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Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100

Feature | Smoked hot fishes in a wooden smokehouse | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100

No DIY junkie will back down from this DIY smoker project–a smokehouse build from pallets you can be proud of!

RELATED: Where to Get Free Pallets for Reclaimed Wood Projects

In this article:

  1. What You Need to Know Before Building a DIY Smokehouse
  2. Materials You Need for a Smokehouse Build from Pallets
  3. Tools You Will Need for a Smokehouse Build from Pallets
  4. How to Build a Smokehouse
  5. Admire Your Finished Smokehouse!

DIY Smokehouse Build From Pallets and on a Budget!

What You Need to Know Before Building a DIY Smokehouse:

Building a smokehouse made from pallets | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100

First, some tips for building a smokehouse made from pallets. It’s a bit of a challenge, but with a minimum budget and a chance to work on some pallets, this project is definitely worth it.

Follow the step-by-step tutorial and detailed instructions to DIY a smokehouse build from pallets!

Yes, with a pile of old pallets, less than $100 and a bit of work, we built this really cool smokehouse. At 3′ x 3′, it is big enough to smoke a whole animal or at least a few big trays of meat plus some links of sausage.

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I love this project – It still amazes me what you can build with repurposed wood and how great it looks.

We really wanted to make a big DIY smoker. But most of the DIY smokehouse plans we checked showing how to build a smokehouse were too small and/or they called for using quite a bit of expensive materials.

We never found plans that really met our requirements, so we ended up making our own.

Our considerations for DIY smoker plans were:

  • Size – it needed to be big enough to a lot of items at once and also smoke large items
  • Cost– it needed to be as inexpensive as possible while still allowing you to smoke meat well
  • Skill level required – it needed to be something you could do with basic woodworking knowledge

Here are the supplies you need to get started and the instructions and video for this cool smokehouse project:

Materials You Need for a Smokehouse Build from Pallets:

  • 20-30 pallets, deconstructed
  • 2 1/2 inch screws *you should choose a good outdoor screw, we used plastic coated decking screws
  • 1 1/4 inch screws
  • Aluminum flashing
  • Corrugated tin roof (4’x3′) *this must be raw metal, not galvanized
  • Heavy duty tin foil
  • Roll of aluminum screen
  • Handle (for the door)
  • Hinges (3)

Tools You Will Need for a Smokehouse Build from Pallets:

  • reciprocal saw with a bimetal blade (used to take pallets apart)
  • drill gun, preferably a cordless one
  • drill bits 1/8 bit and countersink bit
  • measuring tape
  • metal/tin snips
  • utility knife
  • Skil saw or table saw
  • Staple Gun
  • Safety Glasses
  • Work Gloves
Tools | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
DIY smoker: Supplies and tools you will need for the project
Pallet supplies | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Deconstructed pallet pieces, cut to size, aluminum mesh screen and corrugated tin for the roof. (Only use raw metal, not galvanized.)
Pictured are the deconstructed pallet pieces | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Pictured are the deconstructed pallet pieces, both the pallet panels (shown on left) and the 2×4 pieces of a pallet, all cut using the dimensions in our cuts list.

 

Check out our project videos for this DIY Smokehouse:

How to Build a Smokehouse

I don’t know if you have ever smoked meat before, but it is a rewarding, yet time-consuming task. Since your meat will be preserved, and therefore good for a long time, it makes the most sense to be able to smoke a lot at once.

After determining how much wood we needed for a decent size smokehouse, we decided to go with repurposed pallets. For less than $100, we were able to put together this great smokehouse to hold a ton of meat.

Multiple racks for smoking as well as a place to hang sausages, you can even hang a whole deer in it if you like.

Step 1. Select Your Pallets

Working with pallets | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Pallets come in many shapes and sizes. Each one is a little bit different, and some are in better shape than others.

There are a few challenges when you use free, repurposed materials. The wood you get is not consistent, often very dry, sometimes warped.

It splits easily. It is far from perfect, but it is free.

Building a smokehouse made from pallets | mokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
You place the blade under each slat and cut, leaving you with the 2×4 planks that are between the slats.

You will need 20-30 pallets for this project. We recommend you spend some time looking for ones without too many broken slats and without wood that is too visibly warped.

It is fine if you do not do this or are not able to find perfect pallets (those do not exist). Your wood may be a little warped, but that is fine.

Your smokehouse will not be perfect too, but it will smoke meat. You will want to get a few more pallets than you think you need in order to get the best materials.

Pallets usually range from 42″-48″ and 3’x3′ design should allow you to build this when you use pallets in this size range. The 2x4s in most pallets are typically 4′ – 5′ long and they have cutouts for a forklift.

