Introduction: $50 Trash Can Smoker

For this project you will only need a few items which I purchased at Lowes. Everything is available in store so rather than ordering I decided just to drive to the store.

-32 gallon or smaller trash can (32 gallons will require two hotplates to maintain high enough temperatures).

-Grill Grate

-Smoking Chips

-3 Bolts, washers, and nuts to hold grate if it does not fit directly into the trash can.

-Hot Plate (any one from Walmart or Target will work).


A drill and some drill bits will be all you need.

I chose to make this project because I thought it would be more fun to make a smoker of my own rather than buying one. This whole project can be done for under $50 and does not take much time at all. Set aside a few hours to gather the required materials and you will have yourself a cheap easy to use smoker.

Step 1:

Cut a hole in the bottom of the trash can to pull the power cord through.

Step 2: Place Hot Plate in Trash Can

Step 3: Drilling

I could not find a grill grate that fit so I drilled three holes 10 inches from the top of the can and put bolts through to hold the grill grate.

Step 4: Grill Thermometer

Next you can take any old grill thermometer and install it into the top of the lid. Just drill a small hole and slide it through.

Step 5: Add Your Chips

Throw your chips in any pan that can withstand high temperatures and turn the hot plate to its highest setting.

Step 6: Add Your Meat and Sit Back

Step 7: Time to Wait

Cook your meat until the internal temperature is safe and then enjoy.

Step 8: Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to view this instructable. A few things I would like to point out are the fact that you can buy a smoker for about the same price as creating this one. If you are not a person who enjoys small projects I recommend just buying a smoker. Another thing to mention is that if you buy a 32 gallon trash can it will be difficult to maintain high temps inside if the ambient temperatures outside are below 60 degrees. Purchasing another hot plate to keep the temps up is not a bad idea. Thank you for reading, please leave any comments or feedback you have.