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New to BBQ smoking, in Norman, OK

cjp87

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Joined Aug 24, 2010
Well, as the topic states, I'm brand new to this game (though I've been a long-time fan of smoked foods!) living in Norman, OK. I'm a grad student at the University of Oklahoma, studying cognitive psychology. Outside of that, I'm a trumpet player in the Oklahoma National Guard Band, and have been to all but four OU football games in the last four years (with three of those I missed being from 2006, as freshmen in the marching band couldn't go to those three games). 

I currently don't have an actual smoker, just the parts to begin building it. As I said in the Other Builds forum, I'm working on a ceramic flower pot smoker, modeled after a few designs I've seen floating around the 'net, and an intake/exhaust system I modified from an Ugly Drum design. Here's a picture of the plan, and the currently-cobbled parts. 





And I've currently got both 12" and a 9" steel grates (for 21" of cooking surface) and a granite colander for the charcoal pit on the way from Amazon, and the only things left on the "to buy" list are some sort of high temperature cement compound, a gasket to sit between the pots, and a pit thermometer. 

Anyway, so that's me and where I'm at right now, I'm totally open to any suggestions, comments, advice on smoking meat and properly using a smoker like this. So hello, and hopefully I'll pick up so great smoking information along the way here.
 

pineywoods

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Welcome to SMF glad you decided to join us. Thats an interesting project you have going don't forget to take lots of pics of your build process ad post them so we can check it out. Have fun and happy smoking. Oh and since its about football time I won't hold the OU thing against you go Gators
 

cjp87

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Joined Aug 24, 2010
Thanks, and I was at that game, too. Met some awful Florida fans (some even stole our boxed dinners!), but also met some awesome Florida fans who shared their tailgate food with us to make up for it. Ah, the world of sports, 
 . 
 

mballi3011

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First off Welcome Cjp to SMF. you'll like it here for there are alot of really good folks here that would just love to help you with just about anything to do with smoking. Now there are alot of proven recipes for some amazing things here too. So if you need sign up for the E-Course it's free and it will give you the basics of smoking and some good methods to use also. So the next big thing for you to do is go out and get you something to smoke and if you happen to have any questions just post it here and we will be happy to answer them for you.

Welcome To Your New Addiction
 

coffee_junkie

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Welcome! I was looking at building this type of smoker when I built my UDS. I think it is a great design and will turn out some really good food. Nothing like cooking on a pit that you made.
 

jirodriguez

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Welcome to the forum. Interesting looking build idea.

I am a drafter and had a couple of things on the design that I was unsure of based on your picture and description, not wanting to squash any toes, just curious on how it will work


1) The removable lid at the top - I would assume you have to cut a flower pots bottom of to create that lid? Can you cut the pot without shattering/breaking it? Once it is cut are you going to need treat the cut surface to keep any bacterial growth from taking root in the nooks and cranies of the cut?

2) How would you suspend the upper rack from the outward curving surface? Mechanical fasteners might crack the pot, and glues can off-gas some nasty stuff when heated or dry up and crumble over time when heated.

3) On the bottom intake valves, it looks like you are having them protrude from the bottom of the smoker and then extending out like feet? I would think having the entire weight of the loaded smoker focused on 4 relativly small points (right where the pipe passes through the bottom pot) might be a concern for cracking around those drill holes? Or are you going to set the smoker into some sort of raised stand so it is not actuall resting on the exhaust pipes?

I really look forward to seeing how this build works, and I hope it is successfull.
 

cjp87

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Joined Aug 24, 2010
1) The removable lid at the top - I would assume you have to cut a flower pots bottom of to create that lid? Can you cut the pot without shattering/breaking it? Once it is cut are you going to need treat the cut surface to keep any bacterial growth from taking root in the nooks and cranies of the cut?

2) How would you suspend the upper rack from the outward curving surface? Mechanical fasteners might crack the pot, and glues can off-gas some nasty stuff when heated or dry up and crumble over time when heated.

3) On the bottom intake valves, it looks like you are having them protrude from the bottom of the smoker and then extending out like feet? I would think having the entire weight of the loaded smoker focused on 4 relativly small points (right where the pipe passes through the bottom pot) might be a concern for cracking around those drill holes? Or are you going to set the smoker into some sort of raised stand so it is not actuall resting on the exhaust pipes?
Hey, thanks for the comments and welcomes everyone. 