The cutouts are fine. If you need to, you can sister two boards together, which we explain further in our DIY smokehouse Video.

Step 2. Deconstruct the Pallets

 Blade under each slat and cut planks | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
You place the blade under each slat and cut, leaving you with the 2×4 planks that are between the slats.

Deconstruct your pallets. We recommend you use a reciprocal saw with a bimetal blade that cuts through nails to do this.

Trust me, this is the easiest way. View our tutorial and video on The Easy Way To Deconstruct A Pallet for step by step instructions.

Step 3. Cut Clean Ends on Board and Make Cuts Below

Once you have your pallets deconstructed, you need to make your cuts. Start by making clean cuts on the ends of all your pallet boards.

You should only need to remove a little bit. We chose our 3′ design to accommodate for this loss of wood from your pallets.

CUTS LIST

Cut these from 2x4s

(part 1) 2 top braces front and back @ 33”
(part 2) Door frame 2 pieces @ 70”
(part 3) Door frame 2 pieces @ 29”
(part 4) Wall frame front 2 pieces @ 6’
(part 5) Wall frame back 2 pieces @ 5’ 6”
(part 6) Back frame 2 pieces @ 5’4” 1×1
(part 7) Shelf supports 8 pieces @ 33”
(part 8) Shelf frames 8 pieces @ 32 ¾”
(part 9) And 8 pieces @ 30 ½ “

Cut these from Pallet Panels

(part 10) Left side @ 36 ¼ “
(part 11) Right side @ 34 ½ “
(part 12) Door @ 35 ¾”
(part 13) Back @ 35 ¾”
(part 14) Roof @ 38”
(part 15) Vent covers 2 pieces @ 18” to 24”
(part 16) Bottom front brace 1 piece @ 36”

Corrugated Metal roof 4’x3’

Corrugated Metal roof | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
You will want to make clean cuts on the ends of your pallet boards. You should not need to cut too much off the ends.
Building a pallet | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
When you remove the split ends of the wood, you should have a clean cut that looks like this.

 

Know your pallets and cuts with this article: Pallet 101: Types, Standard Pallet Size And More

PREDRILL AND COUNTERSINK SCREWS: 

Depending on the condition of your wood you may need to pre-drill and countersink ALL screws to ensure the wood does not crack. We highly recommend you do this when using repurposed wood.

RELATED: How To Know If A Pallet Is Safe To Use

Step 4. Layout Frame for Left and Right Sides

You will be making two sides frames here that also have cross pieces that will hold your racks. This smokehouse build from pallets utilizes a neat design.

The racks make the structure itself, and you can even easily adjust the rack heights in the design.

The parts that hold the racks in place end up being the ribbing that holds the frame in place. We marked ours at 24″, 36″, 44″ and 52″ so we could place bigger meats close to the fire and smaller meats further away.

You can even add hooks at the top for sausage if you allow enough room to hang. The only important consideration is your firebox, which we set at 24″ NOTE: Make sure your firebox fits under the 24” bracing.

Adjust your shelves as needed. These measurements are not set and can be placed at any useable height as long as you allow ample room for your firebox.

Step 5. Assemble and Secure the Smokehouse Racks

Getting pallet measurements | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Measure and mark part 4 and part 5 at 24″, 36″, 44″ and 52″ These measurements are adjustable if you wish your shelves to be at different heights than this.
Smoker layout | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Lay out one each of parts 4 and part 5, then mark your measurements one both at 24″, 36″, 44″ and 52″
Marked measurements | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Secure your shelf supports (part 7, 4 pieces, 33″ for each side) at the four measurements you marked.
Racks and smoker must be level | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
You will want to square up the ends to make sure your racks and your smoker is level.
Attach four shelf to each side | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Attach four shelf supports (part 7, 33″) to each side
Adding a screws | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
We countersinked our screws before attaching these pieces. We highly recommend you do this so your wood will not split.

Take one each of (part 4- Wall frame front, 6’)and (part 5 – Wall frame back, 5’ 6”) square the bottoms, and secure 4 pieces of (part 7- Shelf Support, 33″) at 24”, 36” 44” and 52”.

When securing parts 7 to part 5, leave a 1 ½” gap for part 6. You will repeat these same steps for the second side, leaving you with the frame for the right and left side of your smokehouse.

Step 6. Build a Frame for the Door

Check out Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100 at https://diyprojects.com/smokehouse-build-from-pallets/
We used a homemade jig to get our screws in at an angle on the frame.
Use four screws on each side | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
The jig allows us to get the screws in at an angle. Use four screws on each side.
Door frame | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Our finished door frame looks like this.

Take parts 2 and 3 (part 2 – Door frame, 2 pieces @ 70”) and (part 3 – Door frame, 2 pieces @ 29”) and screw them together to create the door.

