GE Appliances launches Smart Indoor Smoker with Louisville chef

GE Appliances didn’t set out to create an indoor smoker, or win awards, or establish a partnership with recently selected James Beard Award semifinalist Dallas McGarity.

It just happened.

When the team at FirstBuild — GE Appliances microfactory and makerspace located on the University of Louisville’s campus — bought an old 1950s GE Appliances refrigerator off Facebook, gutted it, and had the idea to turn it into a smoker, nobody envisioned the product would become a household commodity years later.

“Our team did that just mainly for fun and interest and kind of exercising some of the maker muscles that we have here,” Chris Naber, the director of product development for FirstBuild and Small Appliances, told the Courier Journal. “We just did it as a fun team-building thing.”

After the old fridge, standing roughly five feet high and tricked out with a tailpipe from a Honda Civic, was engineered to smoke, the FirstBuild squad enjoyed barbecue every Wednesday.

At FirstBuild, Justin Loudermilk works on accessories for GE Appliances' new countertop smoker.

Until winter came.

The team, longing for the days spent bonding over smoked meats at lunch turned to look for a way to bring their passion project indoors. They began experimenting with the idea of an indoor smoker. The technology around eliminating smoke already existed from the Monogram Hearth Oven and could be applied to an indoor smoker.

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