Ikea Hack, how to make a food BBQ smoker from Ikea parts

NOTE: Depending on who you ask, there is concern about using galvanized metal in a cooking container. Viewer uses the information here at their own risk.


Want to make a food smoker? watch us. As part of our work with Ford promoting the Ford Fiesta, we went to Ikea, and bought the parts to make a salmon smoker. neat. and it works great.

eric in Ikea parking lot with Gardenfork Ford Fiesta

Eric and his Ford Fiesta at the Red Hook Brooklyn IKEA

have you made a smoker? tell us :

First the recipe for the brine. You take the salmon, slice it into 2″ strips and place it skin side up in this brine. a 9″ x 13″ cake pan works well for this. Place the salmon in the refrigerator for at least an hour, longer is better.

Eric’s Salmon Brine Recipe:

2 quarts water

1 tablespoon Cinnamon

1 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup kosher salt – must be non-iodized

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon black pepper

Place the fish skin side down in this brine in a flat pan, cover in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Take out the salmon and place on a wire rack skin side down,

Drain the brine pan carefully, reserving the brine solids an. Take the brine solids at the bottom of the pan and use a brush to coat the salmon with the brine solids.

Point a small fan at the brined fish until the brine has pretty much dried on the fish.

How to smoke salmon:

Add a large handful of wet hickory woodchips ( or whatever kind you like ) to the cast iron pan on the electric hot plate.

Place the grate in the smoker and spray with non-stick cooking oil, or brush with vegetable oil. Lay the salmon skin side down on the smoker grate.

Place a digital thermometer probe in the fattest part of one of the pieces of fish, place another digital thermometer across the grate to read the ambient temperature in the smoker.

Turn the hot plate on, ( i set mine to HIGH ) close the lid, and let it cook. Check the ambient temperature, you want it to be 160-180 degrees. Adjust the hot plate accordingly.

Hot plates sometimes turn off by themselves, so one needs to pay attention if you notice smoke not coming out of the smoker. Also, use a heavy duty extension cord, the shortest possible, to plug in the hot plate. Its possible to trip a circuit breaker.

When the salmon reaches about 140F, it is smoked.

how to build an Ikea hack food smoker

for this Ikeahack, we’re using

2 Skrin storage containers

1 Lamplig trivet

1/4 threaded rod, 2 pieces cut to 17″

Four 1/4 nuts , preferably acorn nuts for the threaded rod

2 hinges – 2″ or 3″ metal hinges work well.

Bolts, lockwashers, and nuts for hinges. 1 1/2″ are a good length.

Washers that fit the bolts you are using for the hinges: you’ll need about 5 for each of the bolts you use to attach the hinges.


Attach the hinges to join the two Ikea Skrin boxes. Because of the rolled lip of the Skrin boxes, you’ll have to use the washers between the boxes and the hinges, so that the center pin of the hinges sits on top of the rolled edges of the two boxes.


Mark and drill the hinge bolt holes. Wear safety glasses when doing this.

Attach the hinges with the bolts, washers and lockwashers. Its handy to have a helper when doing this.


Drill four 3/8″ holes just inside where the hinges mount on the lower Skrin box.

In my original design i used bolts to hold up the Lamplig grate, this is not a great design, so I changed these bolts to threaded rod which extends across the Skrin box.

Cut the threaded rod to 17″and slide them through the holes. secure with acorn nuts. This will hold up the Lamplig grate.

salmon smoked in the Ikea Smoker

Additonal Modification: If you want, you can cut an access panel on the short side of the lower skrin box so one can easily add more woodchips to the hot plate. This is a lot easier than having to open the smoker and pulling out the grate.

The Skrin boxes come with metal covers, and you can use that metal to fabricate a access panel cover with a piano hinge and lock.

Troy-Bilt Flex


  1. BlueNoser says

    Thrilled to have found GardenFork.tv, and have especially enjoyed the different smoker versions.
    Would love to know if you’ve had success with anything other than salmon, or have tried any other meats in the Ikea hack smoker. That one shows real promise.

  2. says

    Your site is loaded with amazing information. I love BBQ smoked food as much as you do. I certainly come back as often as possible. Keep up the good work. Two thumbs up. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    @BlueNoser and Carroll. thanks for the comments. i have not tried other things in the Ikea Hack Food Smoker, but i will next spring. its easy to use, simple to smoke.

    thx, eri c

  4. Jeremy says

    You may want to rethink this project. Cooking in galvanized steel containers can produce toxic fumes and lead to zinc poisoning. This can cause lethargy, dizziness, nausea, fever, diarrhea, irritability, muscular stiffness and pain, loss of appetite, and reversible pancreatic and neurological damage.

    In addition to the zinc, most galvanized steel is coated with a passivation chemical to prevent “white rust”. A common passivation chemical used is Hexavalent Chromium; a very harmful carcinogen when ingested, absorbed by the skin, or inhaled. Heating of galvanized steel can allow the passivation chemical to be liberated and thereby create a health concern

  5. Chimi says

    Jeremy is right. When I read this, I immediately thought about how poisoned everybody will be from all this toxic fumes generator. Just buy a (not too) cheap smoker and save the health of your friends and family.

  6. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    @jeremy do you have a link to some info about this. the smoker is at such a low temperature, about 160 F . thx. eric.

  7. Garrett Staats says

    @Jeremy – Smoking is not always cooking.

    Eric just said that the temp is 160F. This is way too low to liberate any of the metals that make up the containers. As a matter of fact, you can smoke meats with a temperature < 100F, which I always do.

    Note: Traditional smoked / partially dried meats and fish are not really supposed to be cooked, it's just the FDA regulations these days that are SCARING us into losing thousands of years of smoking tradition. I don't think you can even legally buy dried meats like jerky that has not been cooked first (2003 law?). What a shame – there is so much flavor in jerky/sausage/salmon removed by raising cooking temperature.

  8. cait says

    I made my own smoker using a repurposed used grill grate, a small metal trash can, and a hotplate, much the same way. I smoke my own chipotles using this method (red jalapenos, smoked, are chipotle peppers).

  9. Michael says

    Could you not spray the inside with BBQ paint after the initial burn off? It might give a bit better thermal value (being black), and protect the metal from rust etc.

  10. says

    I had no idea that building a smoker was so simple. Cardboard box, odds & ends, whatever you got. I think I could do this! I have a stovetop smoker, but it’s considered a ‘hot smoker’ so it cooks the meat and gives it the smoke flavor, but there’s no curing or preserving effect like with the cold smoker like you’ve done. I prefer the cured, cold smoked salmon over the hot smoked. Thanks for sharing these ideas!

  11. says

    Interesting concept! I knew building smokers were not that difficult unfortunately, I do not have an IKEA store in my area but, I am sure that I could find the necessary items at a Lowe’s or Home Depot type of store. Bookmarked


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