Every person going off-grid should consider building themselves a smokehouse. This was my project last month and I am truly sorry that I waited so long to build one. We are already enjoying smoked fish and have big plans for jerky once deer season begins.
Here are some easy steps to help you build your own smokehouse in any backyard so you too can start enjoying fresh, smoked meat that is free from all the harmful additives found in most foods from the store today. Happy Building!
Barbecues aren’t really about cooking food, they are actually a DIY project which results in eating some deliciously cooked meat. You can make your own smokehouse to enjoy tasty home-smoked food using just a 55-gallon steel drum together with parts that can be purchased in any hardware store, and here are our instructions to get you started:
Assembling The Air Intakes
Use 3/4” threaded pipe together with fittings. You then connect the 90-degree elbow the to close nipple and the 24” long pipe to the elbow. Put a mounting plate and u-bolt over the pipe and then attach a brass ball valve. Once you have hand tightened all the parts, you can then use a vise to clamp the elbow firmly while securing the connections using a wrench.
Making A Handle For The Lid
Hand tightens a half inch close nipple into a flange pipe fitting and the align the reducing elbow’s 0.5” opening over that nipple, turning the elbow on it. Carefully thread a 6” long piece of quarter inch pipe into that elbow and then tighten up the connection using pliers. When you have slipped the spring handle carefully over the quarter inch pipe, you then thread a cap onto the end of the pipe thus holding its handle firmly in place. Later, you will bolt the whole assembly to the lid.
Constructing A Fire Basket
To make the fire basket, you will need a piece of expanded metal that measures 12” x 48”. You can cut it by mounting the metal to plywood using some drywall screws, marking all of the dimensions and then making the cuts using a cutoff wheel and angle grinder. You can then mark the metal down its length to 2.5” from its bottom, align your charcoal grate onto the mark then roll up the metal to form a cylinder.
At the point where the metal begins to overlap, you can secure your cylinder with three-quarter inch stainless steel washers, nuts and bolts. Put 2 bolts over the grate and one bolt under it, then you need to evenly space out the other 3 bolts around the circumference of the basket. Form a handle using stainless steel wire and thread the end through the basket, twisting the wire backward onto itself. Repeat on the basket’s other side.
Preparing The Barrel
You will need a food-grade 55-gallon drum which has an open head. Buff the inside of the drum using sandpaper or a scouring pad and then mark a circle which is 11.5” in diameter on its lid. Use a step but and drill 8 0.5” holes which are spaced equally around the outside of the circle. Thread a quarter inch pipe plug in every hole and then put the handle assembly onto the lid. Mark the locations of the 4 bolts, drill using a step bit and then bolt your handle onto your lid.
Mark on the locations of the holes to represent the grill supports, the thermometer and the air intake and begin everyone using a center punch before boring 1” holes using a step bit. Thread in a 3/4” close nipple into each one to test it and then use a 1/4” bit to drill the holes to support the grill. Place the close nipple into every hole and add the air intakes, rotating the entire assembly.
You will need to vertically align these intakes, marking the locations of the U-bolts and drilling where the marks are to slip faceplates onto each side of the wall of the barrel. Next, tighten the U-Bolt nuts and secure the air intakes onto the base of the barrel by threading pipe lock nuts onto the close nipples. You can then create supports for the grill with quarter inch bolts, nuts and washers and attach your thermometer.
Firing Up Your Grill
Before starting to cook, you will need to put untreated charcoal into your fire basket and ignite it before attaching the lid. You should adjust the intakes, ensuring they work properly and then allow the fire to burn as hot as possible in order to season your barrel and to remove impurities.
Once the dry run is finished, you can add up to 12lbs of charcoal into your fire basket together with three large chunks of wood to give your meat flavor like hickory or maple. Put your basket into the smoker and put the grill onto the supports. Put on the lid, open the intakes and heat until your thermometer has reached 350 degrees, then close all of the valves save one. Adjust your intakes until the temperature reaches 250 degrees.