- June 29, 2015 at 11:28 am #358301
Want a bbq smoker at minimal cost?
here’s how you can build your own with a terracotta pot!
• Electric hot plate, 1,000 watts or greater (It must be at least 1,000 to be safe for smoking meat!)• Clay pot, 12-inch to 16-inch diameter
• Smaller clay pot or tray for lid
• Circular cooking grate, sized to pot interior (get a cooling rack at the dollar store for $1)
• 5 to 7 pieces of 2-inch-thick brick or patio block scraps
• Metal pie pan (Aluminum/disposable is perfect)
• Oven thermometer with range up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit
• 1 eye bolt, 3/8-inch or 1⁄2-inch x 6-inch, with 2 washers and 2 nuts
• 1 bolt, 1⁄4-inch x 2-inch, with washer and nut
• 1 wood dowel for handle, 6 inches long
• Clay pot.
The bottom must be large enough to accommodate the hot plate and control knob, with a little room to spare.
• Grate. This will be sized according to the size clay pot you choose but must fit about 1/4 of the way into your pot.
Just below the inner ridge (as pictured) (get a cooling rack at the dollar store for $1)
• Cover )This is another clay pot or bottom tray that fits snug on the top.
• Handle- be creative, use what you have.
In the bottom of the clay pot, enlarge the existing hole to make it large enough to pass the electric plug through. We suggest you use a masonry or glass-and-tile bit to drill a hole. Terracotta can be tricky to drill, for stability you can place the pot on a pile of sand.
Using the eye bolt, bolt, washers, nuts and a 4-6-inch section of wood (or dowel) listed in the materials above, fashion a handle to the pot cover you’ve chosen.
Give her a test run, place the cooker up on a 3-4 bricks for support (and a place for the cord to run out!), put some wood chips that have been soaked in water onto the pie pan and set it on the hot plate, which is nestled inside the pot.
Drop the cooking grate into place. You can use silicone caulking on the inside of the pot to add 3-4 dabs to hold the grate in place, if needed.
Put the smoker on a heat safe surface, such as a concrete patio, etc. It should be in an area where it cannot get rained on while it’s running.
This will take about 4 1/2 hours to smoke a 5″ brisket (to the correct internal temp of 180F.
You may have to play with the settings a bit to keep the smoker at the optimal temperature for smoking which should be 210F-220F
Obviously you should keep pets & kids away from this, it’s clearly hot enough to burn ANYONE when it’s running, but that goes without saying.
Smoker Photo by Tom Thulen
Illustration by Bruce Kieffer
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- June 29, 2015 at 12:02 pm #461649
Keep in mind, if you’re purchasing terracotta pots, be sure they are natural and not glazed. You cannot use glazed pots to cook with.
- June 29, 2015 at 1:51 pm #461650FreebieQueenModerator
When we picked up the stuff for ours we used a 16″ terracotta bowl and a 16″ terracotta saucer. We also found that using a Smoker Temp Gauge makes a big difference in regulating the temperature.
Single Burner $10-13
Terracotta Pot $14-16
Saucer (top) $4-8
Grill Grates (Dollar store round cooling racks) $1
9″ aluminum Pan .33 (3/$1)
Total Cost $32.- $38
Pretty Substantial savings from the ones they sell around here that start at $100!
We also left a hole in the top of the smoker to allow for airflow, I don’t like my meat to be blackened, it doesn’t look tasty! Don’t use green wood when smoking, make sure it’s at least 6 months old and SOAKED in water overnight PRIOR to smoking. Too often people use dry wood, yuck.
Also, as for the temp, we set ours to 7 on the knob until the chips are smoking, then reduce the heat to 3 to maintain temp of 215F-220F (you can drill a hole at the bottom of the pot and assemble the knob on the outside.
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