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homemade meat smoker

LuluTheMagnificent Aug 12, 2010 10:49 AM

Anyone have any ideas how I can make a smoker for my meat using everyday household items? I don't want to buy a smoker yet.

Thank you.

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  1. t
    tullius RE: LuluTheMagnificent Aug 12, 2010 11:23 AM

    check out Alton Brown. I googled "alton brown smoker" & got a lot of hit about a flower pot smoker.

    But the one I saw on "Good Eats" was a large cardboard box upside down with holes poked in it so metal rods could go through & hold the rack. Then a flap was cut in the in the bottom (well top because its upside down remember?) Thru the flap was inserted an electric hot plate with a mini cast iron skillet filled with hickory sawdust..

    Google "alton brown smoker salmon" to get info about the cardboard box smoker.

    You can also just use a regular grill that has a lid. Put a small amount of lit charcoal (you need to use a chimney starter or electric starter because you DON'T want any nasty fumes from starter fluid) on one side of the grill & a drip pan filled with water on the other side. You put your meat over the drip pan. Then add soaked wood chips to the charcoal & cover with lid. You will need to add more lit charcoal & wood chips as they die down.

    BTW I bought a Brinkman charcoal smoker at WallyWorld for about 40 bucks.

    4 Replies
    1. re: tullius
      ricepad RE: tullius Aug 12, 2010 12:42 PM

      Alton Brown has made two different kinds of smokers on his show. The flower pot smoker is a hot smoker, whereas the cardboard box is a cold smoker. He's also made a cold smoker from a metal cabinet, IIRC. Each has it's place, but they don't do the same thing - for instance, you would not want to make ribs in a cold smoker.

      1. re: ricepad
        cacio e pepe RE: ricepad Jan 21, 2014 01:06 PM

        I don't know that I'd characterize the cardboard box smoker as a cold smoker. A cold smoker has a separate fire box and the smoke really is cold.

        I've built the cardboard smoker and it gets too warm to do traditionally cold smoked foods.

        I took Alton's rig and modified it to use a new soldering iron in a can of sawdust. It produced a fair amount of smoke at very low temperatures. I "cold smoked" some corned boneless shortribs coated in black pepper and coriander. Made some very good pastrami.

        1. re: cacio e pepe
          ricepad RE: cacio e pepe Jan 21, 2014 06:57 PM

          ISTR that HE called it a cold smoker. Not certain, tho....it's been a while since I saw that episode.

          1. re: ricepad
            cacio e pepe RE: ricepad Jan 22, 2014 09:59 AM

            You're probably right that he did. It's colder smoking, that's for sure. But it will cook the food that you put in it while a cold smoker won't do that unless you want it to.

    2. Mike CP RE: LuluTheMagnificent Aug 12, 2010 11:26 AM

      Check out some of the results from this query. There are some useful videos, depending on what your household items are...


      1. Hank Hanover RE: LuluTheMagnificent Aug 12, 2010 12:25 PM

        Quick! Before you get moved to another board. I would buy a cheap electric smoker. If you don't mind cleaning it up, a used one would be even cheaper. I would buy a PID thermo controler off ebay. This device plugs into the wall, the smoker would plug into the controller. A thermocouple feeds into the smoker. I would drill a hole and use a grommet for a tight fit.

        Buy what is called a smoke pistol and install it. This device generates smoke from cartridges. You can control how much smoke is generated.

        When you want to smoke, set the temperature on the controller to 215 degrees F. Turn on the smoke pistol. Be sure to have a water tray to avoid drying out the meat.

        This set up would cost less than $150 and would be very accurate. It would produce excellent smoked and tender meat.

        1. f
          ferret RE: LuluTheMagnificent Aug 12, 2010 01:54 PM

          If you're intending to smoke indoors - don't. If you're looking for outdoor solutions and have a grill, then that's your best bet (lots of options for smoking on your grill). If you don't own a grill, then buy one. That's the better purchase.

          1. kaleokahu RE: LuluTheMagnificent Aug 12, 2010 11:05 PM

            Buy a Little Chief electric . By the time you screw around making your own, it'll be more money.

            1. BiscuitBoy RE: LuluTheMagnificent Aug 13, 2010 06:35 AM

              Alton's rig, works beautifully:


              1. l
                LuluTheMagnificent RE: LuluTheMagnificent Aug 14, 2010 08:03 PM

                I'm sorry, I forgot I posted this. I want to make pastrami, I was thinking I would do it indoors. I will check out all the suggestions. Thank you.

                2 Replies
                1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
                  ferret RE: LuluTheMagnificent Aug 14, 2010 08:15 PM

                  Indoors is a pretty bad idea. A cut like pastrami needs about an hour of smoke per pound and you need to develop a good amount of smoke. The indoor solutions are for delicate items like fish. As for the smoke-infusing "guns" they don't develop enough smoke for anything more than a hint of flavor.

                  1. re: ferret
                    ted RE: ferret Aug 15, 2010 04:54 AM

                    I concur. Even a small-ish brisket flat, say 9lb or so, is going to take ~8 hours to smoke (or longer).

                    I believe in using something besides electric for that kind of smoking. You could always get a Weber Smokey Mountain (aka WSM) and put it up on Craigslist if you decided that wasn't your bag. I bet it'd sell in a heartbeat.

                2. j
                  jeline RE: LuluTheMagnificent Jan 21, 2014 12:33 PM

                  check out my last post and it might help you out. aslo an outside one that alton brown made works well I just couldn't get to mine it was buried in the snow.....so opted to do it in the house. worked perfect...

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