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Jun 26, 2013 12:01 PM

How would I go about making a smoker?

Someone suggested making a smoker on a previous post of mine, and now I've been trying to find a guide to building a smoker, preferably without needing tools for welding. I've got a basic tool kit, a dremel tool for plastic, wood and basically, soft materials. I'll be fine if it means I can only make a salmon smoker, but I've never built anything like this before, so I'd love it if someone went through the procedure step by step, and explained why it's set up that way.

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  1. Hotel pan, smoke chips, rack, fish on plate. Ignite chips with torch, or stick lighter then quickly cover with heavy duty foil making sure to form a tight seal. Place astride burner(s) set to low. Timing is dependant on thickness of fish. No soldering necessary.

    1 Reply
    1. re: letsindulge

      So I would cover the whole makeshift smoker with the foil? What about ventilation? It seems important in most discussions about smokers.

    2. Hi, SB:

      Not enough information.

      Is this a project for inside or out of doors? Do you want to cold smoke, or will this be a kippering operation?

      Many a fine outside hot "smoke" job has been done with a 5-sided aluminum box, a few cinder blocks, and a gravel screen. About the only tools needed are a drill motor and a pop-rivet gun. I'd suggest pieces of sheet aluminum, oh, about the size of a large traffic sign.;;; If you don't have anyone to bend 'em, just get some aluminum "L" channel for the edges (to rivet to). Rivet on handles while you're at it. Build fire, put food on grate supported by blocks, put box over everything.

      If you want a cold smoke setup, the Redneck Way is a derelict refrigerator set 20 or so feet up a slope, and you lay 6" drain pipe or tile down to where you build your fire. Cut holes in top and bottom of reefer. Pipe goes in bottom hole. Food goes on racks.


      1 Reply
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Sorry, I'm really just a student, so I'm not even sure what a kippering operation is. I'm thinking of outdoors smoker, probably the hot "smoke" job setup you were describing. I suddenly regret having gotten rid of our old dead fridge now!! That would have been perfect. The hot smoke job could be manageable for someone with as little experience as myself though, so I'll be looking into the costs of the supplies. Thank you for posting!

      2. Alton Brown's Claypot Smoker....throw me a message and I'll send you a quick pdf

        4 Replies
        1. re: BiscuitBoy

          Is there a message function on this website, or should I use email? Btw, LOVE Alton Brown, we have his first season cookbook.

          1. re: BiscuitBoy

            Didn't Alton Brown make a smoker out of a cardboard box on one of his shows to smoke Salmon?

            You can use a Wok if you have one.


            1. My first smoker was an Old Smokey. I imagine you can giggle a diagram. It looks as if it would be easy to approximate with a trash can, but it wouldn't be any cheaper. I made some fine barbecue on mine.

              1. UDS - Ugly Drum Smoker - smoker made from a 55 gallon drum (or a 30 gallon, or a 15 gallon, or a big tamale pot).

                No welding needed. Do a google search and you will likely find more plans on how to do it that you possibly need.

                3 Replies
                1. re: JayL

                  Hi, Jay:

                  Sprechen Sie "J.B.Weld"? Or, if you have a sufficient # of old Visegrips, you can hold together almost anything. If there'dve been a Redneck in steerage, the Titanic would still be afloat.


                  1. re: JayL

                    This is the best response you have receive. A UDS is the way to go to build your own. you will get a solid smoker that will burn 12-14 hours on one load of lump charcoal and you can probably build it for under 100$. Here are instructions to building one.

                    Also, look up Ugly Drum Smoker on Facebook for plenty of ideas.

                    1. re: gaudreaur

                      The UDS isn't a cold smoking machine, but if you're wanting to create some smoked BBQ it is a great way to go.

                      I have heard of some folks going 20+ hours on one load of coals in the right weather.

                      I may build one at some point, but I have a fairly new WSM to wear out first.