DIY Outdoor Cooker: How to Build a Clay-Pot Smoker

You’ll be cooking up a storm with these plans on how to build a smoker. This outdoor cooker can be assembled quickly and inexpensively using upcycled materials from your garage or workshop. Dig in!

| June/July 2015

Clay Smoker

Make a smokin' smoker: Accessorize a clay pot with a grate, hot plate and lid with handle.

Photo by Tom Thulen

If the thought of smoking meat and fish conjures up images of heaps of hardwood, a large smokehouse, and a big investment of time and cash, think again. You can start small with this simple homemade clay-pot smoker that assembles quickly.

Begin this weekend project with a shopping trip for readily available materials, or by rooting around at home for spare parts. So, find your materials, lay out your tools, and let’s get cooking — outdoors.

How to Build a Smoker

1 Purchase materials. Follow the materials list on Page 45. Because you’ll acquire parts to build this homemade smoker from a variety of sources, measure as you go and purchase the parts in the following order:

• Electric hot plate. The smaller, the better, but make sure it runs on at least 1,000 watts to maintain the temperature required for smoking meats.
• Clay pot. The bottom must be large enough to accommodate the hot plate and control knob, with a little room to spare.
• Grate. You can find a grate at hardware stores or online. The one you choose must be of the right diameter to nestle inside your clay pot about 1/4 of the way down the sides.
• Cover. Find a pot tray or a clay pot that will fit over, inside of, or directly on top of the lip of the larger pot. The cover should create a decent seal and not be prone to sliding off the larger clay pot.
• Handle. Make sure the handle assembly hardware will work with the cover you chose.

2. Drill a hole. Use a masonry or glass-and-tile bit to drill a hole — or enlarge an existing hole — in the bottom of the large clay pot for the hot plate’s electrical plug to pass through. To minimize the chance of damage as you drill the hole, cradle the pot on a bag of sand for support.

3. Assemble a handle for the lid. Use the eye bolt, bolt, washers, nuts, and a 6-inch length of wood or wood dowel. Drill a hole in the bottom of the clay cover for the handle assembly.

6/19/2015 11:13:33 AM

Disregard, comment found its way to wrong post.

6/19/2015 11:12:51 AM

It appears the pictures are no longer available under Related Content. Is there a way to restore these?

6/18/2015 12:10:44 AM

Learn how to make your own solar panels and save tons of money

6/17/2015 9:27:39 AM

This is like a Tandoori oven from India.When you think of a smoker you think of indirect heat this is more of a roaster with light smoke.A fine idea just be aware you don't get a deep clean smoke as it cooks to fast.If you try a long slow smoke be sure to use pink salt to ensure the food stays safe to eat.We tried this when Alton Brown had it on his show and it works well.Thanks for sharing.

6/10/2015 12:55:57 PM

I saw something similar to this on Alton Brown's TV show, "Good Eats." Smart, cheap and effective!

5/27/2015 6:36:25 PM

Love This one going to Build me One

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