Old Fridge Smoker

DIY Fridge Into a Smoker Project: 10 Easy Conversion Steps

We use refrigerators to store food, but have you ever thought of using them to cook food? Yes, you can cook food in a refrigerator! If you have an old fridge that needs replacing, you can give it a new purpose by turning it into a smoker! Turning a fridge into a smoker is a doable project for anyone.

Old Fridge Smoker

Now turning an old fridge into a smoker doesn’t have a single step-by-step guide. This conversion project would depend on the kind of fridge that you have and the materials available to you.

If you have a limited budget, you can build your old fridge smoker completely out of salvaged materials. For instance, you can use parts of a kitchen range for baking elements and temperature control. In some places, an old but working kitchen range can be acquired for free!

You can also use recycled materials for your smoke generator, like an old printer cabinet.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive smoker or you just enjoy recycling, this project will surely be rewarding when done. You can transform your old fridge to be a cold smoker, hot smoker, or both. So just imagine all that delicious food you can make with your one-of-a-kind smoker! ;)

A successful fridge into a smoker conversion project.

Converting a Fridge Into a Smoker


  • Old fridge
  • Heat source (electric hot plate, gas burner, or charcoal tray)
  • Metal racks or grates
  • Drip pan
  • Chimney or vent pipe
  • High-temperature silicone sealant
  • Thermometer
  • Insulation materials (for non-metal fridges)
  • Paint (heat resistant)


  1. Drill with metal drilling bits
  2. Jigsaw or metal saw
  3. Screwdriver


  1. Choose the Right Fridge: Select an old fridge no longer in use. A metal fridge is ideal because it’s durable and withstands high temperatures.
  2. Clean the Fridge: Remove all shelves, drawers, and plastic components. Clean the interior thoroughly to remove any residues or contaminants.
  3. Remove Hazardous Materials: Check for and remove any plastic parts or insulation that could emit toxic fumes when heated. This step is crucial for safety.
  4. Modify the Fridge for Ventilation: Drill holes at the top for the chimney or vent pipe. This will allow smoke to escape. You may also need to drill holes at the bottom to ensure proper air flow.
  5. Install the Heat Source: Place your chosen heat source at the bottom of the fridge. Ensure it’s securely mounted and stable.
  6. Add Racks and Drip Pan: Install metal racks or grates to hold the food at different heights. Place a drip pan below the racks to catch any drippings.
  7. Seal Gaps: Use high-temperature silicone sealant around the door and any holes to prevent smoke from escaping.
  8. Install a Thermometer: Mount a thermometer on the fridge door or wall to monitor the temperature inside the smoker.
  9. Paint the Fridge: Apply heat-resistant paint to the fridge’s exterior to protect it from rust and give it a fresh look.
  10. Test Your Smoker: Before using it to cook food, test your new smoker. Light the heat source and let it run for a few hours to ensure everything works well and to burn off any residues.

Safety Tips in Converting Your Fridge

Converting an old fridge into a smoker is an exciting DIY project. However, safety should always be your top priority. Here are some essential safety tips to ensure your fridge smoker project is not only successful but also safe.

Check for Toxic Materials

Before diving into your project, closely examine the fridge you plan to convert into a smoker. It’s essential to identify any toxic materials that could pose health risks. Older fridges, in particular, may contain insulation made from hazardous substances or refrigerants like Freon, which harm the environment and your health. 

If you find any of these materials, removing them carefully and responsibly is crucial. Given the risks associated with handling these substances, you might want to seek assistance from a professional. This step not only ensures your safety but also helps in making your fridge smoker project environmentally friendly.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

When converting a fridge into a smoker, creating a system for adequate ventilation is key. Proper airflow is necessary to prevent the buildup of smoke and harmful gases within the converted fridge. This involves designing the smoker with enough venting options, such as installing a chimney or vent pipes at the top and ensuring intake vents are at the bottom. 

The ventilation setup allows for a continuous flow of air, which is critical for the smoker to function correctly and safely. Not only does this help maintain an even temperature inside the smoker, but it also ensures that any combustion gases are efficiently expelled, reducing the risk of fire hazards and exposure to toxic gases.

Monitor Temperature

Keeping an eye on the temperature within your fridge smoker is critical for both safety and cooking quality. A reliable thermometer is a must-have tool in this scenario. It allows you to consistently check the internal temperature, ensuring it stays within the safe and desired range for smoking your food. 

Overheating is a real risk in DIY smokers and can lead to potential fires or irreparable damage to your fridge smoker. By regularly monitoring the temperature, you can make adjustments as needed to maintain control, ensuring your smoking process is both efficient and safe. This vigilance helps prevent accidents, protecting your investment in the fridge smoker, and guaranteeing that your smoked delicacies are cooked to perfection.

