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Thoughts on building a smoker out of an old safe?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello SMF!

Recently I read an article in Bon Appetit (BA) where the writer made a smoker out of an old filing cabinet. Kooky, but it sounded kind of crazy brilliant. So it's 4am here in Providence, RI and I suddenly wake up thinking (picture of lightbulb going off over my head)... "Hey! I wonder if I could turn the old safe in our basement into a vertical smoker????"

Backstory: when we bought our house it came with an old , very heavy but movable safe. It's no antique, but it's solid, and it's about 5' high x 3' wide x 3'deep, with several metal adjustable shelves. When we first got the house and the safe we had the combo and it worked fine, but during house renovations, and workers moving it from room to room, it fell over once, and the lock got messed up and we had to call a locksmith who ended up taking out the lock and the latch out altogether to open it. At this point you can close the door, and because it's heavy enough, the door will stay in place, but there is no latch or lock to keep it closed.

Since the safe is useless as a safe which I didn't really use anyway, what about taking a page from the BA story and turning it into a vertical smoker? Worth trying, or am I just blowing smoke up my butt?

Would love to hear what people think. Back to bed for me for now, but I promise to post a picture of the safe in the morning.


Aka, What-r-u-smokin
post #2 of 8

If you have a drill that can cut a outtake at the top and an intake at the bottom I'd say go for it.


I'd say two holes at the bottom and four holes at the top with a smoke generator at the bottom and you're good to go...


The last resort that I worked at had an old broken refrigerator that we did what I described above.. We only used it to cold smoke stuff but 80% of our smoking was done in it... We also had a half cabinet hot smoker but only used that for smoked prime ribs. We also had a "caja china" to cook smaller whole hogs in (not exactly smoking but....).

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Awesome!  Thanks for the encouragement.



Here are some pics as promised, plus dimensions:


exterior: 41"h X 25"w x 27"d  Smaller than I imagined when I first wrote in this idea...  typical.  :-)


interior:  35"h x 18"w x 23"d



The next thing I need to determine before moving forward is if the safe is composed of any fireproofing material, and if so, what it is.  I don't want to be drilling through any hazardous/toxic material.  The safe looks like it could have sen made any time from the 40 until the 60's.  So there's a high probability that it may, and I don't like to take chances on that kind of thing.  That would be a deal breaker.  I'll keep you posted.


Thanks again.






post #4 of 8

Welcome to the group. The safe looks like it's a good size for a smoker, but as you said if the fire proofing is ok. Just wondering what heat source you are thing of going with. I would think latching the door would be an easy fix and size should be close for finding racks to put in it. Might want to have to paint check as well if it's that old might have an issue there. Good luck with it and keep us posted. Hope it all works out.

post #5 of 8

Great project if the fireprofing is not a problem? I would do a offset FB this would give you all the room you need for racks.Hope it works out good luck and have fun. Looks like a mini me to my smoker hahahahahaha



post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Many thanks for the advice, guys!

post #7 of 8

Hello and welcome from East Texas, keep us posted on your safe build, interesting  I would bet it has some type of fire proofing in it. You might get in touch with the maker and give them the model number and see what they can tell you. 


Gary S

post #8 of 8
Hey Gary
Welcome to the Smoking forum. You’ll find great , friendly people here, all more than willing to answer any question you may have. Just ask and you’ll get about 10 different answers—all right. LOL. Don’t forget to post qviews.
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