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How to Build a Meat Smoker Out of Wood

Chris Clinton/Lifesize/Getty Images

Things You'll Need:

  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Level
  • 20 2 x 8-inch boards
  • 20 1 1/2 x 1 1/2-inch boards
  • Two 2 x 4-inch boards
  • Two 1 x 3-inch boards
  • Wood screws
  • Roofing screws
  • 2 hinges
  • Sheet metal
  • Metal grating


  • Never used galvanized metal or treated, painted or finished wood in your smokehouse. When heated, all of these things will emit noxious fumes that will contaminate your meat.

Smoking in a wooden smoker is a unique way to enhance and add flavor to meat and fish. Smoking meat is a highly rewarding process and smoked meat can be enjoyed all year round. There is nothing like the smell of smoked meat in the air, and using a smokehouse in your backyard is an exciting way to make food for family and neighborhood get-togethers. With the proper materials and tools, a simple wood smoker can easily be made on your own.

Build a Six-Foot, 40-Square-Inch Smokehouse

Create the sidewalls of the smokehouse using 2-inch by 8-inch boards. Use five 6-foot-long boards for each wall. Attach the sidewall boards by screwing them to horizontal 1 1/2-inch by 1 1/2-inch framing boards at the top and bottom. Attach one vertical framing board on what will be the back edge of each sidewall. This framing board will be used for attaching the back wall.

Create the back wall using 2-inch by 8-inch boards. Use six 6-foot-long boards. Attach framing boards to the top and bottom. Cut these framing boards 3 inches shorter than the width of the wall and center them so there is a 1 1/2-inch gap on either side so they will fit inside of the framing boards on the sidewalls.

Assemble and screw together the sidewalls and back wall. Secure the front end by inserting and screwing on 2-inch by 4-inch cross-brace boards. Place one board at the top and one board at the bottom. Notch the boards so they will fit around the framing boards on the top and bottom of the sidewalls.

Overlay the front of the cross-brace boards at the top and bottom of the door opening with 1-inch by 3-inch boards. Screw the overlay boards so they are flush with the top and bottom edges and a bit of the 2-by-4 underneath is exposed. This will provide a frame for inserting and attaching a door.

Line the inside of the sidewalls with four 1 1/2-inch square shelf support boards for each wall. Space them evenly down the entire length of each sidewall. Use a level to ensure they are even.

Create the door using 2-inch by 8-inch boards. Use five boards cut to fit between the overlay boards. Connect the door boards together with three framing boards placed at the center of the door and positioned in a Z formation. Attach the door to the smokehouse with two hinges.

Create the roof with a steel sheet cut 4 or 5 inches larger than the width of the smokehouse. Position the sheet so that there is a bit of overhang on every side. Secure the roof with roofing screws.

Make ventilation holes by drilling a 2-inch-wide hole near the top of each sidewall, just under the roof. Also drill 2-inch-wide holes near the bottom of each sidewall.

Create shelves with non-galvanized metal grating material or steel sheeting. Place them on the shelf supports.

Put your smokehouse on a stable, level stone or concrete surface. Place the burner and wood chip pan at the bottom. Any tubes for an external tank or burner can be fed through a ventilation hole at the bottom of the sidewall.

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