How to Build – Smoker Charcoal Basket & Diverter Plates


Had a customer come to me looking for some solutions for his smoker. He needed a new charcoal basket and wanted to upgrade his smoker with diverter plates to control the heat/smoke better.

I had him bring me a template and some measurements so I could build him what he needed. He needed an 11″x10″x8″ charcoal box made from expanded steel and reinforced for durability. Also he wanted 6 pieces of 3/16″ plate steel cutouts and one custom curved 3/16″ diverter plate to fit his smoker.

Step one. Throw a big piece of 3/16" plate up on my workbench and start cutting with the plasma cutter!

Step one. Throw a big piece of 3/16″ plate up on my workbench and start cutting with the plasma cutter!

The first pieces were easy as they were just cut rectangle pieces with the edges smoothed so they weren't sharp.

The first pieces were easy as they were just cut rectangle pieces with the edges smoothed so they weren’t sharp.

The curved piece on the right was a slight bit more challenging, but still no problem because he had brought me over a cardboard template so we could be sure it fit when he got it home.

The curved piece on the right was a slight bit more challenging, but still no problem because he had brought me over a cardboard template so we could be sure it fit when he got it home.

Next I made the charcoal box. Once again I forgot to take in progress pictures, but it was pretty simple. I cut a 10" wide by 30" long piece of expanded steel and folded up 10" on either end. Then made two end caps out of expanded steel and welded them on. For a finishing touch, I made an angle iron reinforcement for the top of the basket so it would last a long time!

Next I made the charcoal box. Once again I forgot to take in progress pictures, but it was pretty simple. I cut a 10″ wide by 30″ long piece of expanded steel and folded up 10″ on either end. Then made two end caps out of expanded steel and welded them on. For a finishing touch, I made an angle iron reinforcement for the top of the basket so it would last a long time!

More finished pics!

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Unfortunately he didn’t send me any installed or finished pictures, but no news is good news right?! I hope the new basket helps his charcoal burn better and the diverter plates help him control the heat in his smoker so he can make the perfect BBQ (too bad I won’t get to taste it 😛 )