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How To Build a Smoker: 5 Tips For Designing a Custom Smoker

So you want a smoker. Great! You're not alone.

75% of Americans own a grill or smoker, and 63% use them year-round.

What's all the fuss? There is something uniquely inviting about entertaining outdoors during

any season. And the smoky, savory smell of grilling food brings a warmth that comforts your

guests inside and out.

Backyard smokers have become increasingly popular in recent years, primarily because of

the flavor they unearth in meats. The taste is stronger because a smoker can capture the

flavor and circulate it more efficiently. A thicker smoke ring testifies to its effectiveness in

curing them.

If you've ever seen someone's home-fashioned grill, you may be wondering how to build a

smoker. Here are five great tips for getting started:

1. Compartmentalize

Your smoker should be composed of two basic compartments. In one, smoke and heat are

generated to the right temperatures. In the second, food is cooked in a temperature controlled environment.

Your smoker should also possess a frame that is sturdy enough to hold your containers,

wood chips, and meat.

For your main barrels, a sheet metal shop can help you cut metal and roll it to size. You can

use a food-grade steel barrel or anything made from non-galvanized steel. In most cases,

some kind of welding expertise will be required.

Brick is another popular material for building smokers, and it holds heat well. Keep in mind,

though, that these grills are not portable, and they will be more expensive to create.

If you are really looking to rig something up quick, a temporary hog cooker can be created

out of cinder blocks filled with sand and some tin roofing.

2. Consider Your Source

An old propane tank is a popular source of heat for home-fashioned smokers. These contain

flammable residue, however, and could be dangerous. The tank needs to be filled with water

before you can begin cutting and welding.

If you use a controllable heat source, you won't have to tend a fire or deal with heat


An electric trash can smoker can provide heat while wood chunks provide the smoke. And

the temperature control of the hot plate allows direct heating of the cooking chamber with a

gas burner.

3. Get Some Good Pipes

Vents and pipe connections provide airflow to keep vents and heat traveling so food is

cooked evenly. If the smoke continues to move, it will not build up and leave an unpleasant

taste on your food. Consider using a chimney pipe, or a two-inch water pipe to connect the firebox and smoke


4. Move Around

The material you use to build your smoker should be durable enough to withstand

temperature changes. This is why stone, brick, and steel are good choices.

You will need, however, to consider portability when building a smoker. If you want to store it

in your garage or shed, brick will not be a good choice as you will not be able to move it


Honestly consider how much meat you and your family will be able to eat in a few days. You

do not want to build a smoker that is too big for your yard, and not necessary for your needs.

5. Do It Yourself

DIY Smoker Kits are available with and without a 55-gallon steel drum. Yet even these require some welding skills. If you don't have any, you may want to enlist the help of a friend or service who does.

How To Build a Smoker

If you have ever wondered how to build a smoker, you can start thinking about materials,

heat sources, and portability before coming up with a custom design.

For more information, contact us today.

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