Last Updated on June 22, 2021
Are you thinking about making your bbq smoker? If so, it’s important to note that this project will involve many important steps that you should follow carefully. Thankfully, you won’t need too much experience to produce a wonderful meat smoker that delivers amazing results. Please continue reading below and follow our guide on how to make a bbq smoker.
The Basic Use of a Bbq Smoker
But why bother with a smoker in the first place? How a bbq smoker works also has its wonders. A backyard smoker has a different cooking process that can produce some amazing meat that is tastier than you would have otherwise been able to produce.
Also, while you can go out and buy a smoker, making a DIY smoker is easy. You only need a few items to build at home, and it does not require that much experience.
In the next parts of this post, we will tell you how to make a complex DIY smoker. However, we don’t want you using an angle grinder too much or indulging in a vast amount of welding. But take note, some will be required, even with the most simple design.
What You Can Use for Your Backyard Smoker
When it comes to materials that you can use for your backyard smoker, salvaged materials are perfect. You can even use a filing cabinet if you happen to have one around, while a drum of some sort is perhaps the most widely used item. Also, a metal rubbish bin is going to work well.
What Do You Need?
To make your offset smoker, several parts need to be put together.
First, you need your smoke chamber. That’s where you may place your stainless steel grill and where the meat will be sitting to be cooked.
Next, you need the actual smoker part. This is where the fuel is going to be located as well as the fire. It would help if you had this to produce the smoke that travels through the firebox door and into the smoke chamber.
It would help if you also looked at creating two holes where you can control the level of smoke mixed in by keeping a close eye on the temperature.
This may sound like a lot when trying to make a homemade smoker. However, we will show you that it can be a lot easier with your smoker than you may have initially thought.
We will also introduce to you different types of barbecue smokers that you can make at home. You can then decide which one fits in with the materials you have around your home.
Decide on Your Type of Smoker
The first thing you need to do is decide on the type of smoker you want to build. A bbq smoker can come in various forms, and it’s often to do with the fuel you use, as well as the building materials.
In this instance, we reckon you will be using charcoal or wood for cooking your food. Installing the right parts to make a gas smoker at home is a bit more complicated.
A Clay Pot Smoker
You can make a DIY smoker from a clay pot. This is a simple smoker, but it’s also low cost and is a great project if you start your smoking journey.
For this, you will need two pots, a stainless steel grill, and nothing else.
The aim here is for you to use the bottom port as the grill, and the top pot will then be turned upside down to create your barbecue smoker. The charcoal will go in the base of the bottom spot, with the grill cut to size to fit the inside of the pot. You place the meat on the grill, and then the other pot acts as the chamber.
The cool thing about this simple smoker is that the drainage hole in the top pot will allow the smoke to come out and keep things regulated. You need to remove the top pot to check how things are cooking.
A Filing Cabinet
To show the versatility of items that can be used to create a DIY smoker, we can look at how a filing cabinet can be used.
The key here is you are using the different drawers for different purposes in your smoker. It also requires little welding and drilling of holes in the metal, so it’s still viewed as being quite simple to make these sorts of smokers.
To complete this, you need a few items.
- A filing cabinet of any size
- Your grill grates
- A drill and various drill bits
- Screwdriver and other tools
- To make this, you need to remove the drawers from the cabinet. Remove the locking mechanism, the runners, and any plastic bits since they melt when burning coals.
- Also, pay attention to any rubber bumpers or rubber washers. They may need to be replaced by metal versions depending on where they were located.
- After stripping it, you can then paint the outside. Use metal paint, but don’t paint the inside as this thing is going to get hot. Using paint that can deal with hot temperatures will also help prevent rust, as it gives this layer of protection. That in itself is important with any smoker.
- It will help if you cut out the bottom of the drawers, as this is where the grill will go. Also, the smoke needs to be able to travel up the chamber to reach the food.
- Use some snips to break through the metal. Then use a grinder to get rid of any rough edges.
- Next, take the bottom drawer, as this is where the fire will be for your smoker.
- Take your drill, and make some holes in the base of the drawer.
