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Clay Pot Smoker ... a smokin'

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by jebatty, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Made this yesterday and will smoke a chicken and some pork today. Both will spend in a few hours in brine and then spice rubs. I have oak, cherry and mesquite wood chips. What's the feeling as to use of these?
    DSCN1953.JPG DSCN1948.JPG DSCN1949.JPG

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  2. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    That's pretty cool!
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    What is it? Looks like an electric hot plate smoldering the chips? Like a litle chief?
  4. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I think they're very cool. Been seeing these online for a while, but haven't tried it
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You have been watching Alton Brown.;)
    Delta-T and Adios Pantalones like this.
  6. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm told they work a whole lot better if you stand them up vertically. :oops:
  7. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    Alton rules....he's my gastro-chemical hero
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Jim - you will have to keep us informed on how the chikuns and pork turn out. MMMmmmm...smoked pork. <drool>

    (What the heck is up with the smileys? Two right hand pointers yields this>>)
  9. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Nice temps for smoking. Better than my crap smoker does.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    My whole life is sidewise. A vertical clay pot smoker would have bummed me out.

    Loaded a whole chicken, about 3.5 lbs, and 3 thick country-style pork ribs for the first smoking. Both brined 4 hours and ice-cold when put in the smoker. Results: 1) the 1000W hotplate struggles to maintain temp. I scanned the *bay for higher wattage hotplates, but more than 1000W in a small size that fits inside the pot may not exist. So, I wrapped the pots in a blanket and that helped quite a bit. Still took 2.5 hours to get the interior temp up close to 200F; hot plate on "HI" then cycled between 190-210F. Next smoke session will use more insulation around the pots. May need to come up with some more ideas to get added heat. 2) After 5 hours in the smoker, the ribs were done but chicken was still 140F. Ate the ribs; took the chicken out and will finish it in the oven today. 3) The ribs were quite dry, taste was good. Used oak wood chips. 4) Adding chips is easy but inconvenient, as have to remove top pot, drop chips into the chip pan on the hotplate, put top pot back on. The pot is pretty heavy, but with a glove (pot is too hot to handle with bare hands) and a finger in the pothole it is not difficult to take off the top pot. Removing the pot also cools the smoker down, although the pot retains heat quite well. 5) Not overly impressed with first results, but also not overly impressed with my first home run. I recall that reaching 2nd-3rd base was pretty good though. That was 43 years ago. Life tells me that experience improves the experience.

    I may try poaching meat in water to basically get it up close to done temp before smoking rather than starting ice cold. Then let the smoker do its work at 200F. Flavor should be good, time will be shorter. Less drying out time too. I think oak wood chips may not be the best flavor enhancers. Will try different chips.

    This coming weekend my son-in-law will do a large pork shoulder for the whole 15 of us in the fam damily; he's quite a gourmet chef on the home side. I think we can make the smoker work better the second time around.
  11. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I think I just solved the heating problem. My ash pan was a small stainless steel frypan. When I put the pan on the hotplate and watched it, it warped considerably, losing contact with the electric element, and the element would shut down and cycle. I had some 1/4" steel plate which I cut and put on the element, turned the hotplate "on" and watched. The heating element stayed on and the plate remained in contact with the element. If this is the way it operates now, there should be plenty of heat, and also the ability to achieve higher smoker temperatures, which some users recommend, depending on the meat being smoked.
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Jim - maybe keep your eyes peeled for one of the small cast iron skillets. Around these parts they pop up in junk sales quite often, and mostly for small money. They wouldn't warp on ya.
  13. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    You can often pick one up new in a hahhdware store for less than $20, though much of the accomplishment in these sort of awesome projects is in scrounging / being a cheap ass.

    I could hand-build or wheel throw a smoker with a lid, maybe with some cob that burns out in the firing for insulation... dag nabbit, another inspirational side track
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Along with single serving kettles with lid and legs for slow cooking on a wood stove??
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  15. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Have you slow cooked in that, Jags? Hadn't even thought of that
  16. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    By the way- send me the i.d. of the top, and the color, and I'll make a lid for you with just one little hole to let steam out if you want to slow cook.
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    No, it should probably have an internal glaze to make that happen and for cleaning purposes.

    There are a few countries that this type of vessel is quite common. You go through the market and select ingredients, then hand it off to the dude that runs the central fire for a community (often to heat water) and come back in a couple of hours and hand the dude a few bean pods for managing the pot/heat - dig in. With the proper leg height to manage heat - this could easily be adapted for a wood stove.

    Will do.
  18. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I thought it was only unglazed at the very top inside... anyway- don't want to derail this thread

    Saw them do that market thing on Anthony Bourdaine (or was it Andrew Zimmern?)
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Andrew - that is where I pilfered the idea from (being the food whore that I am).

    Yes, back to the smoker.
  20. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Jim - idea just popped into my head...How about using another clay pot (bigger if possible) for the base. One clay pot - insulation lined, second pot, set inside of that. At least the base would be insulated and the holes in the bottom should line up for your wiring.
  21. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    See- that's why Jags is my test engineer, design consultant, and chief pedicurist.
  22. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Huh, my other half just calls it ADD. I like your version better.==c
  23. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I've wanted to make one of these...but you can almost buy a "real" smoker for the price of the pots....and you still need a rack and hot plate. If I find some cheap pots I'm in. I think the ceramic would hold a much more consistent temperature...the cheapo sheet metal smokers vary too much with wind and ambient temp in my experience.
  24. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    A tip to keep your ribs moist is to smoke them for about 2 1/2 hr then wrap them in aluminum foil to finish cooking. you still get a good smoke flavor thats not to strong ( some people are sesitive to smoked food ) I seen the pros on T.V. do this. I'm going to try this tommarow and I'll let you Know how they turn out. I usually smoke at 230 F
  25. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    The tin foil worked great. they were very moist and tender.

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