A smoker is a great cooking tool to have about the place, and so easy to build.

Making a smoker is not at all hard. You basically need a fire area, whose smoke and heat travels up to the cooking area. It is a great and delicious way to cook meat.

The smoker that we did here is made of junk and set into a hill. You can change the design to fit your own place.

One of the best smoked meats is undoubtedly pork. Check out these articles if you’re interested in raising pigs, butchering at home, or makin’ bacon.

Materials & Tools

A 55 gallon metal barrel

A piece of stove pipe


A grill

A piece of heavy metal for the lid



Pic axe

Metal saw


Step 1: Stove pipe
  1. Pick a spot you want to build your smoker. To follow this design, you’ll want it set into a hill.
  2. Level off two areas, one uphill, the other downhill.
  3. Dig a slight trench in between the two.
  4. Set your 6″ stove pipe into this trench, so that the top clears the top levelled area and the bottom ends 6″ above the bottom level area.


Step 2: Firebox
  1. Dry stacking the bricks, build a V shaped box, with two side walls beginning either side of the stove pipe and fanning out, and a bridge over the sides. It need not be very tall, enough to build a fire within it.
  2. With bricks, build a small retaining wall to either side of the firebox, to keep dirt from the hill back.
  3. Fill in behind the bricks with dirt, so the ground above the firebox is level.


Step 3: Barrel
  1. Lay bricks in a circle around the top part of the stove pipe, so that the barrel fits inside them.
  2. Cut the top and bottom off the barrel and place it inside the circle of bricks.
  3. Fill in around the barrel with dirt.
  4. Stack bricks around any exposed part of the stove pipe and any part of the hill that needs retaining. Back fill with dirt.


Step 4: Grill
  1. Screw a couple of pieces of metal to the inside of the barrel where you want your grill to sit. Or you can just bend the barrel in just below the grill, so that it cannot fall in.
  2. Set the grill inside the barrel.
  3. Place the meat you wish to smoke on the grill. You can always put another grill in there if you need more space, in which case put the thicker pieces of meat on the lower rack.


Step 5: Usage
  1. Start a fire in the firebox, using mesquite, oak or apple wood. It’s okay if it’s a little green, as it is the smoke you want.
  2. Put a rub of whatever spices you want on the meat and place it on the grills.
  3. Put the lid on top of the barrel.
  4. Keep the fire going for as long as it takes for the meat to reach the required temperature with a meat thermometer. This is often the better part of the day.


There’s nothing quite like fresh smoked meat. It is cooked so slowly that the flavor permeates the whole chunk, while keeping it succulent and tender. People often come and visit us when they see smoke rising from the smoker.