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My Terra Cotta Pot Smoker Woes Solved - Page 2

post #21 of 24
Just wrap your pan with foil to choke the air down . No air, no fire.biggrin.gif
post #22 of 24

I just mad my own this week.  A home made Alton Brown style with controls outside and burner and drip plate mounted on bricks inside. 15" pot with a 13" weber replacement grate.  SO far just done some venison jerky nuggets on it using both cherry chips and apple chips.  glad I read more in the forums and will be covering these instead of leaving them open air next time.  Going to try a 5 pound arm roast tomorrow and will post in the beef section.

post #23 of 24
Originally Posted by Sin View Post

I have one of those Alton Brown terra cotta pot smokers that you can make with an electric hot plate, two terra cotta planter pots, a replacement grill grate and a heavy duty pie pan. However, I haven't been able to make it work properly, at all.

I found out the hot plate, a Walgreen's 1,000 watt Kitchen Gourmet hot plate ($10) , shuts off after being turned on for about 20 minutes. The reason? It overheats internally, and shuts off via thermal shutoff. So, how can I use it to smoke and BBQ my food? I think I have the solution.

I looked over the rheostat when I opened it up. When I would turn on the switch, two small, thin pieces of metal would come together. They each had a copper colored 'dome' that would touch when on. I noticed the copper domes were separated when the switch was off. So, it got me thinking about the third heavy metal piece above them that had a large white plastic peg that was very near one of the two thinner pieces of metal. I pushed it down, and sure enough, the plastic white peg pushed the two thinner pieces of metal apart. Ah hah! I found my thermal switch! I tested it with a 175 watt solder gun. I place it on the third piece of metal, and sure enough, it bent and caused the two metal pieces to separate once it got very hot!

So, I bent that piece of metal farther away, and sure enough, when I heated it up again, it didn't separate the two thinner pieces of metal. Thermal shutoff switch bypassed!

Now, I don't have a problem with it shutting down on me. Here's a drawing I made of it for illustration.

I haven't tried it yet. That's next. I have to be careful, now, not to overheat and destroy the burner. I'll start with a medium setting, and work my way up to 210 degrees. I think the burner can handle that temperature without melting or becoming damaged.
Alton Brown gets a little carried away with his food science enthusiasm at times. I think all previous smokers are saying is be sure to weigh the risks with the results considering your modifications. When I was in high school our science teacher taught us how to make a stink bomb. He didn't intend for us to set one off in the halls during 3rd period. Ah yes,   consequences.hit.gif
post #24 of 24

Red Dog, morning.... great drawing and explanation....  Hopefully, the hardware holding all the parts together will withstand the extra heat....   some of those units are made from phenolic resins..... when overheated, phenols could be vaporized and could taint the food and the air you breath.....  I'm not an alarmist.... (just the facts ma'am, just the facts... Joe Friday)..... 








Excerpts from the above:


2. Effects on Humans: The effects of phenol exposure in humans are similar to those produced in animals: systemic absorption causes central nervous system impairment and liver and kidney damage; local effects include irritation of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes [Hathaway et al. 1991]. Because of its low volatility, phenol does not pose a serious inhalation hazard in the occupational setting; the skin is a primary route of entry [Hathaway et al. 1991; Parmeggiani 1983]. A 32-year-old man died 10 minutes after spilling a strong solution of phenol over his scalp, face, neck, shoulders, and back. There was coagulation necrosis of the skin and left eye, acute dermatitis, and acute passive congestion of the lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys [NLM 1992]. An oral dose of 1 gram of phenol many be lethal to humans; however, in exceptional cases, patients have survived the ingestion of 65 grams of pure phenol or 120 grams of the crude product. Roughly 50 percent of all reported cases have been fatal. Death may be rapid and usually results from respiratory failure [Clayton and Clayton 1982]. Chronic phenol poisoning is characterized by systemic disorders such as digestive disturbances, nervous system effects, and possibly by skin discoloration and eruptions; the prognosis is grave when there is extensive damage to the liver and kidneys [Parmeggiani 1983]. Concentrated phenol solutions are severely irritating to the human eye and cause conjunctival swelling; the cornea becomes white and loses sensation. Loss of vision has occurred in some cases. In addition to systemic effects, contact with the solid or liquid can produce chemical burns. Erythema, edema, tissue necrosis, and gangrene have been reported [Hathaway et al. 1991]. 




The following operations may involve phenol and lead to worker exposures to this substance:

  • The manufacture and transportation of phenol
  • Use as bonding resin in plywood manufacture and of molding resins in manufacture of molded articles, such as electrical appliances, automotive parts, foundry sand molds, and utensil handles; and during manufacture of friction materials, bonded adhesives, coated abrasives, wood particle board, and insulation materials
  • Use as a peptizing agent in glue, as a blocking agent for blocked isocyanate monomers, and in the synthesis of stabilizers and preservatives for dyes, perfumes, and fungicides
  • Use in synthesis of thermosetting phenolic resins, epoxy, polycarbonate, phenoxy, and polysulfone; and in synthesis of caprolactam for use in nylon 6 fibers, plastics, and films
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