Step 7: Time to Test
Before committing any meat to this device, we wanted to test it. Here's the test setup, with auxilliary "equipment". A clamp-on ammeter lets us know when current is flowing (we split an extension cord to isolate one side of the circuit.) We also needed a towel for handling the lid, the fire extinguisher, a notebook, and a big bottle of the award-winning Cadillac Mountain Stout to sustain us until supper. (He didn't only go to the hardware store!)
With the hot plate control at about 2/3, the smoker quickly heated to 350 F and stayed there.
It settled into a cycle of 10 seconds on, 30 seconds off.
With the hot plate control back to 1/3, the smoker slowly cooled and never turned on at all.
With the hot plate control at almost 1/2, the smoker heated to 230 degrees, with a cycle of about 10 seconds on and 40 seconds off. Perfect!
But when we added wood chips, we didn't get smoke. Hmph. Clearly we need to do more testing.
Turned out that we needed more heat to get the smoking started, so it's a good thing we added that hole. He cranked it up until we got good puffs of smoke, then turned it down to cook. We had to do that several times during the cooking session of several hours.