If you’re a handy builder and can’t live without taste of authentically-smoked meat and cheeses, then you might be thinking about how to make a smoker. It may be easier than you ever thought and surprisingly fun. On the other hand, if you’re not the handy type, you can consider other options – such as electric smokers. This article will describe both.
The first thing you need to decide if you are building your own smoker is whether you want a fixed structure, such as a smokehouse, or a mobile appliance. You may be thinking about racks of delicious smoked meats hanging in an ample smokehouse, producing enough food to last all winter long, as people did in the old days. Or perhaps you are visualizing a capacious yet movable device that allows you to cook for a crowd but can be moved closer to your party guests, allowing you to socialize as you tend the food.
If you decide that you want a smokehouse, at first you have a little more to think about than just how to make a smoker. Contact your local authorities to see whether you have to comply with zoning regulations. It would be a shame to build a beautiful smokehouse and then have to alter or destroy it because someone made a law about its size or supposed effect on the neighborhood.
When you have ascertained that you will be in compliance, you an move on to the next step. Be sure you have enough space both for the smokehouse itself and to ensure that neither you nor your neighbors will have to contend with smoke blowing into your residences. Also, think about how much food you will want to smoke at a time, and what kinds. For example, will you be smoking mainly sausage links and cheeses, or whole turkeys and large cuts of meat? These considerations will determine the height, width and depth of your smokehouse.
Once you’ve decided upon the dimensions of your smokehouse, it’s time to begin construction. You can insulate the walls, but it’s enough to just use sheet metal. Some people pour concrete for the floor of their smokehouse, but as this can get expensive you may opt to just skip this step. The bare ground works fine as a floor. Once your walls are built, you need to add two vents. Cut a hole in one of the walls 12” from the ground for a double-wall heater-vent. Repeat this process on the opposite wall, but at the top of your structure. Put a cap on the top vent so you can control the airflow. Now install hooks, shelves and racks at the heights and sizes you will need. Now construct a firebox outside the smokehouse. You will connect it to the heater vent you installed 12” from the ground, to convey the smoke into the house. The size of the box and distance from the house are the variables you need to consider when building it: your goal is to maintain the internal temperature of the smoke house at 90 degrees with the top vent fully open, and 200 degrees with it fully closed. You will need a vent on the bottom and one on the top. The floor can just be the ground or you can pour concrete. Next, you have two options: you can have the fire in the bottom of the smoker or you can have a fire box outside the smoker with tubing that transports the smoke from the fire box to the smoker via tubing (dryer hose or other heat resistant hose) into the bottom vent of the smoker.
As far as mobile smokers are concerned, you can you almost anything: old refrigerators, 50 gallon drums, barrels, or bricks. You would use the same concepts as the permanent smokehouses, except you would be limited by the size of your device.
Now you know how to make a smoker. Not as hard as it seemed at first, right? However, if you are not this handy or energetic, you may be thinking that it seems like too much work for you. Perhaps there is an easier option.
The truth is that electric smokers available on the market today are much easier to use. They can keep a constant temperature, so you don’t have to keep checking the temperature yourself. You can use your energy deciding what rubs or seasonings to use and to make sure the beers are cold. Then, take the meat out of the smoker after a few hours.
Traditional or homemade smokers have a certain romance to them, but necessitate more work. You will have to keep your eye on the temperature, remember to add charcoal and/or wood chips, and still think about seasonings and making sure the beer is cold. Both homemade and electric smokers produce the same unforgettable quality flavor and texture, but the traditional smokers will take a little longer and require more attention.
Find More Smoker Articles