How to Build a Pellet Smoker

A pellet smoker can be a nice way for you to enjoy a nice cookout with your family and friends. Sometimes, it might be your desire to have a home built smoker rather than buying one from a store. In such a case, you will have to get handy with your tools to come up with the best pellet smoker. That is what we want to look at in this guide on how to build a pellet smoker.


Here are some of the tools and supplies you will require to build your pellet smoker at home.

  • A 55-gallon drum
  • Reciprocating saw
  • A dishwasher detergent
  • Weed torch
  • Pressure washer
  • Paint
  • Handles
  • Drill
  • Metal caps
  • Pellet starter

Step by Step Guide

  • If the drum was previously used for other applications, then cleaning is necessary. Using a dishwashing detergent together with warm water, it should be possible to clean the oil from the drum. It should be a drum without a liner for better application later when heat is introduced.
  • Once the drum is effectively cleaned, then proceed to apply some heat to it. This helps to remove any more materials remaining inside and stripping the paint on the outside. A weed burner should be perfect for this job.
  • With the pressure wash, clean the drum for a few minutes to effectively wash down any of the debris that might be remaining in the drum. If you do not have access to a pressure washer, take it to a car wash for this step.
  • It is time to paint the drum by using the high temperature paints. Considering that the smoker will be working at a high temperature, the paint needs to be resistant to that. Also paint the lid and add some artistic touches to the drum.
  • Next, you have to coat the entire drum with cooking oil. This protects its surface from corroding in future. Add a bag of charcoal to the drum and light it. Let the charcoal smoke for a while. Once the drum has cooled, pick three spots on the bottom of the drum to make air holes. Make sure these holes are evenly spaced. Cover these holes with metal caps once you have drilled them out.
  • Place an old baking pan down and then followed by a pellet chimney starter. At the top, add the cast iron pan. This will act as the surface where you place your meat for smoking.
  • Close to the top of your drum, add four bolts and brackets at even spaces to hold the grill in place. Also, proceed to install the two handles on the lid so that you can have a colder surface when you need to open the lid. At this point, your DIY smoker is ready for use. Simply fill it with pellets and light them to get started.

Using Your Smoker

At this point, you are eager to start smoking your meat at home. There are a few things you have to consider before using the smoker. Here are some considerations.

  • Always choose the right cut of meat. The meat that you choose is going to affect the how the final smoked meat tastes. The meat should have a bit of fat content. This makes it great for smoking as the meat will absorb the flavors leaving you with a flavorful meat in the end.
  • The type of wood pellets that you pick can also impact the final taste of the meat. It is the reason you should select the best wood depending on your recipe. If you choose wisely, then you should end up with the best tasting smoked meat.
  • You have to manually check the temperature and estimate the cooking times. This is because it is a DIY pellet smoker, so it will not have a built-in thermometer. You can simply use a meat probe to check the internal temperature. Keep checking on the meat depending on the recipe you are cooking.


This is not the only way that you can build a pellet smoker. Depending on your skill, you can make it as diverse as possible. Also, it will depend on the supplies available to you. However, the method shared in this guide is what you need to make a basic smoker. As you can see, it is not hard at all. Just follow the steps and you should be good to start smoking your meat.

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