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Most of the hard work covering this subject has already been done by Bradley Smokers. They have lots of information on smoking food (and also about curing it) - there's even a forum too.

The equipment

I felt I could not justify the high cost of a ready-built smoker; however, the do-it-yourself option appealed to the cheapskate in me. It's really simple - you make a hole in the side of a large box (for that, read old fridge), then from the outside of the fridge, poke the smoker unit into the hole and from the inside of the fridge fix the flange, cut a hole for a chimney, plug in the smoker (not the fridge!!) and off you go. Bradley provide a blueprint in a pdf document, though making a smoker from an old fridge is not in fact as complex as it first appears from this information sheet.

You can almost smell the smoke

If I were to do it again from scratch, I would make the hole for the chimney at the very top of one of the sides, rather than in the top (roof) of the fridge, because with the latter option, moisture can condense (or even the rain can get in) and drip down onto the food being smoked - definitely not desirable in terms of quality, flavour, look and microbial safety of the final product.

If you don't have an old fridge to hand (who does?), just nip down to your local recycling centre and do your bit for the planet and repatriate one.

Alternatives to large smokers

Should you be short of space, you could look at a Bradley Countertop Smoker, which is about the size of a large microwave oven. It has two shelves and a.drip-tray. Polyscience also produces a Smoking Gun, which you can use to smoke food in the kitchen in small quantities. Please note that the Countertop smoker hot smokes only, and the Smoking Gun is for cold smoking only. It would be therefore, ideal to have both and they take up comparatively less space than a conventional smoker.


I use the smoker twice a year to smoke my home-cured bacon. I also use it in between to smoke chicken, king prawns, cheese, tandoori chicken and salmon.

User:Robin, of FotoosVanRobin fame has kindly given us permission to use the tips below.

Bisquette 'flavours' and uses

A bisquette is the term for special discs, made by compressing the sawdust (and bound together with natural collagen) from unusual varieties of tree woods which have been specially selected and prepared for smoking in a Bradley machine to impart special and exciting flavours to your foods.

Tip of the day

Go to your fishing gear shop. They sell bags full of cheaper wood chips. And cheaper smokers too!

See also