Wooden smokehouse with pellet burner

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Original poster
Mar 17, 2024
I have an old Pit Boss vertical smoker that I pulled the rear-mounted hopper and burner from, with the intention of building my own smoker. I was originally going to put it in a 1942 Fridgidaire, but my woodworking skills greatly surpass my metalworking skills. So, my next thought was a wooden smokehouse.

Basically, what I'm wanting is a smoker big enough to hold 2 (maybe 3) full sized hotel pans (12" x 20") per grate. The grates would be 30" wide for 2 pans, or 42" wide for 3 pans. The depth would be 24". This allows 2" of space on all 4 sides of the pans. The grates would be spaced every 6", with at least 5 grates total. Before anyone says anything, the pans are for the wrapped step, solely to cut down on the waste of using disposable aluminum pans & foil. Even though the smokehouse shouldn't need to be moved, I plan to build it on a large frame with wheels just in case. The Pit Boss smoker that the hopper & burner off of is fairly large for a retail unit, being large enough to hold a single hotel pan on each of the 7 grates in it. So, roughly 14" deep x 24" wide. My plan is to have a unit capable of being able to smoke @ 275, but the majority of the time, it would be running @ 225.

Construction-wise, I plan on using 1/4" or 3/8" plywood on the outside (maybe a beadboard panel for appearance sakes), with a 1"x2" frame, 3/4" insulation, then lined with 1/2" plywood in the cooking area and lined with 1/2" concrete board in the bottom where the pellet burner will be. I've come up with a deflector setup to prevent any grease from dripping directly onto the pellet burner itself, directing it to a bottom mounted grease catch.
Screenshot 2024-03-02 064916.jpg

The angled lines on the bottom will actually go to the wall, of course. The program I used to sketch it just wouldn't let me draw it like that. There will be a trough cut in the floor to allow the grease to drip into the pan below the floor.

What I'm not 100% about is whether or not I'm going too big for a single pellet burner, even with doing a 2x hotel pan grate size. Is there anything in my plans that yell out "whoa whoa whoa - you're planning it wrong"?
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