How to Build a Meat Smoker With a Propane Tank

Written by manuel paucar
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How to Build a Meat Smoker With a Propane Tank
Propane tanks make great meat smokers. (propane heater image by FXTW from

It's simply undeniable the exquisite taste that smoked foods provide to any dish. It's merely the simplest combination between a delightful explosion of flavour and loss of fat. However, this gastronomic pleasure is often far from reach due to the high cost of a conventional smoker. Anyhow, a useful home made propane smoker can be as a good as professional one. Here's how you can device one yourself.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Large propane tank (about 6 feet tall)
  • Small propane tank (about 3 feet tall)
  • Welder
  • Blowtorch
  • Thermometer
  • Grill grid (one that fits the diameter of the large propane tank)

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  1. 1

    Choose the propane tank. It can't be the first one at sight.It must be one a one that's still in shape. A rusty tank won't help for the building process, because at the time of welding it will probably break and everything would be in vain.

  2. 2

    Clean the propane tank thoroughly. This must be in perfect sanitary conditions, due to its previous use as a gas container. Hot water with some liquid soap will do the work.

  3. 3

    Using the blowtorch, make two large holes in the large propane tank. These must be about 2 feet each horizontally and 1 foot high. This is a tricky part, because leaving a branch of space between these two holes made in the tank is essential for flavour purposes, and is also vital to keep the two pieces just removed, because these ones will be used as a kind of door for the smoker. The branch must be about 3 inches wide.

  4. 4

    Weld the grill grid to the large tank. This one must be placed inside just about one inch below the previously made opening.

  5. 5

    Make a last hole the same size on the back part of the large tank. This hole will be used for letting the heat enter the large tank from the little one. Measurements are the same (2 feet wide, 1 foot high).

  6. 6

    Make two holes in the little propane tank (2 feet wide and 1 foot high). In this part of the building process, also keeping the removed part of the tank is essential. The measurements must be exact as the ones previously done in the large one.

  7. 7

    Weld the removed parts of the tank to this one again. This maybe doesn't make any sense but it really does. What is about to be done is welding just one side of the removed pieces to the tank in order for this to work as a little furnace door. This must be done in every hole made, except in one of the holes in the little tank.

  8. 8

    Weld the small tank to the large one. There are two holes in the little one, both with the same measurements, so it doesn't matter which one is welded to the back part of the large one. The two ones in front of the large one are made for the food, and the remaining hole in the little one (the one that's not welded yet), is for wood burning.

  9. 9

    With the blowtorch, make a little oval hole in front of the large propane tank. This little opening will serve for the thermometer. The measurements of the hole must match the thermometer's width.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint the whole smoker. Black is the ideal colour because this will attract heat from direct sunlight.
  • Try welding some wooden handles to the smoker to be make the opening and closing action of the doors easier. That way, you will prevent any burns.

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