If you want to know how to build a homemade pallet smoker, you're in luck! Here's a detailed tutorial from our sister site diyprojects.com on how you can start building a homemade pallet smoker and get smoking in no time!
Build A Homemade Pallet Smoker On A Low-Budget
– This post is courtesy of diyprojects.com and shared with permission –
In This Article:
- What You Need to Know Before Building a DIY Smoker
- What You Need for a Smokehouse Build From Pallets
- Tools You Will Need to Build a Smokehouse
- Directions and Instructions for Homemade Smokehouse
What You Need to Know Before Building a DIY Smoker
Yes, with a pile of old pallets, less than $100, and a bit of work, we built this really cool smokehouse. 3′ x 3′, it is big enough to smoke a whole animal or at least a few big trays of meat plus some links of sausage.
I love this project. It still amazes me what you can build with repurposed wood and how great it looks. We really wanted to make a big DIY smoker, but most of the plans we looked that showed you how to build a smokehouse were too small and/or they called for using quite a lot of expensive materials. We never found plans that really met our requirements, so we ended up making our own.
Our considerations for DIY smoker plans were:
- Size – it needed to be big enough to fit a lot of items at once and also smoke large items
- Cost– it needed to be as inexpensive as possible while still allowing you to smoke meat well
- Skill level required – it needed to be something you could do with basic woodworking knowledge
I don't know if you have ever smoked meat before, but it is a rewarding yet time-consuming task. Since your meat will be preserved, and therefore good for a long time, it makes the most sense to be able to smoke a lot at once. After determining how much wood we needed for a decent-sized smoker, we decided to go with repurposed pallets. For less than $100, we were able to put together this great smokehouse that can hold a ton of meat. Multiple racks for smoking as well as a place to hang sausages–you can even hang a whole deer in it if you like.
Here are the supplies you need to get started, and the instructions and video tutorial for this cool project:
What You Need for a Smokehouse Build From Pallets
- 20-30 pallets, deconstructed (need pallets? read this post about finding free pallets and this post about finding the safest pallets to use for your project)
- 2 1/2 inch screws *you should choose a good outdoor screw, we used plastic coated decking screws
- 1 1/4 inch screws
- Aluminum flashing
- Corrugated tin roof (4'x3′) *this must be raw metal, not galvanized
- Heavy duty tin foil
- Roll of aluminum screen
- Handle (for the door)
- Hinges (3)
Tools You Will Need to Build a Smokehouse
- reciprocal saw with a bimetal blade (used to take pallets apart)
- drill gun, preferably a cordless one
- drill bits 1/8 bit and countersink bit
- measuring tape
- metal/tin snips
- utility knife
- Skil saw or table saw
- staple gun
- safety glasses
- work gloves
DIY smoker: Supplies and tools you will need for the project
Deconstructed pallet pieces, cut to size, aluminum mesh screen, and corrugated tin for the roof. (Only use raw metal, not galvanized.)
Check out our ‘How To Build a DIY Smoker' project video for this DIY Smokehouse:
Directions and Instructions for Homemade Smokehouse
Step 1: Select Your Pallets and Deconstruct Them
Pallets come in many shapes and sizes. Each one is a little bit different, and some are in better shape than others.
There are a few challenges when you use free, repurposed materials. The wood you get is not consistent, often very dry, sometimes warped. It splits easily. It is far from perfect, but it is free. You will need 20-30 pallets for this project. We recommend you spend some time looking for ones without too many broken slats and without wood that is too visibly warped. It is fine if you do not do this or are not able to find perfect pallets (those do not exist). Your wood may be a little warped, but that is fine. Your smokehouse will not be perfect, but it will smoke meat. You will want to get a few more pallets than you think you need in order to get the best materials. Pallets usually range from 42″-48″ and 3'x3′ design should allow you to build this when you use pallets in this size range. The 2x4s in most pallets are typically 4′ – 5′ long and they have cutouts for a forklift. The cutouts are fine. If you need to, you can sister two boards together, which we explain further in our DIY Smoker Video.
Where To Get Pallets? Check out our article: Where To Get Free Pallets and Reclaimed Wood
How To Know If Your Pallets Are Safe? How To Tell If A Pallet Is Safe To Use
A reciprocal saw with a bimetal blade makes pallet disassembly much less work than a pry bar.
You place the blade under each slat and cut, leaving you with the 2×4 planks that are between the slats.
Step 2: Cut Clean Ends on Board and Make Cuts Below
You will want to make clean cuts on the ends of your pallet boards. You should not need to cut too much off the ends.
Once you have your pallets deconstructed, you need to make your cuts. Start by making clean cuts on the ends of all your pallet boards. You should only need to remove a little bit. We chose our 3′ design to accommodate for this loss of wood from your pallets.
Cut these from 2x4s
(part 1) 2 top braces front and back @ 33”
(part 2) Door frame 2 pieces @ 70”
(part 3) Door frame 2 pieces @ 29”
(part 4) Wall frame front 2 pieces @ 6’
(part 5) Wall frame back 2 pieces @ 5’ 6”
(part 6) Back frame 2 pieces @ 5’4” 1×1
(part 7) Shelf supports 8 pieces @ 33”
(part 8) Shelf frames 8 pieces @ 32 ¾”
(part 9) And 8 pieces @ 30 ½ “
Cut these from Pallet Panels
(part 10) Left side @ 36 ¼ “
(part 11) Right side @ 34 ½ “
(part 12) Door @ 35 ¾”
(part 13) Back @ 35 ¾”
(part 14) Roof @ 38”
(part 15) Vent covers 2 pieces @ 18” to 24”
(Part 16) Bottom front brace 1 piece @ 36”
Corrugated Metal roof 4’x3’
PREDRILL AND COUNTERSINK SCREWS:
Depending on the condition of your wood you may need to pre-drill and countersink ALL screws to ensure the wood does not crack. We highly recommend you do this when using repurposed wood.
Step 3: Layout and Secure Left And Side Rack Frames
You will be making two side frames here that also have cross pieces that will hold your racks. This DIY smoker utilizes a neat design – the racks make the structure itself, and you can even easily adjust the rack heights in the design. The parts that hold the racks in place end up being the ribbing that holds the frame in place. We marked ours at 24″, 36″, 44″ back, and 52″ so we could place bigger meats close to the fire and smaller meats further away. You can even add hooks at the top for sausage if you allow enough room to hang. The only important consideration is your firebox, which we set at 24″
NOTE: Make sure your firebox fits under the 24” bracing. Adjust your shelves as needed. These measurements are not set and can be placed at any usable height as long as you allow ample room for your firebox.
Step 4. Assemble And Secure
Take one each of (part 4- Wall frame front, 6’)and (part 5 – Wall back,5’ 6”) square the bottoms, and secure 4 pieces of (part 7- Shelf Support, 33″) at 24”, 36” 44” and 52” When securing parts 7 to part 5, leave a 1 ½” gap for part 6. You will repeat these same steps for the second side, leaving you with the frame for the right and the left side of your smoker.
Want to see the full details of this homemade pallet smoker?
Check it out here on diyprojects.com!
How To Build a DIY Smoker: Part Three
That's it, homesteaders! Now you know how to build a homemade pallet smoker you can also DIY at minimal cost! Here's to becoming even more self-sufficient with a simple homemade smoker out of pallets!
Are you going to build this homemade pallet smoker this weekend? Let us know below in the comments section below!
Editor's note: This post was originally published on August 3, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.