If one can save a reasonable amount then converting a griller kept there on the lawn to a pellet smoker is worth it. Well, juicy smoked chicken, smoked veggie salad, and many more smokey items are present worldwide and are extensively consumed and loved by people.
This article will tell you what all things have to be considered before you start with the construction of your DIY pellet smoker. Here, you will be informed about every single pre-requisite for constructing a DIY pellet smoker and how this pellet smoker will be cost-effective for you when compared to a branded pellet smoker which one purchases from a store.
You will get to know how this self-made pellet smoker is different from the one which one purchases from the market. Once you are done with the construction of this pellet smoker and you start cooking smokey food in it, you will get a feeling of achievement. It will be something that will stay close to your heart and you will tend to use it more frequently.
One can also convert a drum into a vertical pellet smoker. One has to check that the drum is not very old. There is a possibility that the drum might release poisonous fumes. So, you should keep a check on the same. Once done with the checking the next step is to coat the inner area of the drum with temperature resistant layer. This layer will work as a protection film for the drum to let it last long.
Now after completing all the inspections related to the drum it comes to iron sticks which are going to be used to smoke or grill the food items. One has to check that these sticks or rods are food safe. It should be considered a prime task else one might get a stomach infection or even worse.
How To Convert A Grill Into A Pellet Grill?
- To give it a good start one can take the initial barbeque grill available at home and start working on it to convert it into a pellet smoker. There are pellet smoker conversion kits in the market that can help an individual convert barbecue grills to pellet smokers. There are genuine manufacturers present in the market who design such kits, manufacture them, and market them. These kits are effective and can help one convert a simple grill into a pellet smoker without putting in much effort.
- There is no more need to collect wood for putting them into the homemade pellet smoker. These kits which are available in the market can let you control the temperature of the pellet smoker. One need not stand consistently near the smoker box to control the temperature of the grill. The kit gets attached to the side of the grill and controls all the primary functions. It has a PID controller fixed in it which controls the temperature and other features of the smoker using a few specific sensors.
- There is a hopper present in the conversion kit, after the conversion kit is installed one can put the wood into the hopper and the hopper will provide the wood to the auger. Now, the auger has to let the wood move forward which is controlled by PID according to the temperature requirements. The auger feeds the pellet further with the woods and PID controls its rate.
How To Install A Pellet Smoker Conversion Kit?
There are several brands present in the market that manufacture such kits and every brand design its kits in a different manner. Hence, there is no specific way in which these conversion kits can be installed. Every brand’s kit will be installed in a way different than others. Although every conversion kit after getting mounted on the pellet smoker takes about 12 inches of extra space outwards which helps us in controlling the newly modified pellet smoker.
Requirements Other Than Conversion Kit
Not all under-listed things are necessary it depends based on what you prefer over others-
- A Chamber- Well a chamber or a drum is the first very thing that is required to start the process. One also needs to make sure that the metal is food safe. The tank or drum should not have been used earlier for any other purpose which involves harmful gases. If it has been used earlier for any such purpose then it should not be used to be converted into a pellet smoker as it can embed poisonous gases in the food. This can result in food being toxic and not consumable anymore.Now after ensuring that the metal is food safe you must ensure that the thickness of the drum or tank is enough to withhold such high temperature and does not break or melt. It should be able to store heat within itself. Only if the wall is thick enough, one can make sure that heat stays inside the metal chamber. Although more energy will be needed to get up to the required cooking temperature of the food and more pellets will be needed for the same.
- Grill Rack- A grill rack that might be already present in your garage or one you can get easily for utilizing it. This grill rack should be free from any kind of poisonous fumes. You must know for what sort of work this grilled rack has been utilized so that you can decide whether this grilled rack must be used to cook food or not. It should be cleaned well and should be made up of high-grade metal as it will have to bear the heat.
- Heat Diffuser- Pellet burning in the firepot generates a very direct source of heat. You will need some sort of heavy gauge metal sheet to effectively diffuse the heat throughout the grilling area. You will typically find a heat baffle and oil tray in all Z Grills which not only serve the important purpose of diffusing heat but also makes clean-up a breeze.
- Wireless Thermometer: When you are making a DIY pellet smoker and you want to control the internal temperature of the custom pellet smoker. Knowing that one needs to attach a wireless thermometer to the metal chamber and according to the output of the wireless thermometer one can decide how many more pellets are required to reach the required temperature for cooking the food.
- Stepper Motor- Well we want to make the process of providing the pellets automatic and the motors which will help the wood drive to the desired location are the stepper motors. These motors will drive the pellets to the fireplace of the pellet smoker. These are generally rated by the RPM (Revolutions per minute). You will need to customize these motors based on the diameter of the auger and the size of the chamber you have taken.
- Fan- We are constructing a DIY Pellet Smoker and we will have to provide the fire in the chamber with the complete amount of oxygen and oxygen intake will be done with the help of this fan. This intake fan is essential for a DIY pellet smoker. One can purchase a fan that can be remotely controlled for this purpose. This fan should be working based on the amount of voltage that is passing through it and should rotate in the required manner.
- Ignition Rod- Well, if you are thinking about the prime component that is used to ignite the pellets, it is the ignition rod and this rod is present in almost every pellet smoker ever created. We will have to find a balance between the fire and the airflow provided to the fire and accordingly place the ignition rod in the firepot. We do not want that the fire just blows down in the middle of the grilling. One can also use a firelighter gel or a flaming torch to keep the fire going. Depending upon the design of your chamber and the firepot you need to place this ignition rod in a justified place.
Pellet Smoker Hopper Assembly
Some brands manufacture these pellet grill conversion kits. This conversion kit is a pellet smoker without a metallic chamber. It generally comes with the auger, fan, ignition rod, and controller pre-installed.
When you are thinking of using these conversion kits for your DIY pellet smoker, you must not accept performance as good as a completely new pellet smoker.
The reasons are as follows:
- The Controller On These Are Pre-calibrated
- The controller that is the PID will be pre-calibrated which means that you cannot customize the features according to your need. The brand has already done that.
- The PID gives feedback to the CLU that is, the Control Logic Unit to see if there is any error in the functioning. The temperature difference between the set temperature and sensor temperature is also informed by this PID.
- These controllers are tuned according to the design and functioning of the pellet smoker.
- One cannot update or customize this controller on his own as it is brand manufactured and one needs guidance from a professional to change the features according to his or her need.
- The Auger Has A Fixed RPM
Similar to the controller, the augers are also designed as per the pellet smoker but people want the RPM to be customizable while the auger put in by brands is already customized by them, and hence the auger has a fixed RPM (rotations per minute) which cannot be changed without professional help.