Looking forward to adding smoking to my cooking lineup (plus i'd really be a no count ranch-raised Texan if i didn't try smoking a big piece of meat at some point). Living in Dallas now, and i'm looking to create my own smoker out of a couple of clay pots, an electric heating element, and some hardwood for the first run at things. I figure that's a relatively inexpensive way to break in, plus i don't have to worry about fire management in addition to everything new on the first go (and the neighbors at the apt. might appreciate not having their courtyard filled up with billowing clouds of smoke...though they might like it, come to think of it). Also, it appeals to my "i need a project on an empty weekend" sense. I'm planning on starting with a sirloin tip for a first go, probably try to pull it. Plan on getting it started and letting it go through the night, then having plenty of meat snacks to watch football with tomorrow evening. Anybody ever tried the homemade ceramic smoker approach? My main concern is getting enough constant heat out of a hot plate, but i figure in a place as big as dallas, I can find one that's more powerful than your standard desk hotplate.