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New guy here with his homebuilt

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Just found this forum a short while ago and have discovered a trove of great information from the members.


My smoker....a home built electric, based upon a used pottery kiln ( I ripped all the heating elements and controls off of it). The inside dimensions are 17 wide x 22 deep.

The heat source is the element from a previous smoker ( Big Chief).

Just the element running, the temp in the upper area stays at 320. By adding a water tray, the temp sits at a stable 255 degrees.

Nice thing with the Kiln's firebrick liner, I can smoke outside in the colorado winter without a problem.

The lid is also insulated and fits nicely to the top, so very little smoke leaks out.


I cut some rods that fit cross ways in the element grooves, and Ace Hardware had replacement round grills, that cost me 12 bucks each.


I may try using lump charcoal sometime, but for now... this works perfect for me.


Total cost of this rig...85 bucks


Anyone else tried a pottery kiln????


al in Colorado



post #2 of 22

Very cool smoker ya got there, and welome to SMF!!

post #3 of 22

That is one fabulous smoker... with all the insulation, I bet it would only take 4 or 5 lumps to keep a hot smoke going....

post #4 of 22

Thanks for the introduction, and welcome to the SMF. Very nice job on your smoker, looks like you're the handy man. I moved your thread to roll call, so that everyone has the chance to welcome you. It's all good my friend.

post #5 of 22

That is a pretty neat build, and welcome to SMF, glad to have another member.

post #6 of 22

Welcome aboard!  Nice build you have there.  

post #7 of 22

Welcome to SMF!! Lots of good folks and information here...

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks much for the great comments.


Here is a picture of the inside getting ready to do a Tuna steak and corn.


al in colorado



post #9 of 22

Welcome to the SMF. Glad to have you here. Lots of good folks, great recipes and knowledge. Looking forward to your first qview. We need more info on that smoker! 

post #10 of 22

Alright we just posted at the same time, that smoker has my wheels turning. More info please.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

OK...here goes;


This started life as a Paragon pottery kiln. I don't remember the model number, but the inside is 17 in. wide x 22 inches deep.

I started smoking like a lot of guys with the Big Chief smoker. It worked sort of OK in the summer, but was a No-Go below 40 degrees.

So decided that I wanted an insulated smoker. After thinking about it and drawing up several designs (ok, call me cheap, I would rather build than buy). I sort of decided what I wanted, just needed the right device.


The spouse and I visited a local handcrafted pottery guild to pick up some gifts and right there...was what I was seeking, a pottery kiln. So when we got home I bounced onto Craigslist. Most of what I found was either in real bad shape (meaning the fire bricks), or they wanted a fortune for them...or both.


But I continued my search, and finally it paid off. A kiln in perfect condition, ( the owner said that the upper heating element was out, but what did I care). 50 bucks and it was in my truck.

Got home, ripped all the heating elements and the control unit out of it ( sold it to a guy who needed it for his kiln).

Cleaned out the pottery dust, made a run to the local ACE hardware for some round grills. Got home, cut some rods that fit across into element grooves.

Ripped the heating element out of the old Big Chief, set it on the bottom and fired up a smoke without meat, just to season the inside.

Smoked great.

With just the element, the temp. stays around 320 ( I know a bit on the hot side). But adding a water tray in the middle, the temp then settles in at 255. Which seems to work very well.

I am still seeking a hot plate that I can dial the temp a bit more.


I also want to try charcoal sometime, but so far, this is working perfectly.

Especially when it is really cold outside, the insulated inside just keeps everything nice and stable. It insulates so well, that if I pull the plug, it will take over an hour to drop 50 degrees.


If someone is seeking a homebuilt...I highly recommend looking for a used kiln.


al in colorado



post #12 of 22

Welcome to SMF, that's a nice smoker. This is a great place to learn and swop ideas. Keep the Q-view coming!!

post #13 of 22

Sweet !! Just Utterly Sweet. Glad to have you as a family member.

post #14 of 22

Yo accunlmtd ,


Welcome to SMF, cool looking DIY smoker, very innovative.


I would either have built or build a drip pan that barely fits in the octagonal shape (not a round pan), with some handles so you can pull it up.


Great job...

post #15 of 22

Welcome to SMF and nice smoker you have there.

post #16 of 22

That is so cool! I'm impressed.

post #17 of 22

if you would rather build than buy ,your going to really love this site ! 

post #18 of 22

Sweet smoker, that would come in handy in Nebraska where I live during the winter as well. I think I will regrettably have to close up the smoker from Late November thru Mid March.

post #19 of 22


 That is probably the best insulated smoker i have ever seen.

 Welcome to the site and keep up the pics.

post #20 of 22

Welcometo SMF !  That looks like a terrific smoker. Nice find.

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