Old 06-12-05, 09:27 AM
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Lookin to learn "low & slow" dry rubbed & smoked barbeque. I can get recipies for rub & que, but I want to make a DIYS smoker. Any ideas? rg
Old 06-13-05, 11:00 AM
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Talking Homemade Smoker

My husband and I saw this on Good Eats a few weeks ago, and can't wait to give it a try. Alton Brown talked about how clay is the perfect substance for building a smoker, since metal conducts heat too easily, and clay retains it. Thus, he uses a couple of terra-cotta flower pots to make his smoker. He says it works great!
Have fun with this.
L. Adams

Home-Built Smoker ala Alton Brown

3 2x4’s cut to 4-6-inch lengths, for “feet” to raise smoker off of ground
1 large terra-cotta flower pot, unglazed, with drainage hole (about 20" high and 15-20" opening diameter)
1 large terra-cotta bowl planter (same opening diameter as large pot), unglazed, with drainage hole
1 adjustable variable-heat hot plate (extension cord if necessary)
1 9" metal pie plate
Chunks of hardwood, for smoking (your preference – Alton used hickory)
1 metal grate from a kettle-type charcoal grill, to fit inside smoker above but not touching wood
1 meat thermometer with a diameter large enough to sit on top of bowl's drainage hole

Place 2x4’s on edge in a triangular position, and place large flower pot on top of them, adjusting them so that it is steady. Place hot plate in bottom of pot, running the cord out through the drainage hole. Place the pie plate onto the hot plate, and fill with several chunks of hardwood, keeping a single layer. (Chunks should be approximately the size of a 4” cube.) Place grill grate inside pot (this should be above the wood – suspended several inches from top of pot – find one that fits!) place bowl-shaped planter upside down over pot, as a lid. Insert meat thermometer into the drainage hole. Plug in hot plate to preheat smoker to 210 degrees F. Place a 5 pound pork butt (or meat of choice) onto the grate, then, adjusting heat so that it stays at a steady 210 degrees F, smoke meat for 10-12 hours, checking for doneness after 10 hours (pulls apart easily). During this time, you will see smoke die down periodically (approximately three times during the 10-12 hour time period). When this happens, quickly open the smoker, remove meat grate, and empty the pie plate in a fireproof receptacle, replacing the charred wood with fresh. Replace all, and continue smoking. Enjoy!
Old 06-14-05, 12:47 AM
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I saw the show with Alton and the clay pot smoker, looked pretty interesting and for sure affordable enough to give it a try.. I've had two really good smokers in the past, one of which was made from an old ice box.. fire box/smoker was on the side with chimney entering on low side of ice box.. smoke would rise up through the racks, temp probe was through the door so I could monitor temperatures inside the box.. another chimney on the top with a damper to adjust air flow to change the temp as needed.. it was insulated well since it was an ice box before, worked terrific!.. the second was a wood smoker made to look like an old out house with the half moon and all.. never worry about the heat since it was made from old barn wood and the smoke seeped out everywhere.. had a chimney with damper, temp guage, racks inside... the fire box was a 55 gal. drum dropped in the ground off to the side with an old weber lid.. the pipe/chimney would funnel the smoke over to the bottom of the outhouse and smoke would fill the building .. it was 1/4" thick in smoke sap when I left the islands.. worked great also.. be creative, try something new?..
Old 06-21-05, 01:08 AM
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Excellent Ideas, All! I once converted a full sized restaurant proofing cabinet into a smoker, and have even had darn good results with the cheapie $30 H2O smokers from Home Depot, it's $30 well spent. I'm working on a version of Alton's smoker. He is the coolest! I hate myself for not coming up with his TV idea before he did.
Old 07-08-05, 03:04 PM
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I need some advice please

This is my first attempt to use a forum such as this so if I screw it up, oh well...
I watched Alton Brown build his smoker yesterday on Good Eats. I thought I had a list of everything to buy today and I constructed it according to the way I thought he said. Here is my question. On the bottom of the smoker sits the hotplate. Directly on top is the metal pie pan with the wood chunks. Suspended above on a grill grate is the pork shoulder. WOn't the meat drippings fall directly on to the wood chunks and start burning? Is there supposed to be an additional grate with a pan to catch the fat located below the grate holding the meat? What did I miss? Help please!!
Old 07-10-05, 08:02 PM
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Okay t-bone, you have a good point. But let's not forget that we are cooking LOW and SLOW.

Somewhere in the layers between the hot element and your pork loin or beef brisket should be a pan of water. This is not the place to be aggressively cooking meat, but you already knew that. So the juices and fat should not be dripping off to sizzle on the heating element as if you were searing a steak or burgers. In a case like that, you want flames licking up and charring your food.

But with an electric element, it is going to be hot no matter what, and the point is to buffer that heat by placing it where it can't produce flames. Under the pan of wood chips providing smoke is usually just fine, but putting a shallow pan of water above the smoke adds a bit of extra mellowing of the heat. And I take advantage of that water by tossing an onion or celery bits into it, a cup of honey or a handful of dried chilies.... Just depends on your taste!

Have Fun, enjoy, but most importantly, don't get discouraged!
Old 07-10-05, 08:12 PM
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If you dilute the water in the pan with a juice that is high in sugar, it seals the flavor in after adding its own. I use orange juice or even apricot juice in the water pan.
Old 07-17-07, 10:27 AM
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Smile Do you remember?

When Alton explained the part about starving the oxygen around the wood so that it is not combustible? He showed using the metal boxes to put the chunks in, and even showed using aluminum foil with some holes poked in it to allow the smoke out. This also makes it easy to "exchange" while smoking for 10-12 hours. All you have to do is wrap some wood chunks up loosely with aluminum foil, poke a few holes and place this onto a metal pie plate.
Make up one of these for every 3-4 hours of cooking time. Exchanging the wood should take less than 4 minutes, so you wouldn't loose your cooking momentum.

If you also remember, Alton was not particular to using liquids while smoking, because you actually are steaming and not smoking. In his terra pots setup, there isn't much room for liquid containers, plus it is very difficult to maintain the cooking temperature if it takes you 5-10 minutes to jockey around a container for liquids when changing the wood chunks.

But no one is going to turn down a lovely brisket that has been cooked to perfection if the chef has used a method like majakdragon mentioned....

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