A DIY Smoker to complete your BBQ set up
Let's face it, those beautiful meat smokers all the Pros have are nice, but they can be VERY expensive, especially if you're only a casual barbecuer, or amateur smoker. But, we've got great news—you don't need one of those big fancy green eggs or expensive pit barrels to have your own smoker! For an inexpensive solution, we recommend you try making your own. This Clay Planter Smoker is not only easy to make and essentially fool-proof, but it'll leave your wallet and stomach happy!
Clay Planter Smoker
What You Need:
- Electric hot plate (at least 1000 watts)
- Clay pot/planter, 12-inch to 16-inch diameter
- Small clay tray, for lid
- Circular cooking grate, sized to pot interior
- 5 to 7 pieces of 2-inch-thick brick or patio block scraps
- Metal pie pan
- Oven thermometer
- 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
How To Make:
STEP 1: Using a glass-and-tile drill bit carefully drill a hole in the bottom of a large clay pot. If there is already an existing hole, simply enlarge it enough for the hot plate’s electrical plug to pass through. This will the base of your smoker.
STEP 2: Assemble a handle for the lid. Drill a hole into the bottom of the clay lid and attach the eye bolt. Then using the regular bolt, washers, nuts, and wood , create a T shape, connected to the eye bolt.
STEP 3: Test the fit of the lid and the base. Position 1 or 2, 2-inch-thick bricks along the bottom of the pot so the hot plate has a surface to sit on for air circulation.
STEP 4: Place a pie pan on top of the hot plate, this is where you'll place your wood chips.
STEP 5: Insert the cooking grate, and then add the cover. Once everything is properly fitted and placed , you’ll be ready to start smoking!
STEP 6: Prop the pot on three bricks. Keep an eye on your cooking grate, if it wobbles or tilts, you may need to reposition elements inside your smoker.
STEP 7: Start cookin'! Position the smoker outdoors on a solid, non flammable surface and in a sheltered area. Fill your pie pan with wood chips, turn on your hot plate, and place your food of choice on the cooking grate. Position your oven thermometer on the cooking grate and keep any eye on the temperature of your smoker. Using your homemade lid, cover the smoker and cook your food until it has reached desired doneness.
- Some trial and error will be required to find the hot plate setting that will keep your DIY smoker within the desired temperature range.
- Always be sure food is fully cooked before consuming.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy.
- Use gloves to handle the hot components of your smoker.
- Keep curious kids and pets away from the designated smoking area.
Image by Tom Thulen. Illustration by Bruce Kieffer.