nuka cola smoker

The Nuka Smoker

The Nuka Smoker is a great little cooker for smaller cuts of meat and smoking cheese. It’s also a little known artifact from Fallout 3, I swear I saw it in a post-blast supermarket somewhere on the map. I happened upon this idea in the Smokey Joe Mini WSM Project forums. In fact I should go register to show my Nuka Smoker there soon. Sitting by the Nuka smoker with a fresh Nuka Cola is not a thing to miss, in June under the stars, not if you care for such things.

So far I’ve done a small turkey, a nuclear pork bomb, chicken wings and bone in chicken breasts on this thing and it works very similar to the 299 Weber smoker. On a much smaller scale mind you — filling the smaller charcoal ring to the brim, then pouring some hot coals in the middle (about 1/3 of the weber chimney) gets me about eight hours of cooking time. Maybe more if your coal grate is even larger, mine came out a little narrow. Also, the temperature fluctuates just a little more in the smaller version, for mine at least. I usually have to mess with the bottom dampers once or twice during a cook.  One of the biggest keys to this project in my opinion is the clay pot for a diffuser.  Your food is a short distance from the coals so you must diffuse that direct heat.

nuka smoker fallout

Ready to smoke a nuclear pork bomb — or bacon.

For “cold smoking” something like cheese I place about four charcoal nugs together in the bottom of the Nuka Smoker and just blast them with a blowtorch in the middle for a few seconds until they start to whiten on the inner edges. Next I put a piece of hardwood on top and it creates just enough heat to smoke without melting the cheese. Have to be careful on really hot days though, one to two hours usually does the trick.

All the information to build one starts here, here’s another good example I quickly found. I used the Vasconia pot. I was able to find two locally at Wally World. 24-29 bucks seems to be the regular price for these. It cut real easy with a jigsaw blade made specifically for metal. I used a little aluminum drawer pull for the top chimney and a long piece of stainless threaded rod with an acorn nut at the end for the bottom vent. I only did one rack on the top of mine, you can see where the nuts are on the sides of the graphics in the middle. High heat engine paint and custom vinyl stickers were used for the logos.

One last word of caution, if you’re going to paint it with high-temperature engine paints you may want to use this cooker as a smoker only. That’s what I’ve been doing and the high temp paint has only browned some on the bottom. I have another smokey joe griller for high temp grilling only. I love these little Weber grills, they’re only 29 bucks most places. I used the silver version, but the gold version works too, it just has different vents.

nuka bottle opener

A real Nuka bottle opener built in.

As someone who is accustomed to using gas grills, I really only use charcoal now. Not as simple, but better flavors.

Update: After a year of use: just the bottom where the charcoal burns has turned grey.

Update: After a year of use: just the bottom where the charcoal burns has turned grey.