Whether you’re new to smoking meat or a seasoned pro looking to take on the ultimate DIY challenge, here’s how to build your own pellet smoker.
There are actually a few ways you can do this, so let’s take a look at each one and walk you through the steps to do it.
The most common, and perhaps the simplest, is to simply convert an existing outdoor grill into a pellet smoker .
In a similar fashion, you could recycle a 55 gallon drum into a vertical pellet smoker . The downside here is not only the extra work, but repurposed materials sometimes tend to give off toxic fumes when exposed to heat, so use caution.
In the latter case, make sure you use food-safe iron materials and use a temperature-resistant coating on the inside of your grill chamber.
Take a look at our other DIY projects:
- So cool you make a DIY offset smoker
- How to build a Santa Maria Grill
- How to grill yakitori
Also turn a grill into a pellet grill
Let’s start with the most common and easiest way to build your own pellet grill.
You can do this with an existing grill and with the use of a pellet smoker conversion kit.
These may seem difficult to find, but they are actually readily available online. Some are specially made by manufacturers and some are generic.
Using a conversion kit does the trick as YOU don’t have to refill your smoker wood pellets every time they run out, which would affect the cooking temperature of your grill.
The added bonus is that you can still use your grill as a grill, but only with the added ability of being a pellet smoker.
Conversion kits typically work by attaching to the side of your grill. They have a PID controller, a system that sets a cooking temperature and uses thermal sensors to control the actual temperature. It then measures the discrepancy between the two and adjusts accordingly.
They are basically magical and are one of the best introductions to the world of grilling today.
Most PID controllers(such as the Savannah Stoker ) allow you to broil anywhere between 150°F and 500°F and also smoke within that range. They also have a temperature level setting that makes it easy to adjust your target temperature at any time. Typically these settings are between 5°F and 10°F each, but some only go to one degree.
Once the conversion kit is attached to your grill, you can load wood pellets into the hopper. This is a box on the side of the cookbox. It holds pellets and slowly feeds them to the auger, which transports the pellets to your grill’s combustion chamber for burning.
The PID controller controls the temperature of your grill by adjusting the speed at which the auger feeds the grill.
If you need more heat, the snail will speed up, and if you need less, it will slow down. When you want to keep the temperature, the snail often stops.
You will also install a pellet smoker conversion kit
Many offer conversion kits, so installation instructions will vary from kit to kit. Generally however, depending on the conversion kit you will cut a rectangular hole in the side of the cookbox that is 4 to 5 inches wide and high.
Once assembled to the grill, the kit sits about 12 inches from the grill. Also be sure to consider this extra space your newly remodeled smoker grill will require.
This shouldn’t be a problem for many users with outdoor space, but worth considering for people who grill on their patio or balcony.
Best accessories for pellet smokers:
Concerned about cold and wet weather? Learn how to best isolate your smoker .