Large smoker made from a 250 gallon propane tank?

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Apr 16, 2006
Northern IL
I have been reading a lot about making a custom smoker and finding 55gal drums right now I just can not find at least ones that are not used for cemicals. But I came accross this and it hit me as an idea since a lot of farms out by me run on propane so I have a lot of propane shops with old tanks.

What I am trying to find is how can I make a smoker from a propane tank and how do I make the lids/doors.

Thanks for any ideas on this I like this idea since I should be able to find the tanks with out issue. I have been looking for the 55gal tanks for over 8 months with out any luck. All of them were used for chemicals that could not be put in the plasic ones.

Thanks for any tips on this idea
my homemade smoker is made out of 450 gal. fuel barrell burned a lot of wood&propane thru it and been using it for 3 years works great
veener88 from what I understand old propane tanks make some good smokers but are extremely dangerous to cut into and should only be done by professionals that know what to do. One wrong move and they will explode even after being "empty" for years. Folks that know what they're doing have a much higher survival rate. Once the tank is open you can safely work on it.

Greetings crispy. You got any pictures of your pit you could post? :D
Ok good to know.

I just did a search for it and found a quick fix. You fill the talk with water. that way it pushes out any fumes and brings down the % of O2 in the tank.
My smoker is made from a 120 gallon air compressor tank that I found
at a scrap yard for 40 bucks. It had a small hole in it that we patched up.
I have a frind that owns a welding shop (Weld Works) who has built smokers before , and I work for a steel company so I got some of the steel cheaper(firebox , trailer deck,etc.) I would go to his shop on saturdays when I got off and he would tell me what to do and I would do most of the labor , so that did'nt cost me anything. As far as the door , we
drew it out on the tank and used a small grinder with a cutting wheel to cut it out. A torch cuts a little to wide of a cut. The hinges are made from some big double wide roller chain that he welded on there.It took about nine months to finish just working a half day on saturdays because I work
so many hours at my job. I got about 1500 dollars total in it , thats trailer
and everything. A lot of what I needed , he had laying around his shop , so I got out pretty cheap
I've also heard welders fill the propane tank up with car exhaust before cutting into it.

Heya, Neal!
Here's a tip from a coworker of mine. Some propane tanks have a set limit on their useful life. Others are just relegated to the junk pile and may sit on the gas operators property just taking up space. Usually the 250 gallon and under size range falls into this category. They can be had from gas suppliers who will let them go very reasonably (depending on their mood) and when selling the tank to you will disable it from ever being refilled by removing the regulator head and all thus allowing for safe conversion. Check it out!
I've always shied? away from this subject because of my occupation and liability :oops: but if you want to cut a propane tank open just pump in nitrogen to make the atmosphere inert. Noah should be able to 2nd that. :D
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Thanks srmonty. That is what I am wishing for. Lucky for me and being out in the county I have at least 5 places in about a 20min drive from me I can hit to ask.
O trust me I am going to be very carefull. I am most likely going to fill it with water and stand the tank up when I cut it. That way I do not have a chance of a air pocket when I cut it when it would be in its side and cut. I know some guys that do scrap metal so I might ask them for tips since I know they have to cut the tanks before they can crush them because of what can happen if there air gas cought in the tank and it get crushed.
Best O'Luck, Bro! As I said the distibutors most usually have tanks to get rid of. And you can help them!. Just make sure that they remove the valve ansd stuff.
i have been looking on a lot lately and have saw where people have started to build one and either lost interest or income and are dumping not finished ones for cheep. i was looking for a good seasoned smoker for a good price and saw several, but none that fit what i was looking for.

i saw one on a trailer, already was mounted, and had two doors cut out. and thats all the further they got before they gave up. it sold for 250 i believe, which is cheep. and you dont have to worrie about the inital cut.

you may have to look for a while before you find one but eventually it will come up. you can post in the looking section too.

just a thought.
veener, here is a set of plans that uses two old propane tanks. Use caution when cutting these tanks open.

Propane Tank Smoker
Wow thanks. That thing is huge. Does not look like it will cost that much though to make. I just have to find out how much it would cost to get all the cutting done. Not sure 100% if I would do the full trailer but I think I could build it into the deck and have a nice setup.
You could always build the trailer at a later date if you decide that you want a towable unit. Place your stands on the tank so thay would match the mounting points on the trailer.
Yea I am thinking of building the base for the trailer and have that to hold it. On the deck I think I can build a small storage area under it for my lump coal and wood.

BTW just wondering with this setup would I be able to use larger log like 1/4 or 1/8th instead of just the small 10lb bags stuff in the store.

I am going to hitting my local propain places and see what I can find. The only thing that could get me is local laws if they are able to sell them but I live by WI so I can try that state if needed incase IL does not work with me.
Well one plan killed but anouther door opened. I am finding out with steal prices and liablility reasons getting a tank is hard. But with that door closing a new one opened. My father remembered a place down in Chicago that made 55 steal barrels that my grand father had to go to. The place is Trilla Drum and I got in contact with them. I found out I can buy their over run at $25 each. So now I no longer have to worry about buying used and all their barrels are painted to be safe to use for food products.

So I am now back to the double 55gal setup. Even better today I found out I can buy Vagelzang products at my local ACE for a lot less then the Vagelzang price. The BK150 is only $60 and the 2nd barrel kit is $30. So I should be able to keep this build around $300 . :)
Ouch $100 a peice. Thanks for the link though.
I'm buying used 250 gal tanks from a propane dealer and he is going to prepare them " SAFE " for me,he is taking all valves off and does whatever to make them safe for us to work on, he knows we are making grills out of them.We are still going to be cautious. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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