It is best to keep the smoke-making equipment outside the storage compartment. This permits maximum use of the inside capacity for the meat or fish being smoked. Cut a hole about 8” diameter in the floor; one inch above it, mount a horizontal metal plate as a baffle, to dissipate the smoke.
If the refrigerator is of the type that has the machinery underneath the storage compartment, remove the motor and compressor. Utilize this space for making smoke with a hotplate and a pan of hardwood chips. If the bottom section is a removable vegetable bin, do the same. Or, for maximum capacity, raise the refrigerator on four concrete blocks, cut a hole in the bottom, and set the smoke apparatus outside. Build an enclosure of plywood, metal or concrete blocks around the smoke source, so that the smoke cannot drift aside, but is forced into the refrigerator.
In the top of the refrigerator cut one 3” or two 2” holes. Arrange something—pivoted metal flaps, bricks, etc.—to control the aperture of these vents. Alternatively, fit a two-foot length of stovepipe with a butterfly damper
To avoid cutting large holes, removing compressors, or making other major alterations, the hotplate and pan of chips may be placed in the main storage compartment.
It is well to bear in mind that a refrigerator is not designed to withstand heat! The author once converted a ‘fridge by cutting a hole in the bottom, then lit a fire of charcoal briquettes underneath, using green boughs to make smoke. Around the edge of the hole, the insulation was exposed. All at once, the refrigerator caught fire and the insulation burned up! Several similar incidents have been reported. So, for safety’s sake, use no other heat source than a hot plate inside a ‘fridge. With an outside heat source, do not let flames come near the insulation. Whatever smoke generating system is used, beware of excessive heat.
To use the cold-smoke process, dig a fire pit as described for the box-smoker, and lead the smoke into the refrigerator from a distance.
book of Smoke-Cooking Meat, Fish &