Pellet smokers are a very popular option on the market today. If you are interested in building your own, there are plans you can use as a guide. Making your own wood pellet smoker is fairly easy if you have the time and patience to follow the instructions for your build. My aim with this article is to provide you with ideas and plans that will help you bring your dream into reality.
I suggest that you read through the included instructions completely before starting any work on your project. This way, you won’t be rushing and will be able to make all of the necessary preparations before assembly begins.
Then, when all of the materials are gathered together (before you start gathering, make sure they are all accounted for), take your time in building your wood pellet smoker and enjoy doing it!
Getting Started – Before Your Build
I get a lot of questions about pellet smokers and what’s the best way to build them, as well as how to choose the correct components for your needs. In this article, I’ll talk about these things and some of the things you need to do before you start building your own pellet smoker.
You need not be an expert in the following fields (Welding, Woodworking, Cutting) just basic knowledge is okay. If you have never done any before, there are various tutorials online that teach you how to. While being an expert in these skills might not be a must, prior knowledge would help you build faster and better.
Before you consider safety first, most of the tutorials will require using items that can cause harm and pain. Be Careful! Wear safety goggles, gloves, and other gear where necessary.
Do you have a low budget? Then consider a cheaper alternative that won’t cost you much but still get the job done.
Gather Your Materials & Tools
Each tutorial has a specific and unique set of tools and materials. If you’re a handy man or woman these should be available in your garage, if not you might need to purchase the tools and materials required. If they are too expensive, opt for a cheaper pellet smoker.
1. DIY Pellet Smoker
Two heavy-duty aluminum foil baking pans, stainless steel cooling racks, bulldog clips, wood pellets, and aluminum foil are all you need for this construction.
Your smoker’s body is constructed from two aluminum foil baking pans stacked one atop the other and fastened together with bulldog clips. Your stainless steel racks are inside the pans, ideally supported by a helpful block.
Until you have a pellet tortilla, cover your pellets in foil. The top and side of the upper and bottom pan are then given an air hole.
Put the lit pellet burrito in the lower pan near the side airhole after lighting it with a blowtorch. You’re done once you’ve placed your food on the steel racks and secured it with clips.
- Bricks (optional)
- Stainless steel cooling rack or searing grates
- Bulldog clips
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Hickory pellets
- 2 aluminum foil baking pans
A garbage can can be transformed into a fantastic pellet smoker if you have one. This is how; Make a Hole in One of the Garbage Can’s Sides. The opening must be big enough to accommodate the electrical cord of your hot plate. This is why the hole ought to be close to the bottom of the trash can.
Put an electric hot plate in the garbage can’s bottom. Run the hot plate’s wire through the opening you just made after setting it in the bottom position. The firebox for your trash can smoker will be the hot plate.
The Wood Chip Box should be placed on top of the hot plate. You should put your pellets in the box. To flavor your meat, the pellets in the box are heated on the hot plate underneath.
A grill grate that is approximately the same size as the opening of your trash can is a smart idea. Although you may be tempted to weld this to the can’s mouth, keep in mind that the pellet box is at the bottom.
For this reason, the grate must be removable. Where the wood chip box is, make a hole if you intend to weld the grate in place. When you need to add wood or pellets to your smoker, you will have access to the wood chip box thanks to this.
- An old garbage can with lid
- A wood chip box
- An electric hot plate
- A barbecue grill with the same edge as garbage can
3. DIY Pellet Drum Smoker
Do you have an old drum handy? You can convert the drum into a pellet smoker. The process might not be the easiest to follow but you should be able to get the hang of it as a handy man or woman.
For starters you will need to create the air intake holes before assembling the Drum Smoker’s body. Additionally, drill holes for the nuts and bolts that will hold the stove grate in place. You must drill holes in the barrel’s side that are the same size as your elbow pipe. The air intake will be located here.
One cooking grate should be placed at the bottom of the drum, and the other one should be placed on top where you have secured the nuts and screws that will support it.
The fire basket must then be put together to prevent the flames in the bottom of the drum from spreading to the sides. Convection will only be used to transfer heat. Cut it to the proper size using an angle grinder before assembling the fire basket. Roll it and set it on top of the first cooking grate at the bottom of the drum.
Install the threaded pipe onto the elbow tube to complete the assembly of the air intake. After doing this, weld the elbow tube onto the specialized hole you made for it. A thermometer can be mounted next to the air intake if you so choose.
Put the Lid Handle Together Any hardware store will have ready-to-mount lid handles. Create a couple of small holes on the drum lid for the screws holding the lid handle. You may be required to install more than one handle, depending on the size of the lid.
