How to Make a Beer Keg Smoker

Written by gregory m. dew
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How to Make a Beer Keg Smoker
Empty kegs can be converted into barbecue smokers. (kegs of beer image by AGITA LEIMANE from

Smoking meat is a cooking technique that can be done through indirect or direct means. The indirect method requires a fire box and a separate cooking chamber. It is complicated to build but produces the best flavour. The direct method allows the fire and cooking chamber to be housed together. It is a method best attempted by barbecue novices. Building a direct smoker out of an empty beer keg and other readily available parts is quick and easy if you have the proper tools.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 empty stainless steel keg
  • Chocks
  • Goggles
  • Angle grinder
  • Grinding discs
  • Large gauge wire mesh
  • Wax pencil
  • Aluminium pan
  • 4 metal "S" hooks
  • Drill
  • 3/16-inch drill bit
  • 3 brackets
  • 3/16-inch nuts/bolts, 6
  • Charcoal
  • Metal pan
  • Smoking wood chips

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  1. 1

    Lay the keg on its side. Chock it in place so it does not move during the cutting process.

  2. 2

    Put on the goggles. Cut off the top one-fourth of the keg. Clean out the inside. Smooth the cut edges using the grinding discs.

  3. 3

    Lay the cut lid on top of the wire mesh. Trace the top and mark on the mesh with the wax pencil. Cut the mesh to match the circumference of the top.

  4. 4

    Push the metal hooks through the sides of the aluminium pan. Hang the pan off the wire mesh.

  5. 5

    Mark the location of the three brackets around the circumference of the keg. Mark the location of the six holes to be used to secure the brackets to the keg. Drill the six holes for the brackets. Attach the brackets to the keg using the nuts and bolts.

  6. 6

    Cut five slits in the bottom of the keg, each about 2 to 3 inches long. This will allow air into the smoker to keep the charcoal burning.

  7. 7

    Lay lit charcoal at the bottom of the keg. Place a metal pan filled with soaked wood chips on top of the charcoal. Position the wire mesh on the brackets. Place the food to be smoked at the centre of the wire mesh. Replace the top of the keg.

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