How to Build a Pellet Smoker

How to Build a Pellet Smoker
Written By: Kathy Jeffery
Date Published: March 17, 2021

Grilling and smoker companies have developed the BBQ world very quickly because of the public demand. Still millions of people prefer outdoor cooking and pellet smokers are one of the most fascinating outdoor appliances. Sometimes people do question how to build a pellet smoker? And want to buy one or build one. 

If you already own a grill or can't afford a new one like pellet smokers then this article will help you the most to enjoy the deliciously cooked meat with your mates. 

Now anyone can have a pellet smoker with mesmerizing flavors that everyone desires. You can be a professional pitmaster by building a pellet grill. All it takes is a bit of effort. 

It's a lot important to know how to build a pellet smoker because any mistakes in construction can disturb your cooking temperatures. Either you will burn your meat or it will be undercooked. Incorrect assembly could provide a worst Smoky flavor. I have written a detailed guide on best pellet smoker if you want to buy and instead of making your own smoker.

Advantages of Building a Pellet Grill:

There are many benefits of building a pellet smoker. You can get a good smoker at hands with just a little or more effort. Converting your existing grill into a pellet smoker is more beneficial. 

  • Cost effective- you will be able to create a pellet smoker within low cost and resources. Your new grill will work as both, smoker and grill. 
  • Maintenance- Like other outdoor grills, if you make your own pellet smoker then it won't require constant maintenance.
  • Flavored meat- you can add as many pellets as you want and mix different flavors to get strong smoky meat within no time. It actually works like the real pellet smoker you buy from the market.

Disadvantages of Building a Pellet Grill at Home:

How to Build a Pellet Smoker
How to Build a Pellet Smoker

As making the pellet grill at home has several advantages, it also contains some drawbacks. Being creative is good and utilizing your time in something useful can be helpful most of the time. 

  • Time consuming- It will require extra time and efforts to build this pellet smoker.
  • Harmful- Using reusable materials can be hazardous in some cases when exposed to heat.

These are the small disadvantages of building a pellet smoker but these can be fixed. 

You should use cast iron food-safe material for pellet smoker and on the inner chamber of the pellet smoker coat with the heat-resistant powder

Selecting the Right Method to Make a Pellet Smoker

There are many ways to build a pellet smoker at home. Pellet smokers are different because they feed people with wood pellet flavored meat and they are easy to use. These smokers use the wood pellets as the main source of fuel. Wood pellets could be made from the compressed wood which can be the flavored woods like hickory, mesquite, oak etc.

A pellet smoker consists of a cooking chamber and hopper. The wood pellets slowly push from the hopper to the auger and then to the cooking chamber. If you are a barbeque expert then you should have a good recipe for how to cook a steak on a pellet grill.

It's not rocket science to learn how to build a pellet smoker because there are many ways through which you can make it. 

  • The most commonly adapted way is to convert a traditional grill into the pellet smoker. This is beneficial because you can enjoy both this, your traditional grill cooking and pellet smoker cooking. 
  • You can also use a 55-gallon drum to create a vertical smoker. But there are risks using the toxic material for health, make sure to use food safe material for it.

Using Scratch-55-Gallon Drum:

To build a pellet smoker you will be needing a 55-gallon drum. 

  • Make sure to properly clean the drum with the dishwasher detergents and warm water before using. 
  • Heat up the drum for better cleaning.
  • Use the pressure washer to remove excess of the debris left in the drum 
  • Paint the drum with heat resistant paint for a better look. 
  • Coat the drum with cooking oil to prevent corrosion.
  • Add charcoal in the drum and let it smoke.
  • Make three even holes in the drum after it cools down and cover them with metal caps.
  • Place the old preparing dish and pellet chimney starter down and put the cast iron pan at the top. 
  • Install lid handles 
  • Close the lid and to hold the grill in place, add 4 bold and brackets. 
  • Your DIY pellet smoker is ready to use. 

Converting Your Grill into a Pellet Smoker:

It's the most common and safer method to generate a powerful and flavorsome meat. You can use your grill as well as the smoker. To convert the grill into a pellet smoker, you need to have a pellet smoker conversion kit that's it. 

You can buy your own parts and learn how to build a pellet smoker or some of the grill manufacturer companies construct their own conversion kits. You can choose as you want. Installing the conversion kits make it a lot easier to make a pellet smoker. You will no longer have to worry about refueling the pellets by removing grates or meat. Your grill will remain the same and you will be able to use both together. 

Most of the conversion kits come with the instructions which make installation easy. Typically, you need to cut a rectangular hole of about 4 to 5 inches. After installing you will need the extra space to put your grill and cook delicious meats. Your conversion will be extended for about 12-13 inches from the side. 

After the installation of the conversion kit, you will be needing to add wood pellets into the hopper. Using a pellet smoker that is digitally controlled can require extra efforts. Most of the conversion kits come up with PID controller that controls the temperature between 150°F to 500°F

Final Verdicts- How to Build a Pellet Smoker

Spending a lot of money on high quality pellet smokers is not the only way to enjoy the wood pellet flavored meats. If you can't afford extra money or space for a new pellet smoker then you can build it at home. Pellet smokers are always worth a try because they have their own special tastes. 

By using the above methods you can learn how to design a pellet smoker in an easy way. Now, you won't need professional hands to install the pellet smoker at home. All you need to do is choose the right method that works for you and enjoy the long lasting pellet smoker.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you build a pellet smoker?

It is possible to build a wood pellet smoker, but you might want to consider some things first. This is definitely more of a hobby than a project you can do on a weekend. A pellet smoker is a stove or an oven for cooking and smoking food. A pellet smoker is made out of pellets instead of wood logs. Pellets are made of compressed sawdust and can be made from wood. Pellets do not break apart and fall apart the way logs can. You can build a smoker that is more or less identical to a commercial one by buying the pellets and building the firebox and the cooking chamber. It is more of a challenge to build a smoker that does not require electricity.

Are pellet smokers worth it?

Pellet smokers have taken the world of smoking by storm. They are compact, easy to use and require very little maintenance. Since pellets are made of sawdust, they are dry and burn quickly.

Do pellet smokers need a water pan?

The answer to the question depends upon the kind of smoker you are using. A water pan in a smoker is used to maintain proper temperature required for cooking. A water pan generally takes the heat from the bottom of the smoker and distributes it to the top.

How do you convert a charcoal grill to a pellet grill?

First, you would need to buy a hopper, grilling rack, and the pellets to be used in the grill. The pellets can be bought at any outdoor store. You would only need to attach the hopper to the grill and fill it with pellets.

Article written by Kathy Jeffery
Kathy learned to cook early on in life because she had to feed the ranch hands! Kathy is a mama of 2 boys and dreams of having a vegetable garden one day.

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