How to convert an old freezer into a smoker

Updated February 21, 2017

A smoker allows you to start cooking early in the day and have juicy, tender meats just in time for dinner. It can be left all day while you are out and does not need to be tended to during cooking. A large smoker can cook a lot of meat at once. Building a smoker out of an old freezer will save you money and provide a smoker large enough to smoke enough meat to feed a crowd.

Remove all racks, dials, plastic grommets, compartments and refrigerant lines. Remove screws with a screwdriver, if needed, to remove any components. Replace all screws to seal the holes.

Remove any plastic panels from the interior of the freezer. Set aside to use as a template to replace the panels with sheet metal. Remove the seals from the door. Secure exposed insulation with metal wire tied diagonally across the panel.

Place the plastic panel(s) on a sheet of 18-gauge sheet metal and use a marker to draw the outline of each plastic panel on the sheet metal. Cut along the outline with a pair of sheet-metal shears. Attach to the door with ½-inch tech screws.

Measure the inside of the freezer from the front to the back with a tape measure. Decide how many shelves your freezer will accommodate. The bottom shelf should be placed 2 feet from the bottom of the freezer.

Cut two angle iron brackets for each shelf and attach them to the inside of the freezer. Place the angle brackets so that the shelves will be level. Attach each bracket with four screws that are 1 inch long.

Measure the width and length of the inside of the freezer and purchase appropriately-sized metal racks to use as shelves. Place the shelves on the angle brackets.

Drill six small holes in the top of the freezer. Drill three holes on each side 2 inches from the side of the freezer. These will be used as vents. Place sheet metal over some of the holes to hold the heat in. The sheet metal can be moved to cover as many holes as needed.

Place a double-burner hotplate in the bottom of the freezer. Drill a hole in the side of the freezer that is large enough to push the plug through. Push the plug through the hole.

Fill a medium-sized wood chip box or metal pan with wood chips and place on top of the hotplate. Light the wood chips with a match and place the meat on the racks. Close the door and begin cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Metal wire
  • 18-gauge sheet metal
  • Marker
  • Sheet-metal shears
  • ½-inch tech screws
  • Tape measure
  • Angle iron brackets
  • 1-inch screws
  • Metal racks
  • Electric drill
  • Double-burner hotplate
  • Medium-sized wood chip box or metal pan
  • Wood chips
  • Matches
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About the Author

Amy Kingston has been a professional writer since 2001. She has written articles for various publications, including "Health" magazine, "Jackson Parenting" magazine, the "Bolivar Bulletin" newspaper and "A Musician's Pursuit." Kingston was also published in "Voices of Bipolar Disorder."