Meat Smoker Plans

This inexpensive weekend project will bring savory, slow-smoked meats straight from your backyard to your plate.

It all began when my son-in-law, Mitch, explained the mouthwatering virtues of smoking meat, something he does on a regular basis, particularly during football season. “You take ribs or a cheap cut of meat, marinate or put a rub on it, stick it in the smoker in the morning, and by evening, you’ve got a meal that’s out of this world,” he said. “Plus, you get to poke around with fire for an afternoon — you can’t lose.”

Illustration by Len Churchill

That sounded good to me. The only problem was, I didn’t have a smoker. What I did have was an old Weber charcoal grill, some scraps of 3/4-inch plywood, and a weekend without much on my agenda. So, I concocted my own smoker.

Here’s how I made my “Odds and Ends Smoker” — and how you can make yours.

Tools & Materials

  • Drill with 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Jigsaw with wood- and metal-cutting blades
  • Circular saw with straight-cutting guide (or table saw)
  • Basic hand tools
  • 18-to-26-inch kettle grill
  • 4-inch heat duct takeoff collars (2)
  • 4x4 sheet of 3/4-inch plywood, or equivalent material
  • 2-inch all-purpose screws
  • 1/2-inch sheet metal screws
  • Hinges (2)
  • Handle
  • Window latch
  • 4-inch flexible metal duct, 8 feet long
  • 4-inch elbow

Cut List

9/22/2021 6:55:29 AM

I would be a little cautious about recommending plywood for this application. The adhesives used to glue the layers together contain polymers consisting of some pretty nasty monomers (I work for a company that makes ingredients for the adhesives). At room temp these adhesives are stable and must meet guidelines for volatile off-gassing, but at the elevated temperature of a smoker there could be polymer decomposition resulting in off-gassing of carcinogenic compounds. The temperatures in this application may not get hot enough to be a concern, but it is something to consider.

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