I guess I should've done a better job updating the design after I bought the parts, as my plans changed a little.

1) I decided against the removable lid for that exact reason you stated. Seemed too risky/complicated, and I wanted to minimize the modification to the pot itself. 

2) After looking around, I actually plan to make a bolt/washer attachment so I can just stack the upper grate on the lower one without taking up much/any of the space the meat will need. The initial plan was to use bolts to hold it in place (suspended on the bolts), but I thought stacking them would be way easier to place food on it for cooking. 

3) The initial design didn't have the intakes under the smoker, but rather coming out of the side. I have some clay pot feet that it'll be sitting on initially, with just enough clearance to allow the pipes to stick out the sides. I may later look at fashioning a platform with shelves or something similar to set it in, but for now, I'm going with a quick and dirty platform. 
 
 

etcher1

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Welcome to the SMF forum, You came to the right place. Good people and good info.
 

tjohnson

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Welcome!!

Great Looking Project, and Post lots of pics

Todd
 

dave54

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Hey, thanks for the comments and welcomes everyone. 

I guess I should've done a better job updating the design after I bought the parts, as my plans changed a little.

1) I decided against the removable lid for that exact reason you stated. Seemed too risky/complicated, and I wanted to minimize the modification to the pot itself. 

2) After looking around, I actually plan to make a bolt/washer attachment so I can just stack the upper grate on the lower one without taking up much/any of the space the meat will need. The initial plan was to use bolts to hold it in place (suspended on the bolts), but I thought stacking them would be way easier to place food on it for cooking. 

3) The initial design didn't have the intakes under the smoker, but rather coming out of the side. I have some clay pot feet that it'll be sitting on initially, with just enough clearance to allow the pipes to stick out the sides. I may later look at fashioning a platform with shelves or something similar to set it in, but for now, I'm going with a quick and dirty platform. 
 
   You can cut it with concrete blades if you have a 4 inch hand grinder, they are around 10 bucks for a blade and it leaves a fairly

snooth surface.

 and you could use it to notch the bottom for the valves to come out straght . drill your holes then cut  a notch around the holes enough to get

the pipe level?     just thinking out load lol
 
 
Last edited:

cjp87

Newbie
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Joined Aug 24, 2010
Dave, while I don't doubt someone skilled with power tools could do that, I'm definitely not one of those someones. ;) I'm trying to minimize my modifications to the pots themselves.

Speaking of which, after looking around at some other smokers, I've been thinking that maybe a 12" and 9" grid might not be enough space for smoking. Am I wrong in this line of thought? Home Depot does have a 19" pot with a 16" inner diameter, but it's significantly more expensive, and with two would cost $70 (vs. the $43 of the 15"er). Now, since I can stake the grates to not waste the 12" one I bought, with the bigger design I could feasibly have 27" of grill space instead of 21". Possibly 36" if I could triple-stack it with the 9" grate I got in, but let's not push our luck on the hypotheticals, :)

So my question is, is an extra 6" diameter of cooking space worth the additional $45 or so this will cost me? Or am I wrong in the assumption that the 12" and 9" might be a little small?
 

meateater

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Welcome to the SMF. Glad to have you here. Lots of good folks, great recipes and knowledge. Looking forward to your first qview.
 

cjp87

Newbie
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10
Joined Aug 24, 2010
Well, I went out and did it. Still waiting on that pit thermometer, but now I've got two 19" pots (16" inner diameter) with a 15" grate and 12" grate. This also looks to make everything else fit in more nicely, and I've got more ports (drainage holes) for intake and exhaust control!
 

cjp87

Newbie
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Joined Aug 24, 2010
Pit thermometer is in! :) I've also got some high-temp silicone, but I'm not sure that'll be able to support some of the stuff like the intake and exhaust valves. I'm considering buying some J-B Stik (like the weld, but a putty), as it's high-temp resistant and supposedly safe for food. 

Construction may begin as early as tomorrow, but we'll see. Excited. 
 

jirodriguez

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Sounds like you got your weekend work planned out, good luck! Can't wait to see how it turns out!
 

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