When the scent of hickory, mesquite or applewood smoke drifts from your smoker, you know something good is coming. This is before you can even smell the food that is cooking. If you purchase a cast-iron electric smoker it can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can make your own for a lot less. All you need is a container that will contain heat and smoke and maintain a high temperature for long periods of time. A do-it-yourself electric smoker can work just as well as a unit you buy in the store, if not better.
Ceramic Electric Smoker
Place the single electric burner into the bottom of one of the large ceramic flower pots and guide the electrical plug and cord through the hole in the bottom center of the pot.
Set this flower pot up on two cinder blocks, one on each side. The center hole with the plug coming out should remain unobstructed by the cinder blocks.
Place the first pie tin on top of the burner and add 1/2 cup pellets for small meals, such as one chicken. Use 1 cup of pellets for larger meals, like racks of ribs or a pork roast. If you really like the charcoal flavor with the wood chips add one or two pieces of charcoal. Do not use the charcoal with the lighter fluid additive. Those can affect the flavor of the food.
Place the small grill grate into the pot just over the burner, ideally it should be located about 3 inches off of the burner but this depends on the size of the grate and the flower pot. Put the second pie tin on this small grate. This will be your water tin which you will fill with water when you are ready to cook.
Place the large grill gate over small grate. Ideally, it should be large enough to sit below the inside lip of the pot and be about 6 inches above the small grate. If the large grate is too large it can sit on top of the lip of the flower pot. This is where the ham, turkey or chickens will go.
Invert the second flower pot over the first. Place a grill thermometer into the vent hole on the top of the second pot. Your electric ceramic smoker is ready for use. Turn on the burner, fill the second pie tin with water, and put the meats on the large grill grate. Cover the bottom pot with the inverted top one and insert the thermometer.
The Metal Electric Smoker
Drill a 1-inch hole in the center bottom of the trash can. This will be where the electrical cord for the burner is dropped through. Place the burner in the can and guide the electrical cord out the hole you drilled.
Set the trash can up on two cinder blocks, one on each side.
Drill four holes into the lid of the trash can three 1-inch holes and one 1/2-inch hole. Three of these holes will act as vents, and the small one will be for inserting the thermometer.
Drill six 1-inch holes around the bottom of the trash can sides just above where the burner will sit. These holes will allow oxygen into the smoker.
Measure 5 inches up from the top of the burner inside the can and make a mark at that location. Drill four 6-inch bolts into the can at this level. Use lock nuts and washers to keep them in place.
Place the first grill grate on these bolts, this will be where you put the water pan.
Measure 6 inches down from the top lip of the trash can. Drill four more 6-inch bolts with lock nuts and washers into the can. This will be where you place the meats you are smoking. Set the second grill grate on these bolts.
Put on the lid, and insert the thermometer. The electric smoker is now ready for use.