We had a metal worker build us a decent smoke house for a small on-farm butcher shop. However it's less than ideal for dehydrating and smoking jerky. I've been thinking and sketching plans for what I think would be an efficient design that would dry the meat evenly. But REALLY, all I know about air flow design is that the air nearest the membrane of the structure moves more efficiently. I've googled the subject, but Anita getting anywhere. Can anyone suggest a layman's source of information that would lend itself to designing the perfect dehydrator / smoker?
Please don't suggest I convert an old refrigerator or stove. This is a small commercial operation that requires dependable and consistent results. So far my biggest input cost is the time I spend baby sitting our existing smokehouse, and rotating meat to keep the drying even. Right now I'm using expanded metal drying racks. Each shelf is 30"x30" with 4" clearance from the walls on all four sides. There is 4" vertical clearance between each of the six shelves. The air flow is UP from the bottom through all the racking and then exists out the top and is circulated through an external heater and then back UP from the bottom again. There is a fresh air intake in the floor, and an exhaust vent in the ceiling with a damper.
As you can guess, the bottom racks dry sooner than the others. Constant rotating is the only answer.
I would like to design a drying chamber with a "cross flow". I've got a few ideas how to achieve this, but I have a bad habit of over complicating my ideas and overlooking the simplest solution.
The smoker must be made of heavy sheet metal with a sealed hinged door. Temperatures will reach as high as 180 F.
If the chamber had a rectangular cone (Apr 30"x30") blowing across on one side and the same size cone sucking on the other side, would the air flow disperse itself evenly over the area?
Any suggestions? Ivan.