We used a homemade jig so we could easily get our screws in at an angle. Use four screws on each corner.

Step 7. Stand Sides and the Door Up, Then Secure

Screw the door to the frame | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Temporarily screw the door to the frame so you can hold it together.

Stand the walls and door together and temporarily screw the door to the face of the walls so you can hold them together.

Step 8. Cut Angle for Roof

Cut along on both sides and making them even | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Use a piece of panel to draw a line for the angle of the roof. Cut along this line on both sides, making them even.

Using a piece of the panel, set against the top of the left and right wall, then draw a line to create the angle for the pitch of the roof, and cut off excess to create the pitch of the roof.

Step 9. Brace the Top

Attachbraces to the top of the wall | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Attach part 1 (2 top braces for front and back, 33″) to the top of the wall, along with the angle you cut in step 5.

Screw in part 1 (part 1 – two (2) top braces for front and back @ 33”) at the top of the walls front and back.

Step 10. Brace the Sides

Place the back frame | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Place the back frame piece (part 6) next to the back of the wall frame(part 5) like this.
Screws | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Secure back frame piece (part 5 ) to wall frame (part 6 )with screws.

Add in part 6 (part 6- Back frame 2 pieces @ 5’4” 1×1) to the back of the frame, screw into part 5 (Wall Frame Back).

Step 11. Add Paneling

Add paneling Smokehouse | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Starting from the ground up, add your paneling to the sides of the smoker.

Paneling. Add the back paneling first from the ground up. Repeat for the right and left sides.

Remove the door from the frame. Screw in hinges and re-hang the door. Leave at least a ½” gap at the base of the door.

Add paneling to the door, then add paneling to roof last.

NOTE: Right side is shorter so that hinges have space to rotate. Also, Left side is longer so the door sits inside the paneling.

Step 12. Attach Wood to the Roof

Attach wood | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Place roofing boards (part 14) on top and secure with screws. Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100

Screw roofing materials (part 14 Roof @ 38”) onto the top to make the roof.

Step 13. Finish the Door

Finish the door | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Attach your door frame to the smoker and add hinges on one side.
Pallet door | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Starting at the bottom, attach the pallet panels to the door.
Continue attaching the pallet panels to the door | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Continue attaching the pallet panels to the door like this.
Attach panels until you get to the top | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Attach panels until you get to the top. In this photo, we have already drilled the vent holes.
Attach handle to the door | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Attach your handle to the door on the side opposite from the hinges.

Put door frame back in place and attach hinges to one side of the door frame. Next, add pallet panels to the door, then attach a handle to the front of the door on the opposite side from hinges.

Step 14. Construct Racks

Screw the pieces for the rack frames | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Screw the pieces for the rack frames (part 8,) together to make your smoking racks.
Lay a piece of screen over the rack to get the right size | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Lay a piece of screen over the rack to get the right size.
Cut the aluminum screen to size using your metal snips | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Cut the aluminum screen to size using your metal snips.
Staple the screen onto each rack | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Staple the screen onto each rack.
Staple the sides | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
After you staple two sides, be sure to pull the screen tight like this as you staple the sides.

Screw rack parts together (part 8 – Shelf frames 8 pieces @ 32 ¾”), then staple screen onto the rack. Once you have two sides stapled, be sure to pull the screen tight as you staple the other two sides.

Step 15. Cut Vent Holes

Cut vent hole | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100

Select 2 panels from the door, one at the base and one at the top. Remove the panels, screw part 15 (part 15 – Vent covers 2 pieces @ 18” to 24”) to the face and drill holes using a hole saw.

Make sure to leave enough space between the holes that they will be able to be closed off. Remove screws and build a brace to hold part 15 in place.

Step 16. Line Inside with Foil

Secure foil with your staple gun | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Line the entire inside of the smoker with heavy duty tin foil. Secure foil with your staple gun.
Insert your racks into the smoker | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Insert your racks into the smoker.

Line the interior of the smokehouse with heavy duty tin foil. Make the structure as airtight as you can. Expect to use 2 to 3 rolls of foil. Use a staple gun to secure the foil to the walls.

NOTE: do not use any galvanized metal in the smokehouse as it is toxic.

What Is a Galvanized Metal? These are metals like iron or steel which underwent a process of galvanization where a protective zinc coating is applied to prevent corrosion or rusting.

Step 17. Attach Tin Roof to Smokehouse

 Cut piece of tin should fit nicely on the roof | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Your cut piece of tin should fit nicely on the roof. Secure it with screws.

Attach tin to roof and secure with screws.

Admire Your Finished Smokehouse!

