“Food prepared in a smoker is always a treat, so building a backyard smoker is a perfect project for those who love to combine making things and eating things,” reads the intro to William Gurstelle‘s newest project for MAKE, the Nellie Bly Smoker, which appears on the pages of MAKE Volume 32. The body of this unique smoker is an open head 55-gallon drum, said to have been invented by famous adventurer, reporter, and industrialist Nellie Bly. Unlike most traditional drum smokers, this electric smoker features a two-box configuration, which allows for great temperature control and opens up possibilites for either hot or cold smoking. Pictured above is MAKE Projects Editor Keith Hammond and his dog, Gage, getting ready to test the project by hot-smoking tri-tips. Pictured below is the basic smoker diagram.
How does it work? Inside the firebox an electric hot plate heats wood chips in a shallow pan to generate smoke. A louver in the bottom controls airflow. The food box or smoke chamber has two sealed doors for access, a grill to support food, and four eyebolts for hanging food. Two thermometers monitor the temperature inside. A flexible, extensible duct carries smoke from the firebox to the food box. The temperature inside the food box is controlled by shortening or lengthening the smoke duct. To help draw the smoke upward over the food, the food box is raised above the firebox by a stand, and fitted with a chimney.
Check out the full build instructions starting on page 94 of Volume 32, or on Make: Projects.