10 Awesome Smoker Grills for Your BBQ
While barbecuing is fun and delicious, smoking meat is an art. Some would say that smoking is “real barbecuing”. You take, generally, tougher, fattier pieces of meat and cook them slowly over four, six or even twelve hours. The fat slowly renders out as the meat becomes tender and juicy. The smoke penetrates the meat, giving it a rich aroma and flavor. Smoked meat is juicer, more tender and far more flavorful than regular barbecue.
Ready to try smoking your own meat? Fortunately, making a smoker can be as easy as placing a cast iron dutch oven or ceramic pot over your grill. Here are ten of the best smoker grills we’ve seen, most of which are easily built at home.
1. Cheap, DIY Smoker Grills
Building your own smoker doesn’t get much simpler than this. You can substitute a variety of materials for each part of the smoker. Do what this fellow did, and use whatever you have laying around the property. Burying the grill partway in the ground provides insulation. Note that this design can be used as either a smoker or a regular BBQ, depending on where you place your coals. If you’re up early you can start a pork shoulder smoking all day, but if you’re in a hurry you can just throw some steaks on the grill and have dinner in ten minutes.
2. Deluxe Smoker Design
You could build a simple smoker out of left over construction materials, or you could design one that can feed an army and keep everyone dry and warm at the same time. This beautiful smoker has room to smoke a nearly a whole hog if you cut it up, and the roof provides shelter so you can keep smoking even during nasty weather. If you love smoking meat, consider building yourself a comfortable, easy to use and spacious smoker like this one.
3. Cedar Smokehouse Design
This is one of the more classy and picturesque smoker designs we found. It is made of beautiful cedar and has a covered space to store wood. You can’t see it in this picture, but there are two options for smoking. You can build a fire right under the smokehouse where the cement blocks are to hot smoke a brisket or pork belly. There is also another fire box beneath the stored wood, several feet from the smokehouse where you can build a fire if you want to cold smoke. Cold smoking is a great way to preserve meat, and cold smoked cheeses or even mushrooms are delicious. The best thing about this smokehouse? It was a built by an enthusiastic amateur. To see his step-by-step instructions check out his website here.
4. 55 Gallon Drum Smoker
Perhaps the most common way people build their own smokers is using a 55 gallon drum. There are many ways to go about it. You can make a simple, no-weld drum smoker by removing part of the drum and building a grate into it. Or you can make a fancier smoker like this one. It has an Automatic Temperature Control device so you can perfect the art of smoking each type of meat. If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of installing an ATC, you can also place a few holes in the bottom of the smoker that will allow you to adjust the draft and thus the temperature of your fire.
5. Simple Wood Smoker Design
Here is a simple, cabinet style smoker that is easy for anyone with a little bit of carpentry skills to build. Doesn’t it look delicious in there? As this smoker demonstrates, you don’t need a giant smoker in order to prepare a lot of meat at once. This guy has sausages, ribs and chicken all cooking together. All you need are a few racks, some quality wooden boards and a small bit of stovepipe for the chimney. Heck, if you start early you could probably get this smoker built and smoking in time to make pulled pork for dinner.
6. Really Cheap DIY Smoker Grills
Did we say the last smoker was simple? This one is REALLY simple. All you need is a stainless steel pot and some plant containers. Inside the bottom container (made of old pallets) is the steel pot, where the fire is built. It has a metal rack hanging from it, where you place the meat. Top the whole set-up off with a terra cotta pot and you’re ready to go. There’s no chimney needed, as the pot already has a drainage hole in the bottom. Simple, cheap and effective. Smoking meat is always delicious and can be really easy. Just don’t expect to use that steel pot in the kitchen again.
7. DIY Smoker Grill
Do you have a BBQ grill but really want to be smoking meat? This guy turned his BBQ grill into a smoker, and a mobile one at that. Granted, this project will take some serious welding skills, but at the end of the day you’ll have a smoker to beat any on sale at Lowe’s or Home Depot. You can still use the grill for regular burger cooking, plus you have the power to wow your Fourth of July party with slow smoked brisket.
8. Brick Smoker Design
You can also design a smoker that is built right into the wall of your house. This is another simple cabinet smoker design, but it is surrounded by brick for extra insulation. Multiple racks allow you to smoke lots of meat all at once. One of the tastiest ways to enjoy your smoker is to cook the Thanksgiving bird in it.
9. Smoking Barrel
Here’s another way to turn an old 55 gallon drum into a smoker. All you need is a stand, a chimney and to cut a door into the barrel. This one doesn’t seal perfectly, but it doesn’t really matter. However, it is important to be able to monitor the temperature inside your smoker. Installing a high quality, high temperature thermometer in the barrel will help you adjust for each type of meat or style of smoking. Hotter is faster, but slower is more tender and flavorful.
10. Beautiful Stone BBQ Smoker
If you have the skill, time and materials, there is no limit on your smoker design. Take this beautiful stone barbecue and smoker with tiered edges and a stone patio. Its open front will allow some smoke to escape, but plenty will reach the grill for nice, slowly cooked juicy meat. This open, spacious porch is a great family gathering place. Since smoking is a slow process that requires frequent checking by the chef, why not make your smoker a place that the whole party wants to hang out?
How to Build a Smoker
Ready to build your own smoker? Here are some great smoker designs and step-by-step plans for building them.