How to Make a Smoker With Terra Cotta Pots

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In 2003, Alton Brown, star of several shows on the Food Network, popularized a slow smoker made from terracotta flower pots. Since then, even some of the most dedicated barbecue pit masters have adopted this simple appliance, claiming you can achieve tender, delicious smoked meats using this homemade smoker without the expense of a top-of-the-line brand name smoker. While you can make a number of adjustments and upgrades to suit your own style, the basic design allows you a fairly simple and inexpensive way to make restaurant-quality barbecue in your own backyard.

Things You'll Need

  • 16 1/2 inch terracotta flower pot
  • 16 inch terracotta flower bowl
  • Coil-style electric burner
  • 14 inch circular replacement grate
  • Heavy duty metal pie plate
  • Replacement gas grill thermometer
  • Extension cord
  • 3 bricks
  • 6-12 chunks of hardwood

Constructing and Using the Smoker

  • Place three bricks end to end to form a triangle.

  • Place the 16 1/2-inch terracotta pot onto the bricks, ensuring the base is wobble-free.

  • Insert the burner into the bottom of the terracotta pot and run the cord out through the hole in the pot's base. Turn the burner on and set it to the desired temperature, but do not plug it in yet.

  • Place the metal pie plate on top of the burner and add three to four pieces of hardwood.

  • Insert the grill into the terracotta pot, making sure it is level.

  • Place your cut of meat, fat side up, on the grill.

  • Invert the 16-inch terracotta bowl and place it evenly on top of the pot.

  • Insert the replacement thermometer into the hole in the terracotta bowl.

  • Plug the burner into the extension cord. This will turn the unit on.

  • Monitor your smoker's temperature, adding more wood as the smoke seems to taper off, until the meat is done.

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  • Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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