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21 File Cabinet Smokers-Turn An Old File Cabinet Into A Meat Smoker

Transforming a file cabinet into an amazing meat smoker is cheap and easy. It’s an ideal way to recycle an unused metal filing cabinet and the result is an efficient meat smoker.

Metal file cabinets have 3-6 drawers and each one be used to smoke different meats or vegetables. You can smoke an entire animal after harvesting it or smoke a three course dinner that contains meat and vegetables. Get the smoke started in the morning and your tasty meal will be ready at the end of the day.

This is ideal for homesteaders who harvest and preserve meat. The smoking process seals in the natural flavors and cold smoking makes the meat last for months. Smoking vegetables harvested from your garden will remove the moisture so you can store them and rehydrate them during the winter.

Check out from our round up these free plans for 21 file cabinet smokers to discover which one is right for your homestead.

1- Temperature Controlled Meat Smoker

Create a cheap and easy temperature controlled meat smoker with this YouTube video tutorial. I recommend this to those one who only need a small smoker for meats or making jerky. The electric heating element in the bottom and outside mounted thermostat and controller make this smoker easy to use.

A two drawer file cabinet is used for this design but a three drawer could also be used so more meats could be smoked at the same time.

The electric heating element at the bottom makes this smoker safe to use inside since there are no open flames to worry about.

If you have an old, unused electric stove with a good heating element and a two drawer file cabinet, this DIY project will cost you almost nothing. Hunters will appreciate the ability to make meat jerky from animals they harvest during hunting season in this temperature-controlled meat smoker.

2- Four-Drawer File Cabinet Smoker

Building a smoker is made simple and cheap with these step-by-step instructions we have in this smoker plan by snapguide. Start with an old, discarded metal filing cabinet, drill holes in the back and in the bottom of each drawer.

Fill a disposable aluminum pan with charcoal briquets, place in the bottom draw and light. When the briquets start smoking, place meat on racks in the upper drawers, then close the drawers and relax while the meat smokes and cooks to perfection.

Four-Drawer File Cabinet Smoker
Four-Drawer File Cabinet Smoker, Image via: snapguide

3- Double-Decker File Cabinet Smoker

Stack 2-two drawer file cabinets to create this double-decker DIY smoker by aussiebbq that can smoke a lot of meat at once. This design can be heated with charcoal or gas for slow and low heat that will smoke meats to perfection.

The top drawer of this double-decker file cabinet smoker by is ideal for infusing foods like vegetables, fruits, and desserts with a light smoky flavor.

The finished smoker can be painted with heat-resistant paint that can withstand high temperatures to make it look like an expensive smoker instead of a homemade file cabinet smoker.

Double-Decker File Cabinet Smoker
Double-Decker File Cabinet Smoker, Image via: aussiebbq

4- Wood File Cabinet Smoker

This is awesome for people who enjoy throwing large backyard BBQs for family and friends! The large drawers allow lots of food to be cooked and smoked at the same time. This free video will show you how to build your own smoker by awesomejelly from an old file cabinet and be able to feed a crowd.

Wood File Cabinet Smoker
Wood File Cabinet Smoker, Image via: awesomejelly

5- Facebook File Cabinet Smoker

This intriguing and informative video that was posted on Facebook  and shows how to build a cabinet smoker. With well over 3 million views so far, the builder of the Facebook smoker certainly knows how to create an inexpensive and highly effective smoker from a recycled file cabinet by firstwefeast. Watch this video so you can learn tips and tricks from a DIY pro and consider making your own Facebook video.

file cabinet smoker
file cabinet smoker, Image via: firstwefeast

6- Little File Cabinet Smoker

This is an ideal companion to the family grill. This meat smoker by instructables is perfect for smoking enough meat to feed the family and a friend or two while using the BBQ grill or stove top for vegetable side dishes. Easy to build with these detailed instructions and the small size makes it easy to use in small backyard spaces and for storing when not in use.

Little File Cabinet Smoker
Little File Cabinet Smoker, Image via: instructables

7- Filing Cabinet BBQ

A four drawer metal filing cabinet can be recycled into a cold smoker and a hot BBQ cooker. This DIY project will give you the best of both worlds for your meat and vegetables. You will be able to cook food that has a deep smoky flavor that penetrates all the way through the food with this homemade BBQ idea.

Build the fire in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet and place the meat in the next drawer and the vegetables in the top drawer. You will be able to cook an entire flavorful meal in this filing cabinet BBQ on youtube with very little effort.

The closed drawers keep the heat and smoke inside the filing cabinet so it will permeate deep into the food, not just cover the exterior of the food. This YouTube video will provide you with free, detailed building plans so you can recycle an old four drawer filing cabinet into a cheap and efficient home BBQ.

8- Side Rack File Cabinet Smoker

A recycled file cabinet smoker by therecykler does not have to be plain, you can add side shelves and hooks that will help make the smoking process more convenient for the chef. Adding side racks and hooks won’t even add to the cost of the DIY smoker build if you get creative. This DIY smoker builder used a discarded shopping cart and metal store shelves to complete his creation and make it more functional for his BBQing needs.

