Owning a smoker gives you the ability to preserve and attribute a wonderful flavor to your meat and other foods. Smokers are simple to construct and can be built from a variety of materials. The basic necessities, regardless of your custom set-up, consist of:
- A way to hang your food.
- A place to enclose the smoke.
- A place to burn your wood.
I’ve built many smokers using materials from 55-gallon drums, wood boxes and even tepees. Currently, I use the best smoker I could build under $75. It’s made of corrugated tin roofing for the roof and outside walls. The structure itself is made from 4-feet by 4-feet wood pallets, and I have a firebox attached to the side by using a 4-inch pipe.
I started my build by leveling an area of ground 5 feet by 5 feet. This will provide you the area you need for the smokehouse. Use wood pallets to make a “U” shape on the ground – the top of the “U” is the back of the smokehouse — and use 3-inch deck screws to fasten them together. Fasten the two side pallets on the open area of the bottom with a 1-inch x 4-inch board from the inside of the pallet (any 1-inch board will work). This is the body of the smoker.
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It’s time to get the roof on. Place another pallet on top of the body. Have someone help hold the front up to a 30-degree angle while you screw in the back. Use a couple of 1-inch x 4-inch boards on each side of the front and screw them in. This will keep the angle of your roof secure.
I bought a couple sheets of corrugated roofing for the walls and roof. Start by cutting the correct angles for the side walls and back. Just get some measurements off your frame to know how to cut the metal. Take care while cutting, and use the proper safety equipment so you don’t get cut up on the sharp metal. Once you cut the sides, screw them on and screw some panels on top for the roof.
Making the door is fairly easy. Get the measurement of the opening of the smoker. Build a rectangular door with 1-inch x 4-inch boards and mount with hinges to the smoker. Then, just fasten some more corrugated roofing to the door. This completes the smokehouse!
The last part is the fire box. This can be done in a few ways. Using a small drum turned into a fireplace is about the easiest way. Connect it to the smokehouse using some 4-inch pipe. I chose to use cinderblocks to make a stove and connect them via the 4-inch pipe.
Using cinderblocks, make a box with four of them. Put a second staggered set on top, but chip out a section so the 4-inch pipe can attach to the smokehouse. Now, we need one last course of block for the firebox. Using a sheet of metal for a baffle on the firebox opening will control the heat.
This is a quick project and fairly inexpensive. Homesteaders and hunters will get tons of use from a smoker — smoking meats, fish and cheese. I know I get really popular with friends and family when I get smoking! It’s also a great way to take things like bland fish (trout) and turn them into a real treat by brining and smoking.
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