- Bolts and nuts
- An elbow pipe
- A sheet of expanded metal
- Two cooking grates
- A threaded pipe with a valve
- Angle grinder
Do you happen to have an old filing cabinet around? In fact, you can use it to create a smoker! A file cabinet’s tiered construction eliminates most of the labor. In actuality, building a smoker for a filing cabinet is more simple than utilizing a drum.
Drilling holes through the cabinet’s sides is the first stage. Drill holes with a diameter of roughly two inches. You should drill 2 to 4 holes for each side, with at least two at the base of the cabinet on each side. The roof of the cabinet or the other holes may be at the same height as the upper drawers.
Remove the upper drawers, and then drill holes at the bases of each one. The meat can be heated and smoked by the bottom drawer through the openings. You don’t need to make many changes to the bottom drawer because it serves as your feed box for pellet or charcoal.
Using the holes you’ve already drilled in the upper drawers, mount the grill racks there. Your meat will be positioned like this. The racks can be held in place either by soldering them on or by placing them on top of crooked nails.
- File Cabinet (Unpainted)
- Barbecue Racks
This project is enormous and made of wood. This smoker’s build component is really straightforward. Old wooden pallets are disassembled to provide the components needed to construct a straightforward outhouse design, which is then lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
The shelves on which the food is stored are made of pallet wood with aluminum screen door material, while the firebox at the bottom is constructed from aluminum flashing.
For this project, you can purchase old pallets, and you can also get cheap pallets from old reclaimed wood projects. Pallets can be swiftly transformed into a smoker large enough to smoke and a large animal carcass for less than $95 if you can obtain them for no cost.
The building process begins with choosing your pallets; for this project, you will require 20–30 pallets. It’s okay if you can’t find the ideal pallets; they’ll still function. Next up, Take apart your pallets. We advise you to perform this with a reciprocating saw equipped with a bimetal blade that can cut through nails. This is the simplest method, I assure you.
Cleanly trim the ends of the board while making cuts below; You must make your cuts after disassembling your pallets. All of your pallet boards should first have clean cuts made to their ends. Only a small amount should need to be removed. To account for this loss of timber from your pallets, we picked our 3′ design.
Layout a Frame for the Left and Right Sides, then Build a Door Frame when the Smokehouse Racks are assembled and secured. Place the door and sides up, then secure. Cut the roof’s angle, support the top and sides, build the racks, and line the interior with foil, and you’re done.
- 2 1/2 inch screws *you should choose a good outdoor screw, we used plastic coated decking screws
- Handle (for the door)
- 20-30 pallets, deconstructed
- Aluminum flashing
- Heavy duty tin foil
- Corrugated tin roof (4’x3′) *this must be raw metal, not galvanized
- Roll of aluminum screen
- Hinges (3)
- 1 1/4 inch screws
- reciprocal saw with a bimetal blade
- drill bits 1/8 bit and countersink bit
- metal/tin snips
- drill gun
- Work Gloves
- Skil saw or table saw
- measuring tape
- Staple Gun
- utility knife
- Safety Glasses
6. DIY Pellet Smoker With Flower Pot
Don’t freak out if you suddenly have a hankering for smoked salmon but don’t have a smoker. Making one from a pair of clay flower pots only requires a short trip to your nearest garden center.
Drilling ventilation holes into your clay planters is the first thing you should do if you’re handy with a flower pot. Starting with a small drill bit and working your way up to the correct size can prevent your pot from splitting.
Several wine corks can be trimmed to fit inside the air holes in your pot, allowing you to regulate the airflow. The pellet container will be made from one of your ceramic pots. A small BBQ grate should be placed on top of the brick in the bottom of the pot to hold the coals.
The smoke will be contained in the top pot. Due to the fact that both pots will become fairly hot, it is recommended to attach a handle to the top pot using the straightforward approach of boring two holes in the bottom and attaching a normal U-bolt.
- BBQ gasket
- Two clay flower planters
- Circular grill grate
- Wine corks
- U-Bolt (with nuts & washers)
- Small BBQ charcoal grate
A pellet smoker can actually be made in a number of ways. The most common and possibly simplest method is to simply convert an outdoor grill that already exists into a pellet smoker. You might not have had access to such a barbecue, though.
Another simple and affordable option is to repurpose a 55-gallon drum into a quality vertical pellet smoker. The drawbacks here include additional labor and the potential for hazardous fume releases from heated recycled materials. But don’t be concerned—we have a fix for this.
Make sure the iron you use is food-safe, then coat the interior of the pellet smoker chamber with a powder coating that is temperature resistant.
Clean the drum to begin the building process. Cleaning the drum is essential if it has recently been used for different purposes. The drum needs to be painted with high-temperature paints next. The paint ought to be resistant to heat given that the smoker will operate at a high temperature. Additionally, paint its cover and give the drum some artistic connections.
