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Thread: Thermometer holder adapter for smoker hood

  1. #1
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    Thermometer holder adapter for smoker hood

    I have an electrically heated smoker I have used for almost twenty years. I like the electric version because it is easier to maintain a constant temperature (unless there is a strong wind with a wind chill factor) provided there is an accurate thermometer to monitor the smoking temperature.


    Years ago I drilled a small hole in the dome above the smoking grates for a thermometer designed for another brand of smoker. It worked well but had to be removed each time I removed the hood to prevent it from falling out and breaking. I made an adapter with a set screw from 303 stainless steel rod for holding the thermometer. The adapter seats into a 1/2" hole the hood and has an extended boss, short threaded extension and secured with 1/2X13 nut. The thread on the adapter was single point chased on the lathe.

    Shown below is the adapter in place on the smoker hood and photos of the part.

    Thermometer holder adapter for smoker hood-thermometer-holder-adapter-installed-into-smoker-hood.jpg
    Electric smoker with dome temperature thermometer installed

    Thermometer holder adapter for smoker hood-thermometer-holder-adapter-smoker.jpg
    New 303 stainless steel thermometer holder added to top of smoker dome

    Thermometer holder adapter for smoker hood-thermometer-holder-adapter-parts-smoker.jpg
    The 303 stainless steel thermometer holder is threaded 1/2-13 and uses a stainless steel nut and washer from the local hardware store. A 8-23 stainless steel set screw holds the thermometer is place but a knurled knob with an 8-32 threaded rod could be substituted,

    Thermometer holder adapter for smoker hood-parting-off-303-stainless-steel-thermometer-holder-adapter-smoker.jpg
    Photo of completing the machining of the thermometer holder. Note the raised boss area fits into the thin sheet metal dome and prevents the holder from moving in the 1/2" hole in the dome.


    Thank you for looking,

    Paul Jones
    Last edited by Paul Jones; 12-15-2016 at 01:14 PM.

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    Thanks Paul Jones! We've added your Thermometer to our Culinary category,
    as well as to your builder page: Paul Jones's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




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    Unaware of composition or materials inside stem of such a thermometer; can they be shortened? Old high precision machines were fitted to read temperature of spindle housings, supposedly to calculate displacement by expansion. Maybe.
    I'd prefer monitoring temperatures, to determine when it's warmed up. All I've seen, have stems of excessive length. Sure don't want a thermowell sticking out 6''!
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    Toolmaker51,

    Smoking meats is more of an art than a science. I also use an electronic probe in the meats as a secondary measurement but ideally, the air temperature above the meats should be maintained at constant temperature just slightly above 212F (100C) for an extended period of 4 to 12 hours. This smoker uses a liquid (you name it and it will proably work) in a lower pan that slowly purrs away simmering the liquid in a deep dish pan and you don't want to boil the mixture away too quickly. This is why I prefer the electric coil to generate a slow cooking heat to smoke the wood and provide a constant temperature, and other than occasionally adding more wood chunks and liquid, the smoker can be left on its own for hours. The biggest unknown is any wind chill factor on the steel skin of the smoker that will extend the smoking duration. However, using the just above boiling temperature technique means you can extend the smoking period by hours and not ruin the meat.

    This thermometer extends 2" below the hood. I test bottom 1" of the tip once a year in boiling water to see if it is still reading within a couple degrees. So far if keeps on working correctly within a couple of degrees.

    Thanks for your insight,

    Paul
    Last edited by Paul Jones; 12-14-2016 at 09:17 PM.

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    PJs
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    Thanks Paul for the follow up on the Art of it. I'm a relative newbie to it and still learning the Art of it with various combos of woods, liquids, rubs, injections and venting techniques. Really quite fun, tasty and a tremendous value per serving. My wife purchased a Masterbuilt gas 30" for my BD a year ago and have really enjoyed it. It's a good entry level unit with great reviews. I get what you are saying about the electric Vs gas. Had some trouble with mine after about 10 months and couldn't get the heat below about 235ºF and I had a sooting issue. Called them and they sent a new regulator and burner free of charge. Now I can get down to ~170ºF. Bravo Customer service! The thing I like about gas is I already had two tanks and I get about 6 weeks (1-3/wk) of smoking for a $12 refill because of the low pressure and the low temps.

