DIY Garbage Can Smoker

DIY Garbage Can Smoker

Things are starting to heat up here in the Valley. I am really enjoying these sunny days and warmer temps. It is making me hunger for cooking in the great outdoors. I love BBQing and smoking meats. If smoking meats if your thing too but you don’t have a smoker, then do I have a post for you! Check out how I made a DIY Garbage Can Smoker for less then $70!

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Items Needed:

  • Garbage Can
  • Circular grill grate (the largest you can get that can still fit inside the garbage can.)
  • (4) 3″ x 3/8″ bolts with washer and nuts
  • BBQ/Smoker Thermometer
  • Aluminum Foil Tape
  • Two 1.5″ galvanized hinges
  • 2″ latch
  • Two empty and washed out tuna fish cans
  • 15 #10 – 24 x 3/4 machine screws and nuts
  • 5 bricks


1. The first thing you need to do is mark your measurements for the door. The door should be big enough to get to your charcoal/wood chips into the bottom of the smoker. I cut the bottom of the door 8″ from the bottom of the trash can. The dimensions were about 12″ wide and 9″ high.

2. Take your Dremel, die grinder or anything you have to cut tin with and cut out the door.

3. Use some magnets or tape to hold the door in place so that you can mark where to drill the holes for the hinges and latch.

4. Drill some holes for the two door hinges and one latch.

5. Screw on the latch and hinges with the #10 screws.

6. Take your two empty tuna fish cans and drill holes into the cans and lids to make smoke vents. I used a drill press but a regular drill would work as well.

Tip: flatten the lid of your tuna fish can and place on the bottom of the tuna can so as you drill the holes will line up. Make sure you drill one hole in the very center of can bottom and lid so you have a place to fit your screw.

7. Next trace around your tuna cans onto your trash can and then cut holes. One vent will be placed toward the bottom of the can. The second tuna can vent will be placed in the top of the lid. The placement of the cans does not matter much as long as one is at the bottom of the can and the second is in the lid of the garbage can. Just some place to help the smoke vent out of the can.

8. Screw the lid and your tuna can together to create a vent for your smoker. You will want the screw loose enough that you can turn the lid so you can open and close your vent.

Tip: You can slit your tuna can halfway up the can to help hold the can in place after you mount them.

9. Tape your tuna can over your holes using the aluminum foil tape.

DIY Garbage Can Smoker

10. Drill four 3/8″ holes for your bolts about 8″ down from the top of your garbage can. Place all four 3″ x 3/8″ bolts into your trash can. Secure them each with a washer and nut. You will want these to be evenly spaced around the can.

11. Next place bricks at the bottom of your trash can so that the charcoal will not melt through the bottom.

12. Place the grill grate on top of the four bolts.

13. Add the smoker thermometer into the garbage can lid on opposite side of your tuna can vent.

Look how simple that was! In just one afternoon you can have your DIY Garbage Can Smoker made and ready to smoke up some burgers for dinner!

DIY Garbage Can Smoker
DIY Garbage Can Smoker
DIY Garbage Can Smoker

FYI: The burgers were SO GOOD!

Looking for a great dessert to go along with your smoked burgers? Check out our recipe for Peanut Butter Pie!

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8 thoughts on “DIY Garbage Can Smoker”

  1. That is such an awesome idea. I really love this. I’m going to have to do this too. I bet my husband would love it.

  2. wow! It’s fabulous to make your own smoker by your own! Love how easy it is following your tips!

  3. Oh waht a great idea! I will have to ask my dad to make this. It looks easy and cheaper than what are for sale.

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