Since it’s a DIY build, you are free to add whatever is needed to make the smoking process go smoothly and clean-up a breeze. Add a set of wheels to make the new DIY smoker easily portable for cooking and storing afterwards. You may also like to check out diy pizza ovens for outdoor backing.

Side Rack File Cabinet Smoker
Side Rack File Cabinet Smoker, Image via: therecykler

9- Old Grey File Cabinet Smoker

An old grey metal filing cabinet by dailymail is functional for paper storage, but it’s the most boring pieces of furniture in the home or office. But all that changes with a simple DIY transformation. An old grey filing cabinet can be turned into the most useful and amazing pieces of hardware in your backyard when you follow these step by step instructions.

Turn that old grey filing cabinet into a BBQ smoker and paint it any color you want (use heat-resistant paint). Boring furniture never looked, or smelled, so good before. Your friends will be asking for your BBQ recipe and to build them a file cabinet smoker

Old Grey File Cabinet Smoker
Old Grey File Cabinet Smoker, Image via: dailymail

10- Filing Cabinet Smoker

Use these free plans to transform an old metal filing cabinet into a homemade smoker like this one. Older metal filing cabinets are made of thicker steel than those build within the last decade, and the thicker steel makes a better smoker.

The size of the cabinet depends on how much meat you plan to smoke at a time. A small, three-drawer filing cabinet is the right size for smoking meat for a cookout, but if you want to smoke meat and stockpile it as a winter food source, a 6 drawer metal cabinet would be best.

Filing Cabinet Smoker
Filing Cabinet Smoker, Image via: instructables

11- Meat Smoker By Mecosmoker

This four-drawer filing cabinet makes an ideal meat smoker like this one by mecosmoker especially when you have a lot of fresh meat that needs to be preserved.

This video tutorial will show you how to build a smoker that will handle a large quantity of fresh meat at the same time. A great DIY project for living a sustainable life and hunt and fish for their meat.

Meat Smoker
Meat Smoker, Image via: mecosmoker

12- $20 File Cabinet Smoker

Nothing pleases a hungry crowd better than BBQ meat and a large smoker can get the job done. However, large commercial smokers are expensive, but a large homemade smoker like this one by patriotcaller can be made for $20. Amaze your friends and feed a crowd when you follow this instructional video for building an inexpensive DIY file cabinet smoker.

DIY file cabinet smoker
DIY file cabinet smoker, Image via: patriotcaller

13- Three-Drawer File Cabinet Smoker With PID

This three-drawer smoker holds wood chips in the bottom drawer and sends a steady supply of smoke up to the two top drawers, thanks to the PID. The proportional-integral-derivative controller is an intelligent temperature controller that enables you to smoke the meat to your exact specifications.

This file cabinet smoker by smokingmeatforums is a smart design with intelligent features typically found in an expensive store-bought smoker. A homemade smoker doesn’t have to be a bare-bones model, it can have all the bells and whistles you want since you are the one building it.

Three-Drawer Smoker With PID
Three-Drawer Smoker With PID, Image via: smokingmeatforums

14- File Cabinet Smoker For Under $100

Store-bought smokers can cost hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars but building a smoker can cost you less than $100 with these plans.

One hundred dollars may seem a little expensive to some do-it-yourselfers but most of that money is spent on heat-resistant paint. If you already have a four-drawer file cabinet and don’t want to paint it, this DIY smoker by dglobe can be made for almost nothing.

Recycle old grill grates for the bottoms of the top two drawers of the smoker will save money, plus a kitchen raid can probably garner you a couple of old aluminum pans to hold the charcoal, water and wood chips too.

An Iowa teenager successfully built this file cabinet smoker and won the state championship at the county fair with her DIY design, and now she will show you how to build a smoker just like her award-winning one.

File Cabinet Smoker For Under $100
File Cabinet Smoker For Under $100, Image via: dglobe

15- DIY Smoker

This detailed video will show you how to turn a file cabinet into a functional smoker by nothinglikebbq, plus provide you with a delicious recipe to get you started. It’s a fun and easy build that will enable you to build a DIY smoker and have guests over for a backyard BBQ on the same day. Your guests may want you to build them a DIY smoker and get you started in a side-hustle business venture that will bring in extra income.

DIY Smoker
DIY Smoker, Image via: nothinglikebbq

16- Beginner Smoker Build

This is a good file cabinet smoker on youtube to start with if you are a beginner DIY’er. This project requires minimal skills, minimal tools, and very little money. If you have the filing cabinet on hand, then the smoker will be almost free to build.

This YouTube video will show you all the details for building this filing cabinet smoker. It will only take a few hours to build and will last for years. This file cabinet smoker was made using a two drawer filing cabinet but you could also use a three or four drawer one.

These free plans are easy to follow so even a beginner can build a smoker. Recycle that old filing cabinet into something useful like a DIY smoker. The homemade smoker is sturdy and will last for years.

