How to turn a kettle barbecue into a smoker

Yes it’s true. You CAN turn that kettle barbecue into your own homemade smoker. Because a kettle barbecue has a lid, it can be firmly closed to help contain the smoke.  All you need now is a sunny weekend to give this DIY trick a go.

How to turn a kettle barbecue into a smoker

You’ll need:

  • A kettle barbecue
  • Extra-thick kitchen foil
  • Aluminum dish or baking tray
  • Charcoal
  • Hickory wood chips (available from
  • 1 litre water or a mix of 500ml water and 500ml cider (or beer or wine)
  • A digital thermometer


  1. Cover two thirds of the base/lower rack of your kettle barbecue with extra-thick kitchen foil, leaving the rest of the grill uncovered for the coals.
  2. Take an aluminium dish (you can buy these in any supermarket) or roasting tray that’s about the same size as the foil-covered area and put it on top, then line this with another layer of extra-thick foil. This will serve as the drip tray.
  3. Cover the un-foiled section of the barbecue base with charcoal and light the coals. Once they are glowing white, add a good handful of hickory or other wood chips.
  4. Pour 1 litre water or a mix of water and cider into your drip tray, then put the top barbecue grill in position. Close the lid and put a thermometer through the vents at the top of the barbecue (some barbecues come with their own thermometer).
  5. After about 15 minutes or so it should be at temperature (150C-180C) and is ready to cook with.

Smoking large joints of meat can take a long time so you may need to restart the smoker after a while. Remove the meat and keep warm, add more charcoal, relight and, when ready, add more wood chips, then continue with the smoking.

See more barbecue tips here.

More to discover

Subscribe to our magazine

Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.


Unleash your inner chef

Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter

We treat your data with care. See our privacy policy. By signing up, you are agreeing to delicious.’ terms and conditions. Unsubscribe at any time.