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Old 10-17-2010, 11:24 PM   #1
brewerjamie15
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Default Off the wall Cold Smoker Build (pron hvy)

So I was at work the other day and we had some brand new toilets from a display we were to throw out. I, for some reason, looked at the tank and decided I could easily make a cold smoker out of it. I asked if I could have it. It was free. I got it home, told the wife what I was gonna do, she laughed at me.




I really didn't have to do much, just take out the guts. There were enough holes in it for what I needed to do, it was quite clean, made of porcelain so it'd be fine for a smoker, it was not going to heat up much if at all when being used. The guts came out easily, didn't even need tools.



Next, I had to figure out how I was going to get this puppy to operate. I looked around this site and found that I could use my soldering iron which, oddly enough was brand new. I had gotten it at a rummage sale a few weeks prior for a buck. I decided to use an old canister that tea had come in. I set that container inside an unused quart can I got form the paint store for a dollar. I needed to elevate the toilet tank so I would not crush the cans. I measured the can, cut a scrap piece of
2x4, and then called it good.



After getting the cans together, (the Teavana can fits in the quart can) I tested the fit. The tea can stands proud of the paint can and fits perfectly inside the main hole in the tank. I got totally lucky. I could not have gotten a better fit.

I set the soldering iron into the can which would hold my wood chips and ran the wire out another hole. I later realized all I'd have to do is run the cord out the top of the tank. I covered the bottom of the tank with aluminum foil.



I ran a quick temperature test, and checked for major smoke leaks. I found NO LEAKS, and was happy to see that after 30 minutes, the temp went up only 2 degrees. If you look below, you can see the smoke that is lofting from the tank. You can also see the wire from the soldering iron and the foil which covers not only the extra holes, but the wire.



I found that I had a nice smoke stack from the hole left where the flushing handle was. Smoke came out well, but I decided to just barely offset the tank lid so a bit more smoke would come out and flow better.

I've left whole toilets "smokin" before (that joke was long in development) but as you see below, things were working quite well.



Test runs complete, I had to wait a few days for the temperatures outside to break a bit, and for me to have some free time. I also had to pick up some cheese.
With the temperatures in the 60's (F) and a day off, I took advantage of a day outside. I set the smoker outside in the shade, hacked up some apple branches and made chunks, and cut the hunks of Mild Cheddar, Medium Cheddar, and Gouda in half.

I smoked the cheese for one hour. I then unplugged the soldering iron and let the cheese stay in the smoker for another 15 minutes. I need to make a shelf, which I'll do soon. I'm just going to hand the shelf from wire which will hook onto the top edges of the tank. I could probably use silicone and "glue" some stops in place for the shelf to sit on as well.



the color of the cheeses darkened, but since the temps were so low, cheese did not soften at all or even take imprints from the surface it was resting on.
I tasted the cheese and was pretty happy. The taste was a bit more forward than I'd have thought, but that will mellow after a few hours in the fridge. I offered the wife some "toilet cheese", she accepted and said it was quite good. She is no longer allowed to tease my toilet tank smoker.

The cheese after tasting, was wrapped in waxed paper pretty tightly and then put into plastic sandwich bags and placed in the refrigerator. I'll do another tasted test after 24 hours of mellowing. I got jumpy and wanted to share my odd but effective idea today.

For me, this project cost about three dollars. I was lucky to be in the ideal circumstances at the ideal times. I'd imagine that if you look around you will be able to make a cold smoker out of just about anything, even a cardboard box a-la Alton Brown, but this was my shot at it. I think it worked well. If all goes well, I'm going to make lots of smoked cheese and pecans in this thing. Maybe some smoked gifts for the holidays. I dunno. Perhaps even some Salmon?

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Last edited by brewerjamie15; 10-17-2010 at 11:33 PM.. Reason: verbage.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:32 PM   #2
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That's thinking out of the box! Looks like it should work fine but how are you monitoring temps and what are they low to high scale?
I used my Pro Q 20 last year to do some cheese and ham chunks and struggled to keep the temps low enough.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:43 PM   #3
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I probably should have shown the temp monitoring.
I use a Pyrex thermometer with probe. I just run the probe through the hole the handle was in. (the square hole, upper left corner)
High to low temps varied greatly from my test run to this first cook.
Ambient temperature has a major effect on this small cold smoker. Today, the outside temp was (Milwaukee) 64 F at cook time. My smoker temp was actually lower because the smoker was in the shade. Temp for smoker was 62 F for most of the cook and maxed out at 66 F. I'm not sure if it was due to sun moving to the smoker after a while or not.
I'm going to have frequent issues with temps as the seasons change.
Next run, I'll probably post information.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:47 PM   #4
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Very creative!
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewerjamie15 View Post
I probably should have shown the temp monitoring.
I use a Pyrex thermometer with probe. I just run the probe through the hole the handle was in. (the square hole, upper left corner)
High to low temps varied greatly from my test run to this first cook.
Ambient temperature has a major effect on this small cold smoker. Today, the outside temp was (Milwaukee) 64 F at cook time. My smoker temp was actually lower because the smoker was in the shade. Temp for smoker was 62 F for most of the cook and maxed out at 66 F. I'm not sure if it was due to sun moving to the smoker after a while or not.
I'm going to have frequent issues with temps as the seasons change.
Next run, I'll probably post information.
I can see where the ambient temp could be an issue with the porcelain tank. Wrapping the exterior of the tank might be an option to consider. You've come up with another good idea for a cheap cold smoker and certainly piqued my interest. Please keep us posted on further cooks and progress with dialing it in.
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Old 10-18-2010, 12:22 AM   #6
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Did you cut the cheese?

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Old 10-18-2010, 12:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdb25 View Post
Did you cut the cheese?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

SNiff, sniff, damn you beat me to it!
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Old 10-18-2010, 12:29 AM   #8
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That is an original, and seems like a pretty good idea!
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:54 AM   #9
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Nice, is it called a Cammode-o?
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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applause, applause. Great idea.
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:14 AM   #11
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nice pot to smoke in
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:00 PM   #12
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Well it different , but if it does the job what the hey
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:02 PM   #13
brewerjamie15
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Yes, it is different. It also works pretty well. I took some of the cheddar and gouda to work to share. Everyone liked it, I however, think it was a bit too smokey. I am going to lower the smoke time by 15 minutes and maybe switch from apple wood to grape vines.
I'll report back my findings. As unique as my smoker is, if ya ever see someone smoking cheese in a toilet tank, stop and say hello. It's a unique experience.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:48 PM   #14
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Another brethren member thinking way outside the box!
Congrats on your new cold smoker, remember the cheese smokey taste will intensify if wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
I like to age my smoked cheese for at least 5 days for the full effect.
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:08 AM   #15
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Wow, looks like you were able to dump quite a load of cheese in that tank! Sorry, couldn't resist!
That's creativity right there. I'd hit that cheese! Keep us prondated when you put the shelf in. I'd like to see how it turns out.

Bob
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