17- Redneck File Cabinet Smoker

When something is referred to as ‘redneck’ it just means it’s a DIY item that costs very little to create. Rednecks are folks that know how to build things and save money, like this efficient file cabinet smoker.

Watch this YouTube video for complete instructions on how to build a smoker from a four drawer metal filing cabinet. The large size of this filing cabinet on youtube will allow you to smoke a lot of food at once making it ideal for a farmer or hunter that has a lot of fresh vegetables or harvested meat to preserve.

Make one of these redneck file cabinet smokers for your off grid homestead so you can preserve fresh food without electricity. The cold smoke will dehydrate the food so it keeps without refrigeration. The smoke will penetrate through the food and adds flavor that will be a welcomed addition to any meal.

18- Meat Smoker

If you love to eat jerky but hate to pay the high price for it at the store, start making your own jerky. This DIY file cabinet smoker is one of our most favorite smokers. This meat smoker is the ideal way to make your own jerky for minimal expense.

Learn how to make a smoker in this YouTube video that will quickly smoke and dehydrate your favorite meat and turn it into tasty jerky.

Jerky is not the only thing that you can make with this DIY file cabinet smoker, you can also smoke meat and vegetables for preservation. The electric heating unit in the bottom of the cabinet allows you to control the temperature so your smoked food will turn out perfect every time.

Even though this DIY smoker on youtube is electric it will not cost much to operate. The low heat keeps the electrical usage and cost way down. You can recycle an old filing cabinet and heating unit from a stove for this DIY project. This will keep the building cost low and keep usable items out of the landfill. The controlled temperature gives you perfect results every time you smoke food.

19- Cheap Filing Cabinet Smoker

If you are tired of spending money on the smokers sold at retail stores, consider building a cheap file cabinet smoker that does that same job.

Learn how to build a DIY smoker in this YouTube video for less than $35. It won’t be any harder to build one than it is to put a store bought one together. The DIY smoker will last just as long and probably smoke meat better than a store bought one.

Growing food, raising meat animals, and harvesting game animals is a way of life on a homestead and you need a way to preserve the food that is safe and sustainable. Dehydrate the food so it can be preserved without electricity so you will never have to worry about a power outage and losing all the food in your freezer. Dehydrated food does not require refrigeration or freezing to remain safe for eating.

This file cabinet smoker can also be used to prepare meals for the family to enjoy at the end of a long workday. It will make a perfect addition to any homestead, plus it is cheap to build.

20- Four-Tier File Cabinet Smoker

This brilliant project can change your ordinary backyard BBQs into extraordinary eating experiences. Recycle an old four-drawer filing cabinet into a highly efficient DIY smoker with just a little work.

This video will show you how to make a smoker by delish that is easy to create and easy to use. Place charcoal in an aluminum pan in the bottom drawer, water and wood chips in the second drawer and meats in the top two drawers. The results will be melt-in-your-mouth ribs that will be the envy of your neighborhood.

Only minimal construction and very few tools are needed to create this file cabinet smoker, and the heavy-duty steel of the cabinet will last through years of use.

Four-Tier File Cabinet Smoker
Four-Tier File Cabinet Smoker, Image via: delish

21- File Cabinet BBQ Smoker

In our last smoker plans you can Re-purpose a five-drawer file cabinet into a functional BBQ smoker like in this YouTube video.

Learn how to make the file cabinet airtight so all of the smokey flavors are directed into the meat in the file cabinet smoker. This educational video will also show you how to repose damper grates from an old BBQ grill for use on the new file cabinet smoker so the internal heat and smoke can easily be controlled. Learn how to re-purpose other items you may have on hand to create this file cabinet BBQ smoker by watching this YouTube video.


So these are different types of  file cabinet smoker we have shared, you can recycle them to smoke your favorite meat. Smoking can make your food rich in flavour and also by cold smoking you can store your harvest meat to be used over the time. You can choose any of these filing cabinet smokers to enjoy the flavor of smoked meat.


Michigan State University Extention, by Christine Venema, pub: December 19, 2016, “Smoking as a food cooking method”, https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/smoking_as_a_food_cooking_method

Reaearch Gate, pub: January 2004, author: Julie A. ALBRECHT Ph.D, “NF04-605 Smoking Meat and Poultry”, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267721939_NF04-605_Smoking_Meat_and_Poultry

ACS Publications, Publication Date:August 7, 2020, “Effects of Smoking Temperature, Smoking Time, and Type of Wood Sawdust on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Accumulation Levels in Directly Smoked Pork Sausages”, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jafc.0c04116

Science Direct: pub: 2016, “Safety by Control of Water Activity: Drying, Smoking, and Salt or Sugar Addition”, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/smoked-meat

About Farhan Ahsan

My name is Farhan Ahsan,I am web enthusiast, writer and blogger. I always strive to be passionate about my work. I started my work at the beginning of 2007 by engaging myself with detail reading and exchanging information with others. Since then things and times have changed, but one thing remains the same and that is my passion for helping and educating people, building a successful blog and delivering quality content to the readers. I always love to write about gardening, sustainable life, off grid living and homestead farming.

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