How to Build a DIY Backyard Smoker and Main Advantages

smoking meat

Before, every home had a smoker in the backyard. It was homemade and people used it as a food and meat smoker to preserve the food they made themselves. In time, people forgot about this and started sticking to the BBQ grill. It was a natural choice since they were more portable and convenient. However, these days people start to appreciate more and more the taste of smoked meat. Today we are going to have a look at how to do your own DIY backyard smoker and see a couple of its advantages.

DIY Backyard Smoker – Plans, Ideas, and Suggestions

1. Cinder Block Smokehouse

One alternative for a DIY backyard smoker is to make a cinder block one. First, you need to lay down several rows of blocks. The firebox should be found outside them. Install a pipe at the bottom to let the smoke in. The body of the smoker itself should be made by cedar. This type of wood contains natural oils that prevent rotting, so you don’t need to worry about that. Next, build an extended roof that would cover the fire set next to the smokehouse as well. Don’t forget to install a chimney to let the extra smoke get out.

The last thing you need to do is to build the firebox. For this DIY backyard smoker plan, you should get some brick and build it. Connect it to the pipe you set earlier. It would be a good idea to get a door for the fire box to close it when you’re using it. Install a door on the smoker itself as well. This type of DIY backyard smoker is perfect both for hot and cold smoking, so it’s a good plan to consider.

DIY backyard smoker made of wood and cinder

2. Cinder Block with Brick Fire House

If you choose a DIY backyard smoker made of cinder, you can go for this option. Perhaps the most resistant option, a smoker made entirely out of cinder blocks is not that hard to build. The first thing you need to do is to dig a 6 by 8 foot foundation for a cement footer. It’s better if you can elevate the smoker as much as possible so that the smoke will enter through the floor. Cover the foundation with soil.

Next, lay down 12 courses of cinder blocks on top the buried ones. For extra resistance, build a metal roof with a pitch that lets you install adjustable vents. If you want to go extra, you can install a digital thermometer, as well as a hydrometer, to help you monitor the atmosphere inside. Make sure you can read them from outside.

Lastly, you will need to build the firebox. Continue the same line of sturdy materials and build a foundation for it as well. Use brick and firebrick to complete it. A recommended size would be 40 inches by 4 feet, but you can do it as large or small as you want. Add a clay sewer pipe that connects the two buildings.

DIY backyard smoker backyard stone smoker

3. Steel DIY Backyard Smoker

Another material that represents a perfect choice when you want to build your own smokehouse is steel. First, make sure that you have a working welder in your home. A 115-volt wire-feed one is perfect. However, if you choose to use thinner metal, it would be better to gas weld. Begin by welding the ends first and try to keep any distortion to a minimum. Cut the holes for the doors.

Ask a local sheet metal shop to cut your pieces to the sizes you want if you can’t do it yourself. They can also roll the sections for you, but it might get quite expensive. Use any kind of steel you have, except for the galvanized one. Add piano hinges to keep the doors sealed. Choose to install wooden handles, since these will stay cool enough for you to touch. Secure them with 5/16 in. bolts, as well as brass spacers.

For the chimney, use a 3-in. chimney pipe or a 2 in. water pipe. Use the collars from a pipe union as nuts. Start the fire and make sure the metal is hot enough to burn off any cutting oil or mill scale left inside. When it cools down, wash it all and the cover the inside of the smoke chamber with a layer of vegetable oil to make sure it doesn’t rust.

DIY backyard smoker close up of meat hanging in the smoker

4. Mini Smokehouse

A mini smokehouse has the size of a mini refrigerator, as opposed to the large constructions we described earlier. The good thing about it is that you don’t need complex materials. Simply use some cedar sheets or other types of wood. They are more inexpensive and easy to find. The timber pieces, for instance, need to measure 5.5 x 20 in, but you can adjust them as you wish. You just need to build a tall case out of them and place a door on one of the sides.

Remember to cut a hole or leave an open space on the top to let the smoke out. Then, set some metal shelves like the ones you have in the refrigerator inside it. There you will put the meat or anything else you want to smoke. Though it’s not a permanent solution, you can use a low wattage soldering iron to make mesquite sawdust smolder. Test your DIY backyard smoker and see if it’s doing its job well. Finally, if you know how to build an outdoor kitchen with metal studs, you can place the smoker next to it for a change of style.

DIY backyard smoker various smoked foods

DIY Backyard Smoker Advantages – Why Build Your Own?

1. Control the Conditions Inside

You may say that you can do this with a store-bought smoker as well, which is true. However, you also get to choose the materials you use, which have an impact on the conditions inside. You can adjust the temperature and humidity at any time, which means your food will have the exact taste you want.

2. Have a Resistant Piece

We all know that some products on the market aren’t built with the best available materials. In case you choose a DIY backyard smoker, you can make sure that it will last at least a lifetime. Just look at the examples we showed you with the cinder blocks. They are sure to resist any kind of weather conditions, which is great, especially if you live in an area with harsh winters.

3. Save Money

Good smokers can be quite expensive on the market, especially if they’re top end. For this reason, you can save some money if you learn how to build a DIY backyard smoker. You can use the same quality materials and even ask for expert help if you don’t know how to do something. In any case, you will certainly pay less. Moreover, think about the fact that you won’t need to pay more for smoked food. You can just buy inexpensive, simple food and smoke it yourself as much as you want.

4. Control the Type of Smoke

When buying food that has been already smoked, you don’t know what type of wood they used when making it. This can be a problem since some types of wood don’t yield as much flavor as others. Moreover, perhaps you like a certain flavor, which can be hard to find on the market.

5. Quality Food

With all the additives and preservatives food sellers use nowadays, it can be hard to know what your food contains. If you smoke your own food, you can choose the best quality of meat, cheese, butter, etc. You can make it all natural or add commercial spices, depending on your taste. However, most people decide to build a smoker precisely because they want their own natural, tasty food.

6. Good for Parties

If you’re the kind of person that host barbecue parties often, a smoker is all you need. Besides grilling, smoking meat is one of the best ideas. However, you will need to prepare everything before your guests arrive. They will surely wonder at the great smoker you built yourself, so you’ll have an extra reason to brag about.

7. Winter Reserves

Besides cooking up for a barbecue party, another great idea for using your smoker is to prepare your winter reserves. Fill up your pantry with delicious meat and cheese, whether you like hot or cold smoking. There are several techniques and recipes you can try whenever you want to experiment with your smoker and surprise your family.


There are plenty of plans that help you set up your own DIY backyard smoker. You can build a smokehouse from cinder blocks, cedar or sheet metal. It all depends on your resources and on how much you plan on using it. All of them are quite sturdy and can last for tens of years. Finally, if you’re not convinced yet, you should consider some of its advantages. From spicing up a barbecue party to help you stock up your pantry for winter, a backyard smoker is a great addition to the home of any food lover.

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