How to Build a Rotisserie Smoker

Even in the 21st Century there are people are looking for how to build a rotisserie smoker. This is due to the fact that the modern BBQ machinery even the top notch electric smokers, the strong charcoal smokers and the stunning pellet smokers are not able to do what a rotisserie smoker can do. Yes! Its amazing to doing BBQ in the hunter’s way. A bulk of meat when pierced by a sharp long stick of highly observant iron and rotated at 360 degree, gives simply a traditional and appetizing impression.

You may be looking out the way to build your own rotisserie smoker by not expending much money. In this article I will share my way of building a good rotisserie smoker.

What is a Rotisserie Smoker?

There are some smokers that come with a built-in rotisserie, while others require some work on to attach a rotisserie. In any type, basic purpose of rotisserie remains the same, which is to circulate the food on grill on its own axis at a constant slow speed. Doing so, food is cooked perfectly from all the sides.

How to Build a Rotisserie Smoker

How to Build a giant Rotisserie Smoker?

Here I am going to tell you how to build a rotisserie smoker in our backyard from scratch.

Before start building, couple of key important things we need to follow:

  • Place of rotisserie smoker pit should be convenient in such a way that it may not be blocking paths or any particular way where you plan to build something else, as rotisserie smoker pit is going to be a onetime build, you could change its location where it settles the best.
  • Place of rotisserie smoker pit should be on a side where you are sure that smoke coming from pit will not cause any smoky disturbance to the residents and leave them with wet eyes.

1. Choosing a Material

The list of materials here is only my own suggestion, which worked for me. If you have any other better material or things to use, make them work as well. Unfortunately, I had to buy most of the materials.

For Bricks

For the bricks, I am going to use concrete blocks, because scaling the design of the pit is very easy with same size blocks. I made them all in specific size to work for me. These concrete blocks can be bought from any building material/hardware store. I chose square blocks with finished ends from my own experience.

For the Body

25 – – – – – 8″ x 8″ x 16″ standard blocks

15 – – – – – 8″ x 8″ x 16″ cap blocks (or standard)

4 – – – – – – 8″ x 8″ x 8″ half blocks

22 – – – – – 12″ x 12″ patio stones (optional)

4 to 8 – – -Wood/metal Stakes

– – – – – – Flagging tape or string

For the Pit

1 – – – – – -16′ x 12″ wide expanded steel (optional)

6 to 8 – – – 24″ rebar pieces (optional)

2 to 3 – – – Cubic feet of sand or gravel

2 – – – – – – -4′ x1.5″ metal pipe

For the Top/LID

1 – – – – – – Food-grade steel drum

– – – – – – Wooden hockey stick

– – – – – – 5″ x 5/16″ bolts (with nuts & washers)

1- – – – – – 20′ x 1.5″ angle iron (bed frames are great)

– – – – – – 2′ x 1/2″ threaded rod (with nuts & washers)

1 – – – – – – 7′ x 12″ (1/8″ thick) steel plate

1 – – – – – – High-heat flat-black BBQ spray paint

For the Grill(Optional)

1 – – – – – – Expanded Steel 30″ x 48″

2 – – – – – – 1″ x 64″ Steel Pipe

2. Equipment Involved

How to Build a Rotisserie Smoker
  • Shovel
  • Gloves
  • Hammers
  • Long Level
  • Short Level
  • Safety Glasses
  • Measuring Tape
  • Old Chisel or Axe
  • Permanent Marker
  • Carpenters Square
  • Hand-held Grinder
  • Metal Cutting Discs
  • Masonry Cutting Discs (optional)
  • Wheel-barrow (optional)
  • Friendly Welder Person
  • Axe for LOTS of Hardwood

3. Choosing the Right Location

I thought a lot about the location of the BBQ pit before assembling the parts, because it will give enough smoke and heat to the surrounding once fired up.

Chose a specific location, which is far away from, trees, kids playing area as well as the sitting area in the backyard. I had to use a wire extension for rotisserie motor, as the location was a little far from an electric socket.

