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Thread: First homemade smoker. Can I hot smoke in this thing??

  1. #1

    Default First homemade smoker. Can I hot smoke in this thing??

    Hi guys,

    I am in the process of building a smoker from an old fridge. This is my first build and to be honest, I don't really know what I'm doing so feel free to suggest anything. I don't have any vent holes yet, so I gotta get on that as well...

    The inside was plastic and fiberglass insulation so I gutted the whole thing and was left with a nice metal box.

    IMG_4855 by
    Jonathan Horng, on Flickr

    IMG_9775 by Jonathan Horng, on Flickr

    IMG_5851 by Jonathan Horng, on Flickr

    I decided to line the walls with some plywood, and the bottom part with some aluminum trays.
    And this is where I am hoping I did not mess up. Not a big deal if I need to remove the wood, but am wondering, Can I hot smoke in this thing?

    IMG_0754 by Jonathan Horng, on Flickr

    FullSizeRender-7 by Jonathan Horng, on Flickr

    I was hoping I could put the charcoal bowl I had in my brikman charcoal smoker at the bottom of this and use it as a charcaol smoker.
    Or would it be better to just get a hot plate burner?

    IMG_1621 by Jonathan Horng, on Flickr

    IMG_7435 by Jonathan Horng, on Flickr

    Thanks for looking! And if any of you could tell me:

    - Can use charcoal in an enclosed metal box, or in a stainless steel bowl?
    - Is it safer/better to use hot plates?
    - Can I hot smoke in this thing at approx. 200 degrees?

    Thanks and feel free to suggest anything.
    Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

  2. #2
    Member slimm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    shoshone idaho


    Hey Soda, how's it going?

    I have built a smoker or two out of old friges,
    best way I have found is to get one that is metal on the inside then just remove the motor and compresser
    drll a half inch hole up high in the back attach some stainless or aluminum screen over the hole to keep bugs out,
    then get a hot plate set it in the bottom use a small cast iron skillet to put your wood chips in.
    Also wire a pie plate to your bottom rack that protects your skillet from drippings and yer good to go.
    it really makes a nice smoker,
    and will last a long time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013


    I have a brinkman smoker and use charcoal brickets for my heat source. I use a small charcoal grill for my charcoal burner, about 14 brickets keeps my 16x16x36 tall smoker at about 170 degrees when the outside temp is around 70 degrees. I have to put charcoal in the smoker about every hour or so labor intensive plan on smoking for 8 to 12 hours depending on how you like you fish. I drilled holes in the bottom of the grill to shake out the charcoal ash. As long as you have a metal bottom on your smoker there should not be a problem. As a precaution though keep the smoker off anything that can catch on fire and a little way away from the house. 1 more thing and I am just guessing you will probable burn 2 to 3 pounds of charcoal an hour for your smoker.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Bakerton, WV


    No plastic and with wood, i would say yes you can.

  5. #5
    Member KantishnaCabin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012


    Great job on the smoker. It looks perfect. The only thing I can see that you would need is some adjustable vent holes on the top and bottom. If you are planning on hot smoking with charcoal you will need to control the air flow through the smoker in order to control the temperature. And you should add a thermostat. An 1/8 hole about 3/4 up the door and a standard cooking type needle thermometer work great. I use a charcoal starter chimney as the burner unit in mine. They are awesome, they have a handle and because the its a column instead of a bowl you can use less charcoal.

  6. #6
    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Chugiak, Alaska


    Looks great, and what an awesome way to reuse something that would otherwise be going to the dump. I would put a couple paver bricks on the floor to keep the heat away from the aluminum. I don't think it would hold up well to too many burn cycles. Try it with charcoal in whatever you have handy. Just as a precaution though, keep it away from the house.

    Did the fridge come with racks?

  7. #7
    Member Deep Woods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014


    I made mine out of an old upright freezer. Cut a 2 inch hole in top at the rear and use a piece of ceramic tile to regulate the opening there (high class stuff..ya know). Drilled a small hole in the door to insert a thermometer. I took a steel pot and welded some legs on it to put the wood in. The interior of this old freezer was metal and it already had the wire racks.

    A finished batch of hickory smoked, whitetail deer, link and spicy

    Smoking some Carp


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