How to Build Hog Cookers & Smokers


Cooking a whole hog is not an everyday task; it's something to do for a really special occasion, and you need a great cooker to do the job. That being said, you don't want to invest in a costly pig roaster or a spit for something that you only use once or twice a year. You can make an excellent hog cooker that doubles as a smoker from an old 55-gallon drum, and the best part is you can use it for all your barbecue, grilling and smoking needs.

Things You'll Need

  • 55-gallon drum
  • Angle grinder or metal-cutting jigsaw
  • Protective clothing, gloves and face mask
  • Metal rasp
  • Metal cart, stand or table
  • Drill
  • Metal drill bit
  • Bolts, various sizes
  • Metal grate
  • 2 metal hinges
  • Metal handle
  • Steel rod, 1-inch diameter
  • Mechanized crank/hand crank
  • Coals
  • Wood chips
  • Metal grill plate
  • Cut a 55-gallon drum in two lengthwise using an angle grinder or a metal-cutting jigsaw. Wear protective clothing, gloves and a face mask while cutting. Use a metal rasp to smooth the cut edges of the drum. One half will be the cooker, the other the lid.

  • Place one of the drum halves atop a metal table or cart, cut side up like a baby cradle. Drill four pilot holes through each corner of the drum, sized to fit bolts that are long enough to go through the drum and table. Bolt the drum to the table. Drill four 1/8-inch holes on each side of the drum base for ventilation.

  • Cut a piece of metal grate until it fits into the base of the drum, sitting around 2 inches from the bottom. This grate will be for coals.

  • Position two hinges around 4 inches in from either end of a long edge of the lid portion; bolt down using bolts long enough to go through the drum and hinge. Place the lid over the top of the other drum half, so that the drum looks whole again, and bolt the other side of the hinges to the base drum. Bolt a metal handle to the lid portion.

  • Leave the lid closed and find the center of the circular end of the drum. Drill a 1 1/2 inch hole at the center point of both ends, which will mean that half the hole is on the base and half on the lid. This is where a rotisserie spit will sit.

  • Cut a piece of 1-inch diameter steel rod to approximately 8 to 10 inches longer than the lengthwise measurement of the drum. Bolt the handle portion of a mechanized or hand-powered crank to the end of the rod.

  • Place lots of coals on the metal grate and rest the rotisserie along the drum to use it as a rotisserie cooker. Place a metal grill plate over the top of the bottom half of the drum to use it as a grill. If you want to use it as a smoker, place a few hot coals covered in wood chips on the metal grate, and use the rotisserie or grill plate to smoke your hog or other meat.

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