You can save a bit by choosing location for BBQ pit near an electric socket (keeping in mind the problems regarding smoke and heat).

While choosing the location, I also considered the soil where I had to dig a pit, because I wanted it free of tree roots, which not only could catch fire but also would be hard to dig. However, as a precaution, I always keep buckets of water in case of any emergency, I advise you do the same.

4. Building a Good Foundation

As you may know, concrete blocks are heavy than any other such material. Each block may weigh 40-50lbs, so 40 of them worked just fine for me.

How to Build a Rotisserie Smoker

A solid foundation is very important, because it has to carry weight of concrete blocks and other parts. After digging and leveling the ground around it, I placed patio stones to mark the area of outer wall.

There is one more trick which could be helpful to determine the area of digging, if I had placed those patio stones before digging 1 foot pit, I thought about it afterwards, but I recommend you do so earlier. Further I used steel beams and a sol thin net for a better secured foundation.

5. Building a Structure

After making a strong foundation and securing it, I started laying concrete blocks tightly against each other, checking level and square shape quite often. You can use a hammer or an old axe to tease off extra bits on blocks.

How to Build a Rotisserie Smoker

You might need half blocks to complete a row in come places. On top I used cap blocks which are covered on top and do not contain holes, but are hollow and not solid on the inside. While laying the first row, I left holes in base for proper air intake.

Holes for mounting the hinge brackets were left in the top rows as well.

6. Managing the Support

I used an 8-foot steel pipe with few holes drilled through along the length. I also welded a gear on one end to attach rotisserie motor.

How to Build a Rotisserie Smoker

To support this steel pipe, I hammered 2 other steel pipes with welded horizontal arms to hold the main steel pipe on each side of the pit where “V” brackets were mounted on the inside. I could give a single support inside but horizontal welded steel arms were going to help support additional pipes.

I used two sizes of pipes inside one another to help me get an adjustable height, it will allow the grill to be lowered down for traditional cooking or raised for warming pots/plates. Long pin or bolt were to be used if needed to attach additional items on the grill.

7. Capping the BBQ Pit

I used an old food grade iron drum for capping. I cut it in half first and then welded both half drums together, also I attached a wooden handle in front side of the capping.

We managed to cover the whole length of BBQ pit and used bolts to attach to the top of BBQ pit structure on both sides, laid down a steel beam to support the capping stand vertical when opened.

How to Build a Rotisserie Smoker

To make the lid rotate we welded threaded rod to the back of the lid, which also prevents escaping heat.

8. Firing up BBQ Pit

Of course, you cannot use this BBQ pit right after building as you want to avoid toxic fumes floating around. To deal with humidity of this built-up structure, I started a really good fire prior to use it for cooking purposes. It burned off all finishes. Moreover, to protect the steel from getting rusty, I used high heat paint on the exterior as well as inside surface of the capping.

Final Thoughts

It is a very good thing that more companies have started building rotisserie feature in their BBQ smokers as well.

But smokers from various companies with equipped rotisserie feature are far more expensive than normal smokers, moreover those readymade rotisserie smokers cannot compete with self-built solid structure rotisserie smokers from the perspective of space, vulnerability, facilitation and many other features.

The most beneficial point of building your own DIY rotisserie smoker is that you can make modification in anything according to your requirements and needs.

As I added features of adjustable height of the grill, increased capacity of the grill pipe by making holes into it and attaching different pots and plates in those holes with bolts.

Furthermore, I built the solid brick structure bigger in area than the capping drum lid, because I wanted to have some space on the outside to place food items to be cooked, utensils and pots to be used, bear and other necessary items.

In this way I didn’t really require and trolly or table or anything for putting those items.

Rotisserie smokers make cooking whole chicken, turkey, big pieces of meat easier in your backyard. Not only that, but also automatic with the help of attached rotisserie motor, which rotates the grill on your desired speed, protecting your favorite food from burning on one side.


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