Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

Get your smoker under control

smoker thermostat

Most of the people who’s opinions I care about are left-leaning liberals who have great respect for the rights and freedoms of others, and tend quite often to extend that respect to our four-legged friends by not killing and eating them. So, it’s no surpise that I don’t often shout it out, but can I just say it now?

I love meat

I love good old-fashioned, succulent, smoke-cooked, barbecued meat, so when I saw a floor model electric “bullet” smoker going for a song, I snatched it up and started tinkering with smoking meats. My first attempts to turn out a fork-tender briskit were rather discouraging. After installing a thermometer in the lid of the smoker, it became apparent that the thing was running way too hot.

The problem with inexpensive electric smokers is that they don’t have any control. The electric element is always on when the unit is plugged in. The temperature is pre-callibrated to produce acceptable results at average ambiant temperatures, but if the weather is on the hot or cold side, the smoker will run correspondingly hot or cold.

smoker thermostat
My solution was to install a bulb and capillary type thermostat. Most oven thermostats will cover the temperature range that you need for smoking. I found a surplus thermostat on ebay for around $10. I used sheetmetal screws to attach 2 metal electrical recepticle boxes to the outside of the smoker body. Inside one, I mounted the thermostat control, and in the other I mounted a grounded electrical outlet. The thermostat probe is mounted mid-level inside the smoker.

smoker thermostat

The heating element gets plugged into the outlet, which is wired into the thermostat switch, so when the smoker gets up to the preset temperature, it shuts off juice to the outlet. This arrangement also provides for a “quick-disconnect” to allow easy transport of the smoker body seperately from the base.

Now I can dial in 130 F and not have it jump up to 300 F when the clouds burn off, turning my dinner into shoe-leather.

Update! Now you can order up a genuine Finkbuilt BBQ Apron to wear while you’re basting your pork shoulder!

18 Responses to “Get your smoker under control”

  1. Ken Barrett Says:

    I will have a slice of smoky brisket, potato salad, and lemonade, please.

    Well, a big hello to pitmaster Ken Barrett, the man who first pointed out to me that there was a difference between grilling and barbeque.


  2. Steelhead ( from Blaine) Says:

    Well I am a right leaning Conservative that hates to see anything killed just for the sake of a sport, but as you state loves ALL four leggers plus a finned item or two as well. We might have to try some fresh Fraser river King salmon on that contraption some day,,,,,, I’ll supply the meat if you’ll do the cookin.
    Putting all my info out there for you to see… does that deminish my privacy any ??????

    Anyone who comes knocking on my door holding a freshly caught King salmon will be ushered right in.

    Privacy? Your email address will not be published.


  3. Brenda Helverson Says:

    As long as we are nice about it, killing and eating our four-legged friends fulfills one of their life purposes (and ours). Now, I think that commercial agriculture has gotten completely out of hand, but nobody would keep a cow as a pet if it didn’t have any value as food. On the other hand, a cat has its uses even though its meat value is prettty low. But if Allah had meant for us not to barbecue pork, he would never have made a pig. So what time do we eat?

  4. Duke Says:

    My favorite explanation is simple and silly: If we’re not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

    (Google seems to indicate that Tom Snyder said that)

    Duke — Yeah, silly, but hard not to smile when you hear it even if you don’t eat meat.

    Bumper sticker in a similar vein:

    I LOVE ANIMALS (they are delicious).


  5. G Says:

    This is GREAT! I just bought the exact same smoker and would love to do the same mod you did. Would you mind giving a little more details on how the 2 boes are wired together? Thanks!

    Its really pretty simple. The Thermostat is basically just a switch, turned on and off by the heat of the smoker. So you wire it like this:

    1) Obtain a new power cord to plug into the wall. Wire that to the terminals on one side of the thermostat.

    2) wire the other side of the thermostat to the outlet that you will mount on the side of your smoker next to the thermostat box.

    3) plug the smoker’s heating element (the original cord that came with the smoker) into the outlet that you added to the side of the smoker.

    The thermostat now gates the flow of power whatever is plugged into the (new) outlet.

    I hope this helps.

  6. John Says:

    What ‘description’ did you use when searching for the parts? Is this a single pole type switch, etc.? Any more info would be appreaciated. Thanks.

  7. ssflanders Says:

    I own the smoke pictured. Be careful when you select these parts, that heating element pulls a TON of current.

    I was using a fairly heavy duty extension cord for mine, and after four hours of grilling, I went to unplug it, and it was so hot I could barely touch it.

  8. Brennan Says:

    I was on the road to doing the same thing you did here and fell out laughing when I saw you had the exact smoker I purchased. I’m having trouble locating a thermostat on ebay that is suitable. Can you give me the brand name of the thermostat you found or any you would recommend for this application. Also, are there any considerations to be take regarding heat build up that is being transmitted form the socket boxes to the electrical wires. I noticed another person mentioned their power cord becoming alarmingly hot. Although they attributed that to current drain it was more likley heat that was transmitted physically from the socket boxes mounted on the smoker body. Thanks for sharing your advice.

  9. Steve Culver Says:

    Can you give the brand name and part number of this thermostat. I need this for my smoker.


  10. Smokey Joe Says:

    I am also looking for the brand name or part # or better description of what to search for can you post for everyone?

  11. Jase Says:

    Over 2 years old & #1 for a google search on thermostat for a smoker!

    Would really love more info on the thermostat you used. I’m pretty electrically inept & can’t determine what you have based on the pictures & a search for “bulb & capillary thermostat” brings up a lot of junk, notably spa/jacuzzi thermostats.


  12. Joe Says:

    I too am searching for a thermostat to do the same to my smoker. I have toyed with the idea of using an old toaster over to do it. I have also thought an old electric overn would have what I needed, not sure if the temp range will go low enough though, I’d like to be able to get to 150 degrees F consistently.

  13. bob Says:

    the thermostats on most ovens are 220 whereas the smoker is 110. was your thermostat from a 220 oven. i was able to pick up an old oven at a local appliance store for free. it has the heating element and thermostat but it was wired 220. are there any electricians out there.

  14. r0b Says:


    This site has 120v 30a bulb and capillary thermostats, do we need a single pole or double pole?

  15. memdump Says:

    rOb link looks good. I would go with the Single Pole or SPST.

    The double pole is unnecessary because it is equivalent to two SPST switches controlled by a single mechanism.

  16. bigmeateatingguy Says:

    nice job

  17. Taming my Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker | NateElston.com Says:

    [...] obvious I about smacked myself upside the head, add a thermostat!  An example of this can be found here.  The idea of the thermostat, was well simple and seemed like a good idea, you dial in the [...]

  18. Don O. Says:

    I Would look for a shop that rehabs used appliances, they have a lot of parts from junk ovens.

    Or ypu can go right to our local appliance parts store.

    120 or 240 won’t make a difference if the amps are right.

    Their should be a big concern about safety and arcing.

    This is not for beginners……………