How to: Build a Backyard BBQ Smoker from Common Materials (No Welding or Metalwork Required)

I like smoked foods. More than the average bear, I think. I mean, sure, slow smoked barbecue meats like ribs and brisket, but I particularly like other proteins (like fish or turkey), vegetables (leafy greens, beets, carrots), and snacks (nuts, cheeses, olives). Even cocktailsBut I don’t have room for a smoker. At least, not a nice one that would last a long time that I’d actually invest in. They’re big, designed to do several racks of ribs, or 3-4 pork butts, or a whole flock of chickens. And while the flavor can’t be beat, I simply can’t justify the floor space on my small back patio, which I use for everything from a summer office to natural-light photo studio to tiny veggie and herb garden to long-term storage.

But a homemade smoker that doesn’t take up anymore floor real estate than a foot stool, designed for meals for 2-6 people, and requires no welding? This I can handle. 

That’s exactly what Terrence Doyle set out to make, and he whipped up this dude for about $80 in materials, using a large aluminum steamer pot and a $30 Weber Smokey Joe grill

The results look a little something like this, and requires no more tools than a simple electric drill.

Check out the full smoker build at Serious Eats: No Tools? No Experience? No Problem. How I Hacked an Ace Barbecue Smoker

Oh, and if you’re interested in getting started with charcoal smoking, there are lots of other ways to go. I’ve had great success with the Smokenator insert on my 22.5″ Weber kettle grill, and the 14.5″ and 18.5″ Weber Smokey Mountains have stood the test of time.