How to Make a Homemade Smoker

Written by teresa starr
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How to Make a Homemade Smoker
Make a smoker from a dustbin. (old metal garbage dustbin image by Kathy Burns from

Almost anyone can make a homemade smoker, using a variety of materials such as a 10-gallon barrel or even a metal dustbin. A smoker is actually much different than a gas or charcoal grill. Those use direct heat at high temperatures, while a smoker uses indirect heat at lower temperatures. A smoker also infuses the meat with flavours, using flavoured wood chips such as mesquite or honey.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Drill
  • 1-inch, 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch drill bits
  • Metal dustbin and lid
  • Electric hotplate
  • Wood chip box
  • Wood chips
  • Circular grill grate
  • Temperature gauge
  • Extension cord (optional)

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    Smoker Construction

  1. 1

    Drill a hole near the bottom of the metal dustbin, using the drill and 1-inch bit. The electric hotplate cord will go through this hole.

  2. 2

    Place the electric hotplate on the bottom of the dustbin and pull the cord through the 1-inch hole.

  3. 3

    Drill three holes in the dustbin lid. Drill a 1/2-inch hole (used for the temperature gauge) and two 1/4-inch holes. The 1/4-inch holes will allow some of the smoke to escape while cooking your food.

  4. 4

    Place the metal wood chip box on top of the electric hotplate.

  5. 5

    Place the circular grill grate in the dustbin. The grill grate should be approximately 1 to 2 inches smaller than the circumference of the dustbin so it rests near the top of the dustbin.

  6. 6

    Cover the dustbin with its lid and insert the temperature gauge in the larger hole on the lid.

    Using the Smoker

  1. 1

    Soak the wood chips in water for 30 to 45 minutes.

  2. 2

    Place the wood chips in the metal wood chip box and place the wood chip box on top of the electric hotplate.

  3. 3

    Replace the circular grill grate. Cover the smoker with the lid and insert the temperature gauge.

  4. 4

    Plug in the electric hotplate. If you need a longer cord to reach an outdoor electrical socket, use an extension cord. Wait approximately 30 minutes until the temperature reaches 107 degrees Celsius. Arrange food on the grill grate and replace the lid.

  5. 5

    Smoke the food for three to four hours until tender and cooked through.

Tips and warnings

  • Watch the temperature gauge occasionally while smoking your food. If the temperature inside the smoker ever exceeds 135 degrees Celsius, simply remove the lid until the temperature is between 107 degrees Celsius and 135 degrees Celsius.

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