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Advice on building a cold smoker

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Hi all,

Its been a while.

I bought a stainless steel commercial fridge with a view to converting it to a cold smoker.

Spent a small fortune on all the bits and started on the process- man it was tough going on trying to cut 100mm holes through that steel!

That was about a year before Covid and Mrs T has had enough of our garden feature.

So I thought I would build my own simple smoker very similar to the one I already own. basically a fire chamber ( with a maze smoker in it) a length of pipe fitting into a wooden box.

My design will have a small kettle bbq as the fire chamber, flexible ducting into the bottom of the smoking chamber with a "chimney" on the top.

Now reading lots of posts about materials I see that untreated wood is ok but stainless steel is best. so I am toying with the idea of cutting panels out if the fridge and using that for the "inside" of the smoker box.

Then I would clad it in T&G 

This (at long last) is where I would like some advice!

As The T&G is on the outside can it be treated to protect it?

I was also wondering whether to put a frame between the steel and the wood . This would leave a gap which i wondered about filling insulation  to keep the chamber cooler in the summer months.

Any Thoughts on these ideas?


Thanks in advance

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Why don’t you look at commercially available ones and then just build one you like the look of. I don’t think there can be no right or wrong way as trial and error is what makes it a fun hobby.


Have you thought how you’d join the stainless plates together? It’s a hard metal to work with but you could use thin RSA and rivet the plates to it, it would be quite heavy but with the wind yesterday would be good.

You could then clad the outside like you said with T&G for a smokehouse look.

Edited by smash
Rivet spelling
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Hi Smash.

Thanks for the reply.

My current smoker is similar to this one

WOODEN SMOKER SMOKEHOUSE - Garden BBQ - Handmade - Fish + Meat + Cheese New | eBay

So i had originally planned on using the fridge as a similar design, only real difference is that the smoke came from the bottom side and left via a chimney the opposite side at the top.

I have since realised the fridge is far to big ( and yes the steel is a bugger to work with- though the inside steel is much thinner)

So my plan is to use a similar design to the original box but to line it in steel. 

I would make the roof fixed with a chimney and the front panel a hinged door.

I hadnt really thought that much of how I would fix the plates together. I was thinking I could butt them up together as they would be screwed to a wooden frame. Then maybe use a food save sealant? or maybe oven seals

Then to complicate matters I wondered if I use the smoker as a hot smoker as its steel lined  (i suspect not) and the temp only gets to around 80deg c

Its all good fun eh?


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  • 1 month later...

A cold smoker is used for food that needs to be smoked for an extended period of time, but doesn't require the cooking process of a barbecue. To build such a cold smoker, you need a 55-gallon drum, an electric drill and a saw, several coils of metal grill or stove grate, and metal ductwork or metal pipe. The 55-gallon drum needs to be cut in half side to side, and the top and bottom portions of the drum need to be sealed with the metal grill or stove grate. The metal pipe or ductwork needs to be sized to fit snugly in the center of the drum, and it should be long enough to extend over the top of the drum. When the pipe or ductwork is in place, it needs to be curved downward so that food can fit on top of it. The pipe or ductwork needs to be sealed with metal duct sealer. Duct sealer can be found at most hardware stores.

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