DIY Smoker is complete | Smokehouse Build From Pallets | DIY Smoker For Less Than $100
Your DIY Smoker is complete and ready to smoke meat.

A DIY smokehouse build from pallets is now complete and ready to smoke meat!

 

Be sure to check out our step-by-step project videos starting on How To Build a DIY Smokehouse Part One:


How To Build a DIY Smokehouse: Part Two


How To Build a DIY Smokehouse: Part Three


There you have it, DIY enthusiasts! A homemade smokehouse, build from pallets. With an inexpensive yet functional smokehouse out of pallets, you can have homemade smoked goodies, too!

Will you try to make a DIY smokehouse build from pallets yourself? You can share your experience with us in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 28, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Comments

  1. Avatar says

    What type of heat source would be safe for this wood structure and would you place it directly in side the box. As you can tell I don’t know anything about smokers but want to lurn moor. Thanks.

      • AvatarStephanie says

        Great suggestion! Thanks, Roy. We plan to make a video soon showing how to smoke meat in our new smoker. Anyone have any favorite smoked meat recipes or smoking tips, please share.

    • AvatarBrandon says

      Pipe in a small wood stove add a thermometer midd ways up. In my opinion unless smoking fish only the small electric element isn’t enough. Our you can try a old stove element.

  2. Avatarart says

    be careful selecting pellets. Be aware what was stored on them and what may have leaked on them. Be sure they are NOT contaminated by toxic chemicals or substances or flammable substances

  3. AvatarBob says

    You can go to smokingmeatforums.com and get any and all info on preserving (curing) meat. also a bunch of ideas on how to use your smoke house.

    • AvatarStephanie says

      Thanks! That forum is has really great information. We plan to have a tutorial on meat smoking soon as well as a post on How To Determine if Your Wood Pallet Is Safe. We only used heat treated pallets (HT) for our smoker.

    • AvatarStephanie says

      Definitely! Thank you for stressing the importance of that. We actually just posted an article on How To Tell If A Pallet Is Safe To Use to help people find pallets that have not been treated with chemicals.

  4. AvatarR Noel Rodriguez says

    Great use of recycled materials! If you added grounding bars at each corner you would have a Faraday Cage. So, if you are not smoking meat and you need the space to protect your electronics such as a lap top computer, cell phone, chargers, etc., then you could use this structure as your electronic protector.

    • AvatarStephanie says

      That sounds really cool. We are interested in doing a DIY faraday cage soon. Anyone else who is interested, please add a comment here. This will help us know what to make next. Thanks for your feedback!

  5. AvatarJas says

    Given that it is almost impossible to know what insecticides and fungicides have been used on the pallets, I wouldn’t be taking the risk.

  6. AvatarBrenda& Daniel Doster says

    hey for a heating opt. could you use the clay pot heater merged or would that create to much heat?

  7. AvatarNick says

    This is an awesome idea! But can you please tell us what you guys are using for a heat source? Aka firebox?

  8. AvatarKeith says

    Careful of the type of pallet used.

    Chemical fumigation The wood must be fumigated with methyl bromide. Pallets treated via this method bear the initials MB near the IPPC logo. From 19 March 2010 the use of Methyl Bromide as an acceptable treatment according to ISPM15 [14] has now been banned within all EU member states.

    Treated wood pallets must be stamped on two opposite sides indicating either HT for heat treated or MB for methyl bromide treatment.

  9. Avatardave says

    This looks good, except for the use of aluminum to put the meats on, I’ve heard too much about aluminum oxides being related to health problems. How about using some old oven racks?

  10. Avatar says

    Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions
    on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for
    a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

  11. AvatarBrian says

    I was wondering what kind of heat source for this… And how to keep the flames low enough that it wont start the whole thing on fire… If there is a site of what I need, please let me know… Thanks so much!!!!

  12. AvatarZach steele says

    I used a small weber grill ( tailgate style) my wife picked up at garage sale for $2. Nice air and smoke control, and extra layer of safety.
    Also thinking about an electric hot plate from resale shop (goodwill) for longer smoking with less maintenance necessary.
    One other thing, a solid shelf to block off smaller sections of smoke house to retain heat was suggested to me.

  13. AvatarDave Mc says

    For the heat source, dig a hole for the firepit about three feet away. Dig a channel for the chimney over to the smokehouse. Cover it with flat rocks. Between the amount of wood on the fire and the vents you should be able to control the temps very well.

    Or use a propane camping stove with a frying pan on it to put wood chips on 🙂

  14. Avatar says

    Wonderful site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And naturally, thank you for your sweat!

    • AvatarLila Gray says

      Thanks for the kind words! We really appreciate it! Definitely subscribe — there’s lots of good stuff on the way.

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