Smoking is the process of cooking foods using indirect heat and wood smoke. Cooking takes longer time than grilling and barbecuing since it cooks food at a very low temperature. Meat and cheese are usually cooked in this type of cooking. It takes several hours to finish the cooking process. Since a smoker costs quite expensive if you buy it at the retail store, you can make a homemade one. You will only spend lower than $50 if you make your own. The use of a trash can as the cooking vessel is one of the most popular homemade smoker fire box designs. Add to that, you can also gather all other materials such as the electric hot plate, wood chip box, grill grate, file, drill and meat thermometer. Now, you can proceed to other essential steps.
Step #1: Drill a hole at the bottom of the can.
On the side of the trash can near its bottom, drill a hole that is 1.5-inch diameter. Smooth its edges with the use of a file.
Step #2: Place the hot plate inside the trash can.
After making the hole, you can now place the hot plate inside the trash can facing upward. Insert the cord through the drilled hole on the side of the trash can.
Step #3: Proceed to placing the wood chip box on top of the hot plate.
This is where you will place the wood chips later on when you smoke your foods. You may use wood chips such as maple, hickory or cherry wood. You can also use apple wood or mesquite. It will really be your decision when it comes to this matter. This depends according to your own choice but be sure these chips are soaked in water within 30 minutes before using them.
Step #4: Lower the grill grate.
It’s time to lower the grill grate into the trash can making it a point that it is secured against the sides of the can. This is to make sure they will not fall while you are cooking or your food will turn out to taste like burnt wood.
Step #5: Start grilling your food to test your homemade smoker fire box.
You are now ready to smoke your food whether it’s a meat or a cheese. You can now turn on the hot plate as soon as you have placed the food on top of the grill grate. In order to trap the smoke for better cooking, cover the trash can with its lid. Check the temperature of the meat periodically with the use of a thermometer so you won’t overcook it. You have to check also the internal temperature of the smoker.
Try to maintain the temperature of the smoker within 220-230 degrees Fahrenheit while smoking. Make sure that the food is thoroughly cooked before removing it from the smoker. Don’t leave the smoker fire box unattended and for your safety have a fire extinguisher around during smoking process. Enjoy your homemade smokers!