Trash Can Meat Smoker

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM
For the backyard chef with time to spare, smoking meat is the way to go. Through the indirect application of heat with wood at low temperatures, you get tender meat with tons of flavour. However, commercial smokers can be expensive so here's a plan for one you can build yourself for under $50 in just a few hours. The brainchild of American chef Alton Brown, this smoker requires one regular-sized metal trash can, one electric hot plate, a small wood chip box (a heavy metal box without a lid), wood chips and a grill to fit the top of the trash can.

  1. Place the hotplate in the bottom of the trash can. Drill two small air holes in the lid and a larger hole in the bottom of the trash can. Using tin snips or pliers, peel back enough of the metal around the larger hole to get the power cord through. Wrap duct tape around the cord where it will rub against the metal and fold the metal back in place.
  2. Place the small wood chip box on top of the hot plate and fill with wood chips. There are a number of different types of chips including apple, cherry, hickory etc. and they can be purchased at Canadian Tire, many grocery stores and any BBQ supply store.
  3. Secure the grill in place near the top of the trash can. There are any number of ways to do this depending on the type of grill you use. Attaching "L" brackets inside so that their bases point inward will allow you to rest the grill in place and remove it any time.
  4. Plug in the hot plate. After a few minutes the wood will start to smoke. Put meat on the grill and replace lid. After a few hours check the meat with a thermometer placed in the centre of the cuts. They are done when they read about 225F.
  5. Grab a beer and a good book because smoking meat can take upwards of four hours, but the delicious end result will be well worth the wait.