great.

  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Sous Vide Team Blue Power User

    What are the set points on your pid? I have a pid in my Masterbuilt and put the temp probe within a few inches of the element. I have it set for a swing of 3 degrees so yes at the beginning it will cycle on and off rapidly. But as the chamber heats up the cycles slow down, and the temp settles. My MB has no air vents and only one small fluid drip, and one upper access holes. I checked temps using four wired thermometers spaced top to bottom and after warm up it was pretty stable. Hope this helps a little.

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