How to Make Your Own Smoker Fire Box

Updated April 17, 2017

Smoking is a cooking method that uses indirect heat and wood smoke to cook foods (usually meats or cheeses). Unlike grilling and barbecuing, smoking cooks food at a very low temperature and takes hours for the cooking process to finish. Purchasing a smoker from a retail store can cost quite a bit of money, but you can make a homemade smoker for under £32. One of the most popular homemade smoker designs utilises a dustbin as the cooking vessel.

Drill a 1.5-inch diameter hole on the side of the dustbin near its bottom. File the edges of the hole smooth.

Place the hotplate inside the dustbin facing upwards. Feed the cord through the drilled hole on the side of the dustbin.

Place the wood chip box on top of the hotplate. When you are ready to smoke, fill the wood chip box with hardwood chips of your choice (generally maple, hickory or cherry wood) that have been soaked in water for approximately 30 minutes.

Lower the grill grate into dustbin until it is secured against the sides of the can.

Place the food on top of the grill grate and turn on the hotplate. Cover the dustbin with the lid to trap the smoke inside. Use a thermometer to periodically check the temperature of the meat, as well as the internal temperature of the smoker itself.


Strive to keep the temperature of the smoker between 104 and 110 degrees C during the smoking process. Always ensure that food comes to its specific target temperature before removing from the smoker.


Never leave a smoker unattended. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby during the smoking process.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal dustbin with lid
  • Electric hotplate
  • Grill grating
  • Wood chip box
  • Drill
  • File
  • Meat thermometer
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About the Author

Based in Portland, Maine, Kurt Larsen began his writing career in 2008. As well as being proficient in constructing marketing and website content, he has been published in media outlets such as Buildipedia, an interactive community focusing on green and sustainable architecture. Larsen holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Vermont.