How to make a Smoker from a Trash Can

August 12, 2004 | Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

GeekDIY has a nice little project: How to make a Smoker from a Trash Can. It’s very similar to Alton Brown’s cardboard box smoker, but a little more refined and permanent. Interestingly enough, when Alton Brown was interviewed on NPR, he actually constructed very similar smoker. I could really use some smoked salmon, I’ll have to think about building one.


Comment from Kevin VandeWettering
Time 8/13/2004 at 1:03 am

You probably aren’t old enough to remember our grandfather, but he had one made out of an an old steel “Norge” reefer. I only remember because I was 4 and you were two and I was trying to smoke you :-).

Just kidding, I got stuck in the thing. What you need for a smoker is a sterile dry place that you can build up some wood smoke. There is a difference between cold and hot smoking. Grandpa’s gizmo, had a 5 gallon drum, with a pipe that fed the reefer. It didn’t cook the meat and you could leave stuff in it for about 3 weeks to smoke. You had to brine the meat and then cook to taste later. It left turkeys looking almost blood red after a months smoke in maple.

A “hippie”, I used to know had about the same setup. He used it for his homegrown turkeys.

A month or so in the smoker…. MMMMMMM!.


BTW- the word-wrap doesn’t work right on this window

Comment from Mark
Time 8/13/2004 at 11:14 am

I was pretty young, but of course remember that Grandpa Busch did indeed have a relatively nice smoker. It’s too bad I was only gumming food when he was still alive.

If you’d like wordwrap to look right on this site, don’t hit any returns while typing in stuff until you really want a paragraph break. Then it will look at least close to correct. I could do some additional work to change that behavior, but it’s been a low priority.

Comment from Dan Lyke
Time 8/14/2004 at 9:02 am

I’ve got a wet smoker, and it makes absolute hash of fish. Does hellaciously good turkeys and pork shoulders, though.

Like this system, the hot plate method will keep the whole thing cool enough that it won’t burn the galvanization off the trash can and poison me, and makes the temperature controllable. Cool.