DIY Build your own meat smoker

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by bethlaf, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    N.Ar
    i had posted this over on the barter board, and it was suggested i put it up here, so here it is , in case someone needs to know how to build a cheap and fairly simple smoker , out of an old fridge


    supply list
    old fridge,
    3-4 old oven grates
    bottom of old grill, or sheet of steel(24x24 in)
    12-16 L brackets (depends on how many grates/racks you have)
    4 3 inch hinges
    enough bolts to hold L brackets & hinges
    4 pieces of sheet metal , or wood for doors about 6 in x18 in


    taking an old refrigerator, remove all plastic interiors, this actually works best if you can get hold of a REALLLY old fridge,one with only one compartment since you wont need the mechanisms , it doesnt matter if it works,
    junkyard should have one for you
    **if you have several to choose from , you might want to try to find one with the freezer on the bottom , it works better for checking the coals but you do lose a bit of capacity for smoking , however, since you dont lose temp, by opening the door, it speeds up smoking a bit, and it does reduce flare ups

    ok , as i said, remove the old inside,plastic and any of the insullation,(this is honestly the hardest part, but if you happen to have a teen male, they love this part) since youre not saving it , you just need the metal shell, you dont have to worry about much getting "ruined"
    drill 5 1 inch holes in the bottom, on each side, left and right , looking at it screw a hinge , with a metal flap , for the door, over each section of holes,(actually i have used wood for these flap doors too, and that works ok, you may need to replace it after a few years though , and of course NEVER use treated wood !)

    ** to maintain temperature
    purchase an oven temp gage, you will need this to know what to maintain your temp inside , should be about 3-5 bucks at wally world, if you want to get fancy, you can cut a hole in the door,about 3/4 of the way up and mount it there, depends on your skill.

    drill 5 more holes on the very top of the smoker, or alternately along the top, on both sides ( i like this better, then if its windy, i can still use it )and install another set of doors over that

    build a fire on the inside, this is where an old grill works best, or old cast iron pot, ,otherwise if you have a spare sheet of steel lay that on the floor of the fridge before burning this will help to maintian the frige walls,
    using charcoal , and a goodly amount of starter fluid, build up a largish fire inside, this will take out the bits of insullation , and what not left behind from gutting it

    after its cleaned out, scrub the inside with a wire brush
    aand sweep out any junk left over
    then build yet another fire inside

    sweep and clean it out again

    then it should be ready to use ,
    save two or three of the metal grates , and heat them with it , unless you have old oven grates, in which case use them
    to mount them to be removeable , use L brackets, and heat treated bolts
    i usually put in 3 sets of brackets, one up near the top for hanging meats , and hams , one in the middle and one down low to use as a grill/quick smoker
    you can put in 4 racks , or even 5 , but you need to remember the more racks you put in the less you have air movement, so you need to be carefull not to over fill the racks if you bend up the inside ends of the l brackets, it helps a bit to hold the grate in place, in case you have a large piece of meat that wants to roll, or is hard to get to stay centered on the rack

    normally to smoke say a 6 lb pork roast , it takes about 2 1/2 hours on the low grill with interor temps maintained at 300-325 degrees

    good luck , i have built 3 of these, and im just a little ol girl without much talent lol, actually it sounds a heck of a lot harder than it is ........
    if you found a fridge, with about 10-15.00 bucks you can have a great smoker, ive even done bacon and hams in it . it takes some time and practice to get
    used to regulating temps and what not in it ...
    but its not too hard, and its a great outdoor smoker
    with 4 or 5 racks in it , you can smoke about 30-40 lbs of meat, great for a family bbq....or when you butcher the family animal smoked goat is pretty good, by the way...

    good luck !!
    if you start this week , you will have one ready for hubby for daddys day
    Beth
     
  2. Gimpy_Magoo

    Gimpy_Magoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kansas
    For those interested in more information about smokin and BBQ'n
    (One of my favorite subjects)

    http://www.bbqpits.com/

    http://bbq.netrelief.com/pits/metal...l_bbq_pit.shtml

    http://www.homebbq.com/duportal/for...id=117&for_id=8

    http://www.mikesell.net/smoker/

    http://www.ibiblio.org/lineback/bbq/troy.htm

    http://www.sybbq.com/four-foot-barbeque-smoker.html

    http://www.tommoney.com/how_to_build_a_smoker.htm

    http://www.americanroyal.com/s/static/bbq/index.htm

    http://www.rbjb.com/rbjb/rbjbboard/

    http://www.thesmokering.com/

    http://www.barbecuen.com/

    http://www.barbecuen.com/smoker.htm#firebox

    http://www.rbjb.com/rbjb/bbq.htm

    AND last but not least.
    http://www.kcbs.us

    Above is a collection of some of the information I have for BBQ Pits.
    I just finished building a pit out of a old 250 gallon farm tank. It works great but I am going to build another, a bit smaller so it fits better in the space the contest directors allow you. I'll probably build it out of a 500 gallon propane tank.

    Spend some time in the forums from some of the links I I posted here and you will gleen a huge amount of information ahout bbq pits. Both home built and commercial.

    If you looking for the top of the line BBQ pit, most would say it's built by KLOSE
    http://www.bbqpits.com/

    Prepare to spend Thousands on a trailer mounted BBQ pit. If you make one of find one cheap look for these features.
    Square firebox at least 18x18x18 with a heave grate and some way to sweep the ashes out while not disturbing the fire.

    1/4 inch steel wall thickness. Especially in the fire box. If not "burn through" will happen much much faster. That is the bottom of the firebox, through repeated hot cold hot cold, will eventually weaken and hole will develope. Your fire will burn right through the metal.

    Some way to take temprature readings at meat level without opening the doors.

    Some way of baffeling the heat into the cooking chamber coming from the firebox.

    at least a 3 inch chimney. Anything smaller chokes the draft and could result in creasote in your cooking chamber.

    Some sort of draft control (dampers on the firebox) You willl see some actually have dampers on the chimney. NEVER USE THIS!!!!
    Damping the chimney will reduce the flow of smoke, cool the fire and result in bitter tasting creasote in your cooking chamber and on your meat. Leave that sucker wide open. Adjust your fire at the fire box only.

    Know the difference between grillin' and BBQ'n
    (hint - grillin is what you are picturing right now when I say BBQ. hot an fast directly over coals or propane. BBQ'n is "low and slow" 212 to 250 degrees. It takes 8-14 hours to BBQ a good brisket and 4-7 hours for the best ribs on this planet.

    The Weber Smokey Mountian bullet type bbq is a perfect bbq'er and CHEAP!!!! It doesnt come on a trailer, it doeent look cool cause it's large. It just makes good bbq.

    Hope some of this helps.
    anything else let me know.

    Gimpy Magoo
    Team Stumblin' Bear BBQ.
     

  3. Just make sure that you do not use any old refrigerator grates in this construction, from that "old refrigerator":
    "bargain barbequers" were occasionally struck with cadmium poisoning due to cooking over open fires with refridgerator grates"
     
  4. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    colorado
    Gimpy, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one addicted to Q. You've listed a lot of my favorite sites! :D
    Thanks for the post Bethlaf.