Build your own homemade BBQ smoker for great tasting smoked meats with this easy and affordable homemade smoker.
Click here to view the GhettoQue! This video shows you how I do chicken in my “Garbecue” formerly known as the GhettoQue.
The First Affordable Homemade BBQ Smoker
When I was young and we moved to Washington state, my father was looking for a new business venture since he sold his old business back in California. One such business he was looking into purchasing was a smoked salmon plant on the coast. My dad was an avid outdoorsman in his youth and was really into fishing. One thing many fishermen in the Northwest love doing is smoking the salmon they catch. These factors sparked my father’s interest in creating his own smoker to smoke salmon.
How To Build A Smoker
One day, dad showed up at home with a 30-gallon non-galvanized garbage can, an electric heating element, and some other various BBQ items. When I asked what he was doing, he said he was going to smoke some salmon. Being a smart-ass 14-year-old, I quickly devised that garbage can fish didn’t sound very appetizing. While I went back to my room, my dad set to work putting the smoker together. He punched a hole in the bottom of the smoker so that the electric plug for the heating plate could fit through. He then found an old pan to put the smoke chips onto the heating element. Just above that, he put a drip pan and above that he secured a barbecue grate about halfway up the can. He also punched a hole in the can and attached a thermometer. After the smoker was put together he set to work on a brine for the fish. The next day he set the fish in the smoker at about 150 degrees and left it alone for about 6 hours. The fish turned out fantastic and I was in awe! Dad had done an excellent job not only smoking the fish but also in silencing a 14-year-old teen.
Kicking Myself Now
Several years ago I purchased a popular electric smoker and I used it for years on my own fish. I only smoked fish in that smoker because the flavor of fish can be strong and I didn’t want to mix red meat with my fish. I made some really excellent fish throughout the years. Then earlier this year I moved onto my RV and got rid of my fish smoker. It was old and since it wasn’t very versatile (only used for fish) I thought it would be better in a new home so I gave it to a friend. I regret that to this day.
My Version Of The Affordable Homemade Smoker
In the past 3 months, we’ve been staying in an RV park where every other RV’er has a smoker on their site. This got me thinking about getting another smoker so that I can start doing more meats than just fish. I started shopping around and looking at the various smokers on the market. I even came upon this Cobb grill that looked great and it’s on the wishlist now.
Instead of spending a lot of money I didn’t have or buying the cheapest smoker out there with poor reviews, I began to think about what I could do to have a better barbecue experience while living in my RV. Then it hit me, Dad’s garbage can smoker! The first affordable homemade smoker! This was something I could build for a fraction of the cost, does an excellent job, and will hold a lot of meat. Since I want to try smoking a big ole brisket or a turkey, I wanted something large enough to hold these cuts of meat.
So I set out to build my own affordable homemade smoker. Here is the result of my homemade smoker. I’ve dubbed it the “Garbecue” and it makes some of the best chicken and pork I’ve ever tasted.
Parts To Build An Homemade Smoker
It is a pretty simple design. Here is the equipment you will need.
- 1 non-galvanized 20 to 30-gallon metal garbage can.
- 1 barbecue heating element
- 1 smoker pan
- 1 grill grate
- 2 thin metal bars
- 1 barbecue temperature gage
Aside from that, you will need a drill to drill out the holes. You could also use a saw for metal to cut the opening for the heating element. I ended up just using my drill and it didn’t turn out all the pretty, but hey, it is a garbage can, how pretty do you really want it?
Assembling The Homemade Smoker
To put it together, just out the hole for the heating element, then drill a hole on top and four on the sides. The side holes should line up. Then place the metal bars through the side holes. This will hold up the grill grate or any other pans you might use in the smoker. Place the heating element in with the control on the outside, then place the smoker pan on top of the element (make sure the pan is safe to do so). Then place the grill grate on the bars and you are ready to plug it in and start smoking. It is so quick and easy you will wonder why you have not tried it before.
Check out this amazing chicken I made using this smoker. One of many great smoked meals I have enjoyed from my affordable homemade smoker.
Happy Backyard Barbecues!