How to Build a Rotisserie Smoker: A Step-By-Step Guide

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If you’re looking for a way to up your BBQ game, building a rotisserie smoker may be just the ticket. Not only does it allow you to cook large cuts of meat like whole chickens or roast beef to perfection, but it also adds a unique flavor profile to your cooking. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of building your own rotisserie smoker from start to finish.

Materials Required

Before diving into the build process, it’s important to make sure you have the necessary materials and tools. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • 55-gallon drum
  • Grill grates
  • Steel rods
  • Rotisserie kit (motor, spit rod, forks)
  • Charcoal basket
  • Metal saw
  • Drill
  • Angle grinder
  • Welding machine (optional)

Building Process

Now that you have the necessary materials and tools, it’s time to start building! Here are the main steps:

  1. Prepare the drum: Clean the drum and cut it in half lengthwise using a metal saw. Make sure to remove any sharp edges after cutting.
  2. Drill holes: Drill several evenly spaced holes along the top and bottom edges of both drum halves. This will be where the steel rods will be inserted to hold the grates and rotisserie kit.
  3. Insert steel rods: Insert the steel rods into the holes you drilled, making sure they are level and even. These will serve as the support for your grill grates and rotisserie kit.
  4. Add charcoal basket: Cut a rectangular opening on the bottom half of the drum and insert the charcoal basket. This will be where you’ll put the charcoal for smoking.
  5. Attach grill grates: Place your grill grates on top of the steel rods, making sure they are level. You can use several grates, depending on how much food you want to smoke at once.
  6. Install rotisserie kit: Insert the spit rod through the meat and attach it to the rotisserie motor. Place the forks on the rod and insert it into the drum. Turn on the motor and you’re ready to start smoking!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I build a rotisserie smoker without welding?

Yes, you can! While welding can make the process easier and more secure, it’s not a requirement. You can use bolts, clamps, and other methods to hold the steel rods and other components in place.

How long does it take to smoke meat in a rotisserie smoker?

This will depend on the type of meat and the temperature you’re smoking at. Generally, it can take anywhere from 4-6 hours to smoke a whole chicken and up to 12 hours for a brisket. It’s important to make sure the meat is fully cooked and reaches the appropriate internal temperature before consuming.

What types of wood are best for smoking?

This is largely a matter of personal preference, but some popular choices include hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry wood. You can also experiment with different combinations to create unique flavors.


Building a rotisserie smoker may seem like a daunting task, but with the right materials and tools, it’s a project that can be accomplished in a weekend. Not only will you have a unique and impressive addition to your backyard BBQ setup, but you’ll also be able to create mouth-watering smoked meats that are sure to impress your friends and family. Happy smoking!


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