Place a starter for a pellet fireplace on top of an old serving dish. along with the cast-iron container at the top. On this surface, you’ll lay your beef for smoking.
- A dishwasher detergent
- Pellet starter
- Metal caps
- Weed torch
- A 55-gallon drum
- Reciprocating saw
- Pressure washer
A pellet smoker can be large or small, this is a mini-sized pellet smoker that can significantly cut costs. However, you might only be able to smoke a small amount of food at a time. If you are interested in making this Tin Can pellet smoker for $5, follow through!
The upper and lower smoker cans are going to be stacked on top of each other to create the smoker. Make a 1″ hole about 1/2″ above the bottom of the lower smoker can using the metal hole saw. Cut a second 1-inch hole on the side opposite the first one. The air intake for the smoking can is created by these holes.
Turn the top smoker can over so that the flat surface is facing you and the opening is facing the ground. To make your smoker exhaust, use the metal hole saw to cut an off-center 1″ hole. The little tomato paste can’s top can lid may be removed with the can opener. Use the can opener to pry open the bottom can lid and remove the contents.
Fold the two lids so they roughly round the smoking tin cans using your hands. The air intake valves on the lower smoker can be these tomato paste lids. Use the can opener to pry off the top can lid from the soup can. The upper smoker can lid exhaust valve will be located on this soup can lid.
Install the interior connector ring, attach it with a screw, and then insert a second screw into the bottom smoking can and internal connector ring about four inches from the first one. Attach a screw to the inner connector ring and the upper smoker can use a metal drill and a self-tapping screw. You can now use the trivet as a rack for your homemade tin can smoker by placing it over the screws in the inner connecting ring.
Before cooking on the smoker, season it by lighting pellets or charcoal in the DIY Tin Can Smoker to burn off any residue or coating that the tin cans might have.
- 1 Aluminum tin can
- 3 Extra Large Aluminum Tin Cans
- 1 Wide screw and nut
- 1 Small trivet
- 1 Small aluminum tin can
- 15-20 Self tapping metal screws
- Can opener
- Metal hole saw
- Tin snips
- Screw gun with metal drill bits
- Metal file
9. How To Convert An Old Refrigerator Into A Pellet Smoker
Here’s yet another project that doesn’t require spending a lot of money. Do you have an old refrigerator laying around? If yes, then you’re in luck. This DIY will show you how to convert your old refrigerator into a pellet smoker. If you don’t have an old refrigerator you could ask a friend for one or simply purchase a cheap one.
The making process begins with finding the right refrigerator, something that is metal lined on the inside would do the trick!
Remove all the plastic on the refrigerator and cover up the back of the door with a sheet of metal. Just before the top of the refrigerator, find the center point and drill a hole on both sides. Start with a long drill bit to create a hole in the center before using the hole saw, this makes the job easier. Doing this releases the heat of your smoker evenly and better.
Add some venting behind the refrigerator, purchase a simple vent cover and make a hole behind the fridge just at the bottom, making sure the hole is centered. The complete build can be seen in the video tutorial.
Next up is installing the racks on the inside of the refrigerator and keeping them well-spaced from each other. The pellet pro hopper was purchased and installed by the side of the fridge. The complete build should take a couple of hours to complete.
- An Old Refrigerator
- Pellet pro hopper
- Side discharge
- Drill bits
- Hole Saw
If you want to construct something more long-lasting to smoke your meals, a hardwood and cinder block smokehouse enables you to do so without spending a fortune.
This project’s concept is just a cinder block foundation with a hardwood smoking cabinet on top. The smoke is produced by a small heat brick-lined firebox separate from the smoking cabinet.
The advantage of constructing this cinderblock and wood smokehouse is that it is fast and simple to construct, and once completed, you have a permanent smoking spot with plenty of space.
The large size of this smoker makes it easy to smoke larger food items within a short amount of time. If you are smoking big, I would highly recommend making this DIY smoker.
- 2 x 4 cedarwood
- Trash Can with lid
- Fire bricks
- Wood Chip Box
- Temperature Gauge
- Clay bricks
- Bolt lock
- Metal mesh
- Stove door
- Concrete blocks
- 16 gauge steel plates
- Fire clay mortar
- 2-1/2 inch deck screws
- Wood screws
- Black stove pipe
- Door hinges
- Electric Hot Plate
- Drill Bits
- Measuring Tape
This article has broken down the basic anatomy of a pellet smoker and also provided step by step instructions for how to build your very own smoker. We recommend taking an hour or two to follow these plans so that you can get started on your own custom smoker!