Advice on Budget Cold Smoker Build

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Jan 9, 2012
Columbus, Ohio
Hello, I've cold smoked bacon a couple times on my grill using only an AMNPS. I'm hooked! I am looking for a better setup though. My grill has a ton of open areas and the AMNPS either stays lit or completely blows out. I'd like to build a small portable unit that can handle around 20# of pork belly. I'd like it to be mobile and metal. I was thinking something like a cheap brinkman charcoal model? Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
I've seen pictures of guys cold smoking in a cardboard box.

You basically just need a box with a roof.  Just sturdy enough to hold together

A thin wood (1x2's) frame that screws apart.  Cheap plywood for sides & top.  You will need supports where ever you plan on placing racks or hangers.

You could also use foamboard insulation for the sides & top.  It may help keep some heat in on really cold days.

Vents in the bottom.  Bigger vents in the top.

Looks good Dave. I like both ideas. I'm ok with spending in the $100 range. My only issue is I need something about the size of an MES that is easy to move on a patio then through my yard to store. Has anyone ever repurposed a brinkman smoker or made one out of a small steel drum, say 30 gallons?

 This is what I did.  4" casters underneath for mobility.  Got it for $150 because the the heating elements went bad. This equipment is expensive to repair $200 x 3 for the elements so they scrap them.  If you want a hot smoker add  a stove burner in the bottom buy  a temperature control (PID) and their you go. I have a 40# smoker for under $500.
Yup.. a really big cardboard box works great.... get some stackable cooling racks to put in it... cut some air vents in it.... everything folds up for easy storage....
I like the idea of using an old metal smoker. I would like to be able to just set it back by my wood pile and move it to the patio when I'm ready to smoke. Has anyone tried this with a cheap Brinkman smoker?
Look around. I did find a verticle charcoal smoker at a garage sale for 20 bucks.  Yard tall and 14"x14". 3 racks plus water pan which can be replaced with another rack. Cold smoked alot of peppers and  cheese once. Have done smoked chicken thighs in it couple times. and did great on temp hold. Just look around. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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