Alton Brown's Cheap And Genius Method For An At-Home Smoker

Have you ever been to a barbecue location that offered the most flavorful, perfectly smoked brisket or ribs? Smoking meat has a number of benefits, like allowing you to use an inexpensive cut of meat to create a decadent, tender, and juice-filled meal. More so, smoking imparts the unique flavor profile of the type of wood you select to use, as noted by Rackz BBQ. And it's also a fantastic way to preserve meat.

As noted by Michigan State University, the smoking process increases the temperature of the air within the smoker just enough to cook the meat over a long period of time.

Perhaps you would love to replicate that same flavor and texture at home, but the cost of purchasing a smoker seems out of line with your budget (you may even want to smoke meat right in your kitchen instead of outside). Luckily, celebrity chef Alton Brown has a rather simplistic way of smoking without such an investment.

Turn a cardboard box into a smoker

It's easy enough to purchase a smoker, but doing so can be a bit expensive, takes some practice to get just right, and takes up a lot of space. If you want to try out the smoking technique inexpensively, follow the advice of Alton Brown, who shares that you can use a simple cardboard box as your smoking vessel in an episode of Food Network's "Good Eats: The Return."

In the episode, Brown uses a heavy duty cardboard box that's well insulated, as this can help to maintain temperatures as high as 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside the box, he places a roasting pan on the bottom with an off-the-store-shelf electric plate in it. He then uses a metal pie pan with holes in it to act as a type of smoke diffuser. He also positions two wooden dowels to run across the top portion of the box, creating a place to hang the meat over. 

To start the process, place wood chips in the roasting pan and plug in the electric plate so it heats up; Choose some of the best cuts of meat for smoking and give it a try.