    Your idea with the temp port in the top and sides is something I've been kicking around. Mine has a temp gauge on the door about 3/4 level and it's Ok for a quick visual. Also have a remote rig to plug into the meat which I can set to desired temp and will beep when reached but I have to fish the probe in through one of the vent holes. I do check my liquid/chip levels about every hour or so because of its close location to the chips and burner. What I've been thinking of is creating several K type ports on the side so I can monitor the various racks and get a better temp profile throughout the height. It would also make it easier to insert/remove and clean the probes. I could use my DVM to check the various levels periodically, although I think there are some inexpensive digital panel mount units I saw on Amazon a while back or maybe just a rotory switch??

    The idea of this derived from some issue of smoking veggies and potatoes at some point in the meat smoking process. I have also had some issues with whole chicken not being evenly cooked. I've done them horizontally on a rack and a couple of beer can chickens vertical that came out great and one utter failure for some reason. Also found fish to be a bit temperamental as to where I place them. Just thoughts and apologize for the spew, but really like your advise about the top air temp, makes perfect sense.

    Thanks Much, ~PJ
    ‘‘Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.’’
    Mark Twain

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    PJs,

    Just keep on trying different smoking techniques (but no experimenting if this is for a party - fall back to your tried and true recipes) and you will figure it out. There are some excellent books on the subject. One my favorite books from the mid-90's is "Where There's Smoke, There's Flavor" by Richard Langer because each recipe is accompanied by the smoking technique for the recipe and makes a novice into a good smoke cook.

    We live in Southern California where i can use the barbecue almost every night for cooking the meats (we use the electric double ovens in the kitchen mostly for baking) and on some weekends with more time I use the smoker. The built-in barbecues use natural gas. I also converted a propane portable barbecue into using natural gas and it has a 12' quick connect hose to the natural gas outlet. You can buy the natural gas hoses complete with quick connect fittings at your local home improvement stores. This way I never run out of propane.

    Here is something I highly recommend. I made a modification to the barbecues for adding natural wood smoking. Near the lower right-hand corner of the barbecue grills I removed a 3"x2" section of the metal grill to create a small opening. This allows me to add small chunks of wood directly over the gas burner for adding smoke to the conventional barbecue. Using a 32 oz squeeze handle squirt bottle of water keeps the wood chucks from igniting (an empty Windex squeeze bottle works) . Every few weeks you have to use a shop vac to remove the cooled white ash from the burned-up wood chucks. This way I can get the taste of natural wood cooking while using the natural gas for fuel.

    I hope this helps,

    Paul

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    Thanks Paul, for the tip on the Langer book. In No. Cal we barbecue or smoke almost every night also. I have a small smoking box I used to use in the BBQ and some of the reason we purchased the smoker which adds a whole new range of opportunities and fun.

    I used Weber charcoal kettles for decades and switched to gas (propane) only about ten years ago. For me the gas system are more responsive but more difficult to control air and even temps or Uneven temps through the system. Mine aren't high end but do have a lot of fun with cooking...and there are never enough tools for BBQ/Smoking either.

    ~PJ
    ‘‘Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.’’
    Mark Twain

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    Oh great, added reminders of missing the CA, particularly smoking fish.
    Mayhaps so good cause we fished float tube; Penn Jigmaster or Abu-Garcia, spooled with 6lb, off Huntington, Oceanside, or Redondo. Yellows, rockfish, 'cuda's, The poor maligned Bonito smokes [and fries in cornbread batter] well, never any leftovers. Eyes rolled in dismay told in advance, jaws dropped when told in arrears. Dynamite, best with chili verde, or Cajun powder. He's still a mackerel, remove bloodline along each side, fillet and have at it! And that guy towed you all over the bay reeling him in! Howling good times, howling!
    And scour fruitwood for smoking; we have little bundles of Plum. Don't be jealous, KCMO the haven of barbeque and smoking.


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    Last edited by Toolmaker51; 12-15-2016 at 03:20 PM.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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