Use the Right Sealant

When sealing gaps in your fridge smoker, choosing the appropriate sealant is crucial. A high-temperature silicone sealant is ideal for this purpose. This sealant is designed to withstand the intense heat generated within the fridge smoker without degrading or emitting harmful fumes. These qualities are essential for maintaining the safety of your smoking environment and ensuring the integrity of your fridge smoker over time. 

Regular sealants may melt or release toxic gases when exposed to high temperatures, posing health risks and compromising the fridge smoker’s effectiveness. By selecting a high-temperature silicone sealant, you ensure a durable, safe seal that maintains the performance and safety of your fridge into a smoker, making it a reliable tool for your culinary adventures.

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Advanced Modifications for Fridge Smokers

Turning an old fridge into a smoker opens up culinary possibilities. Advanced modifications can enhance functionality, precision, and convenience for those who have mastered the basic setup. Here’s how you can take your fridge smoker to the next level.

Digital Temperature Controls

Incorporating digital temperature controls is crucial when converting your fridge into a smoker, aiming for precision in the smoking process. This feature lets you set the exact temperature needed for various meats, ensuring each piece is smoked to perfection. 

Installing digital temperature controls brings consistency to your fridge smoker, eliminating the need to manually check and adjust the temperature. You simply set the desired temperature, and the system maintains it, which is crucial for achieving the perfect smoke ring and tenderness in meats. This upgrade transforms your fridge into a smoker, from a simple DIY project to a professional-grade smoking apparatus.

Remote Monitoring Systems

Adding a remote monitoring system is a game-changer in converting your fridge into a smoker. By integrating Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled thermometers, you can monitor the internal temperature and smoke levels from anywhere using your smartphone. 

This modification means you can engage with guests, tackle other projects, or rest during long smoking sessions without needing to physically monitor the smoker. Remote monitoring systems enhance the smoking experience, making it more enjoyable and less labor-intensive by providing real-time alerts and data, ensuring your meat is smoked optimally.

Automated Smoke Generators

Integrating an automated smoke generator into your fridge smoker project marks a leap towards efficiency and convenience. These devices automate smoking by feeding wood chips or pellets at set intervals, maintaining consistent smoke levels critical for that perfect smoky flavor. 

The inclusion of an automated smoke generator in your fridge smoker frees you from the need to constantly monitor and reload smoking materials, allowing you to focus on other meal preparations or simply relax. This upgrade not only makes using your fridge as a smoker easier but also improves the quality of your smoked goods by ensuring even smoke exposure and eliminating uneven smoking areas, making your fridge smoker a more user-friendly, efficient, and reliable smoking tool.

Airflow Control Systems

Optimizing the airflow control when converting your fridge into a smoker significantly impacts the quality of your smoked goods. Adding adjustable vents or fans to your fridge smoker can regulate the smoke and temperature more precisely. T

his gives you greater control over the smoking environment, ensuring that your meats and other smoked items come out perfectly every time. The ability to fine-tune airflow allows for consistent smoke distribution and temperature control, essential for achieving the best flavor and texture in your smoked foods.

Insulation Upgrades

Enhancing the insulation is a key step in converting your fridge into a smoker, especially for maintaining heat retention and efficiency. Adding high-quality insulation materials to your fridge smoker’s interior walls and door reduces heat loss and minimizes fuel consumption. 

This is particularly beneficial in colder climates, where maintaining a consistent smoking temperature is challenging. Improved insulation ensures that your fridge smoker operates more efficiently, keeping the heat where needed and ensuring your smoked foods are cooked evenly and to perfection.

Safety Inspections After Converting Your Fridge into a Smoker

Ensuring your fridge smoker is safe and efficient requires regular safety inspections and upkeep. This crucial routine not only prolongs the life of your smoker but also guarantees safe smoking sessions. Here’s how to maintain and inspect your converted fridge into a smoker.

Regular Safety Checks

Conducting regular safety checks is a non-negotiable part of the maintenance routine for those who have taken the creative step of converting a fridge into a smoker. This involves thoroughly inspecting all electrical components, especially if you’ve integrated an electric heat source or digital temperature controls. 

Look for signs of wear, damage, or exposed wiring that could pose a risk. Ensuring the heat source within your fridge smoker operates without leaks or malfunction is crucial to prevent any fire hazards or smoking inconsistencies.

Moreover, the structural integrity of the fridge used as a smoker must be closely monitored. Regularly examine the exterior and interior for signs of corrosion, rust, or structural weakness. Any compromise in the fridge’s structure can affect your smoker’s performance and raise safety concerns. Keeping a vigilant eye on these aspects helps maintain the safe operation of your fridge into a smoker, ensuring it remains a reliable tool for your smoking endeavors.

