Home Made Trailer Smoker for Cheap




Introduction: Home Made Trailer Smoker for Cheap

Items you will need:
Used 250 gal propane tank
and old boiler tank with rivets
flat strap 1/4" x 2"  (to go around door opening)
2-4x8x1/4 plate steel (to make fire box)
5' of 4" pipe (for smoke stacks)
4x8 sheet of expanded metal (for racks in side smoker)
a lot of grinding wheel 
a lot of welding supplies (i.e. oxy/acet tourch, wire welder, arc welder, welding rod/wire)
turned mesquite handles 
an umbrella
and wood

Step 1: Find a Trailer

Buy a trailer:
Check local auctions or craigslist for good deals, I found this trailer at an auction and paid $20 for it. However you get what you pay for, I had to haul it back on a flat bed trailer due to fact the original rear diff was seized. Notice the fender damage you will see I repaired it a piece of sheet metal that I tack welded in place and used auto body hammers to form the curves. Then I applied BONDO to hide major blemishes. 
I tore the old metal flooring out and replaced with 1/4" diamond plate (you can see that in the next step).

Step 2: Mount the Tanks

I forgot to take before pictures (I didn't think I would need any), but to start off I took out the old floor from the trailer and replaced it 1/4" diamond plate that I recycled from an old catwalk. 
Then I cut the propane tank to approx. 5 ft long, since both tanks are 24" diameter I cut a saddle joint into the propane tank and mated it with the vertical boiler tank.  I finally welded the vertical (riveted boiler tank) to my horizontal (old propane tank) prior to setting in the trailer.
Once moved to the trailer I welded braces from the horizontal tank to the diamond plate flooring. Likewise I welded around the bottom of the vertical tank to secure it to the floor. I then installed baffles inside the horizontal tank to control heat flow to the vertical tank. 
I also fabricated the fire box located next to the horizontal tank out 1/4" plate steel.
Once the tanks were welding in place I cut the doors out and placed 2" flat strap around the doors to help seal the smoke in.

Step 3: Dress the Trailer, Mount Accessories, and Paint.

Here I covered the front end with left over diamond plate, installed a propane burner, and made the burner controls from an old header. I fixed the messed up fender, and primed and painted the smoker. 

I mounted a door latch on the vertical door which compress the door shut to create a tighter seal.

Step 4: Build Awing

Finally I built a collapsible awing out of square tubing and corrugated metal roofing. I next installed thermometers 
I built the horizontal racks from expanded metal and angle iron. For the vertical tank I purchased 4 22.5" round grates similar to the ones you can find for a weber grill. To mount those I simple welded pegs inside the tank and the racks just rest on them.

Step 5: Finally Use It....

Its designed to be one big smoker, or I can have two smokers. I installed baffles on the inside of the horizontal tank that can be shut off to make two separate smokers. So that I can cook at a higher temp and use hickory wood for chickens in the vertical tank  and cook with a lower temp and misquite wood for my briskets in the horizontal tank.

So the final steps are to:
Season the meat start a fire and drink some beer.....

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    Just awesome, was the boiler cast-iron? wondering how it was welded and what welding techniques/materials was needed because cast-iron can be very tricky!


    8 years ago on Step 5

    Fantastic work! I especially like the riveted boiler tank. Would you please add pictures of the insides of both tanks and the firebox?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    What a fantastic job. I start my construction in a few weeks, it differs in design from yours, just hope my first instructable is as good. Again well done


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I haven't heard that before, however the metal was steel and not galv. steel. As far as the nasty stuff from the fire goes yeah the inside of the boiler was pretty nasty... I had to clean it a lot more then I did for the propane tank. What I did was wire wheeled it to break off the residue, then sprayed the inside with a soapy water (degreaser of sorts) and scrubbed it, then I let it dry. Then followed up with sand blasting, the inside and It came out pretty darn clean. I have seen other BBQ smokers made from the same style of tank..


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I've read some boilers are not safe to use for food prep due to metal composition and nasty stuff coming out when fire burns inside.

    Not sure if this is the case with your smoker.

    Very cool implementation though!