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trying to perfect a homemade smoker

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Greetings to all. My name is Randy from Troy, MI. I have a home made terra cotta pot smoker that I recently made and seem to be going through some growing pains on how to perfect the cooking process. First of all some info about the smoker: I bought a 17” pot and a plate that fits snuggly on top of it. I drilled a small hole in the top so I can insert a thermometer to keep track of the temp. I cut the bottom of the pot out to fit onto the grate on the side burner of my gas grill. So what I have is a propane smoker in which I put a smoker box full of chips directly on the bottom of the pot. I took my grill grate from my smokey joe grill and attached a pie plate to the bottom of it to use as a drip pan. Ok I think you probably get the idea of what I’m doing, now I christened it yesterday with a pork butt (bone out). I soaked the butt in a brine solution for 24 hrs then applied a rub and let that sit in the fridge for about 4 hours. I got the pot fired up with the wood chips and put the meat in it. I was able to keep my temp between 200 and 220 pretty much all day, changing the wood chips when needed. After about 8 hrs. I achieved an internal temp of 160. I removed the meat and let it rest for 30 minutes. When I went to pull it, to my amazement it was extremely tough and hard to pull a part. I was able to get enough for 2 good size sandwiches. It had a great smokey flavor but I’m confused why it was so tough. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 11
Welcome to the SMF Randy,We are glad to have you onboard
post #3 of 11
Welcome Randy.
From what you said the problem was that you pulled it off way too early, 160 would be fine to take off and wrap in foil then place back on but you want to bring butts to 200-205 then take it off, let it rest and then it will pull perfectly for you.

*ps If you still have the meat you could always chop it up and mix with some sauce and reheat and it should be ok.
post #4 of 11
185 for slicing and 200 for pulling.
post #5 of 11

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post #6 of 11
Welcome to the forums, great to have you on board with us. Have always wanted to do a clay pot smoker, I think they are just really cool. The others beat me to it, bring that meat closer to 200 for pulling. Again, welcome and I look forward to seeing more of your smokes and input in the future.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for your valuable information. I won't give up til I get it right.
I simmered the rest of it in vegetable stock and had it for lunch today, delicious!!!!!
post #8 of 11
Welcome to the SMF. Enjoy your stay.
post #9 of 11
First off welcome Randy to SMF. You'll like it here cause there are abunch of good folks here that would just love to help you out with just about anything to do with smoking. We really like to have newbies here because they can bring in a new propective to how things are done. There's nothing like a new set of eyes to give and new way to make things that little differant to make things alittle better. So I hope you know about the Qview here.
Here's a link to photobucket it's free and easy to download pictures. Then if your really new to smoking Look up the E-course.
It's also free and it will give you the basics of smoking. So after all of that you just need to go grab something to smoke and if you have any question just post them here and we will answer it quickly so you don't have any mishaps with your smoke.
Welcome To Your New Addiction
post #10 of 11


I'd like to weigh in on this. As a newbie and without any real smoking experience I do have a question on this smoker. Being a clay pot I would think that it would soak up any moisture until saturated. So if you didn't have a water pan of sorts wouldn't this kind of smoker absorb the moisture from your meat rendering it a little tough and dry? Just a thought.
post #11 of 11
Welcome from Pittsburgh, PA.......that's quite a project....good luck with it.
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