- Next, add a grill to the drawer. This combination will allow air to circulate while also effectively sealing in the fuel source. Thanks to the holes, ash will fall through, making sure that you place it on the sand to stop it from being a fire hazard.
- The final part is to put everything together, including the runners. Then you need to add wood or charcoal and fire everything up.
A Metal Bin
Making smokers from a metal bin is also possible, and it won’t take long to complete this smoker.
- Get some metal screw bolts, washers, and nuts and drill holes in the side of the bin. Screw the bolts through and tighten them with the washers and nuts. This will act as the support for the grill.
- Drill holes in the bottom of the bin. As it is made of metal, you don’t have to worry too much about heat either. Alternatively, get the mechanism from a hotplate, and place the heating element in the bottom. Drill a hole and have the wire for the heating mechanism coming through. This will allow you to control the heat from the outside.
- Add a grill on top of the heating element and add your wood chips. This will create smoke as well as add flavour to your smoked food.
- Next, drill a hole in the lid. This is where you will attach the thermometer. Once this is done, you are good to go.
- You can then use the lid for the bin to help create the smoke. The lid also acts as the chimney, as well as the door for you to check what’s going on.
A Drum for a Homemade Smoker
There are many other options when it comes to making a DIY smoker. You can use a metal drum, for example, but this requires an angle grinder and some welding capabilities. It’s also far more involved by adding in pipes to create air intake so that it can get rather complicated.
A Smoke House via Pallets
If you want to go for a large smoker, you could decide to build your smokehouse using pallets effectively. These may take up more space, but they can work amazingly well as your DIY smoker.
Step 1: Break Down the Pallets
You will strip down the pallets to get the wood, which you then use to build the firebox, chimney, and everything else you need for smoking. It’s also useful to get a roll of aluminium to create doors that can be closed. You will also need a roof so that a tin roof will work out well.
The wood needs to be cut according to the size of the smoking house you want to construct. Put everything in order of size and set it to one side. It would help if you built the frame to put the pallet wood to create the overall shell.
But hold on, there’s another important point you need to be aware of.
Step 2: You Need Air Holes
Air holes need to appear near the bottom of the smokehouse and another set to the top. Take two pieces of wood and drill some holes through them. One will be used near the firebox, and another as a sort of chimney higher up.
On the inside of the frame, you will need some ledges where the grill racks will sit. Measure where they will go and how many you want to include depending on how much cooking you will be doing and work them into your design.
By the end, you should have something that looks like a wooden filing cabinet with wooden rails on the inside.
Step 3: Build the Door
Doors are important as they control the temperature and smoke that goes to the meat. In this larger version of a smoking chamber, you need to build a frame for the door using the wood from the pallet. You will then be applying the roll of aluminium to the door frame. Also, you will require a couple of hinges to make sure you can open and close the door with ease.
Step 4: Put Up the Roof
The roof should have a slight angle on it, so build up one side to make it higher than the other. You can attach wood to the top before adding the tin roof to your DIY project. There should be a slight gap between the roof and the top of the smoking chamber to allow the smoke to come out rather than building up in the barbecue area.
You can use large metal grills for the racks rather than attempting to create your DIY version. You will need to go to a bbq smoker expert to get racks for a larger smoker. These racks will then sit on the ledges you included in the construction.
Finally, you need to set the firebox at the base and cover the inside with tin foil. This will make a real difference with the cooking, as it turns it into a basic type of oven.
This may sound complicated, but there are short videos available online that can take you through the process of building a smoker from pallets. It can be a wonderful project for anybody with just a few tools and some basic knowledge of using them.
Make Your First Smoker
So, that’s how to make a bbq smoker at home. As you can see, you can make it as simple or complicated as you want. Of course, if starting, then go for the easy option. You will still be able to produce some amazing food at home.
If you are in any doubt about how to make any of the options listed above, then you should be able to find an easy guide on how to build a smoker online. Also, if you are nervous, then go for one of the easier options, such as the flower pot, a drum, or whatever material is available at your home.
It will take minutes to complete, and if you are looking at only cooking a small amount of food, it will be more than sufficient. Finally, keep your safety in mind when making your smoker, as that too is essential.