Ventilation System Maintenance

The ventilation system plays a critical role in the successful conversion of your fridge into a smoker. Proper airflow is essential for controlling smoke density, temperature, and for ensuring the efficient removal of smoke. 

Ensure that the vents and chimney of your fridge smoker are always clear from obstructions. This might involve removing soot buildup or any debris that could impede airflow. A well-maintained ventilation system not only prevents dangerous smoke buildup inside your fridge smoker but also ensures that smoke flows smoothly, contributing to the quality of your smoked foods.

Regular cleaning and inspection of these ventilation components are crucial for maintaining optimal performance. This practice helps identify potential issues before they become serious problems, ensuring that your fridge smoker’s ventilation system contributes to a safer, more efficient smoking process. By prioritizing the maintenance of your fridge smoker’s ventilation, you ensure that every smoking session is not only enjoyable but also adheres to the highest standards of safety and efficiency.

Temperature Control Systems

When converting your fridge into a smoker and enhancing it with digital temperature controls or remote monitoring systems, the importance of frequent testing cannot be overstated. These advanced features, designed to give you precise control over the smoking process, require regular checks to verify their accuracy and functionality. 

Ensuring these systems provide reliable readings is crucial for maintaining the desired temperature within your fridge smoker. This level of vigilance helps prevent temperature fluctuations that could compromise the safety and efficiency of your smoking sessions. By consistently verifying that your temperature control and monitoring systems are in top working order, you guarantee that your fridge smoker operates within safe parameters, delivering perfectly smoked foods every time.

Cleaning and Upkeep

The cleanliness of your fridge smoker plays a pivotal role in both hygiene and operational safety. Accumulated ash, grease, and food residues pose significant fire hazards and affect the taste and quality of your smoked products. 

Regular removal of these substances is essential to maintain a safe smoking environment and to ensure the longevity of your fridge smoker. Additionally, conducting periodic inspections of the seals and insulation is critical. Over time, these components can wear out, leading to heat loss and smoke leakage, which can diminish the efficiency of your fridge smoker. 

Replacing worn seals and enhancing insulation when necessary helps retain optimal temperature and smoke levels, ensuring that your converted fridge into a smoker remains a safe and efficient tool for your culinary creations. Keeping your fridge smoker clean and well-maintained not only extends its lifespan but also ensures that every smoking session is a success, free from unnecessary risks and with the highest quality of smoked foods.

FAQ on Converting Your Fridge into a Smoker

Can you turn any fridge into a smoker?

Yes, most fridges can be transformed into smokers, but it’s best to use an older, non-working fridge. Metal fridges are preferred for their durability and ability to withstand high temperatures. Ensure the fridge does not have plastic interiors or insulation that can emit toxic fumes when heated.

What are the first steps in converting my fridge into a smoker?

Begin by thoroughly cleaning the fridge and removing all plastic components and shelves. Next, modify the fridge for ventilation and install a heat source at the bottom. Adding racks and a drip pan will prepare your fridge smoker for cooking.

How to I keep my project safe when I turn my fridge into a smoker?

Regular safety checks and maintenance are crucial. Inspect electrical components, the structural integrity of the fridge, and ensure your ventilation system is clear and functioning properly. Regularly cleaning your fridge smoker and checking the temperature control systems are also important for safe operation.

What kind of heat source can I use when I turn my fridge into a smoker?

You can use electric hot plates, gas burners, or charcoal trays as heat sources in your fridge smoker. The choice depends on your preference and the design of your fridge smoker.

How do I control the temperature in my fridge smoker?

Installing digital temperature controls or a thermometer can help you monitor and adjust the temperature inside your fridge smoker. For more advanced control, consider adding a remote monitoring system to adjust and track the temperature from your smartphone.

Can I paint my fridge smoker?

Yes, painting your fridge smoker with high-temperature resistant paint not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also protects the exterior from rust and weather elements. Ensure the paint is suitable for high-temperature applications.

What maintenance does my fridge smoker need?

Regular cleaning to remove ash, grease, and food residues is essential. Inspect and replace seals and insulation as needed to retain heat and prevent smoke leakage. Keeping the ventilation system clear and functional is also vital for the efficient operation of your fridge smoker.

Is converting a fridge into a smoker cost-effective?

Yes, converting a fridge into a smoker can be a cost-effective project, especially if you already have an old fridge. It allows for customization and can be less expensive than commercial smokers, with the added satisfaction of a DIY project.


Converting your fridge into a smoker is a rewarding project that combines recycling with culinary creativity. This DIY endeavor allows you to customize a smoking unit to your preferences while giving an old appliance a new lease on life.

After turning your fridge into a smoker, check out our DIY cooking projects such as our pizza oven!



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