Make A DIY Meat Smoker Out Of Some Flower Pots

Meat smokers are expensive, but apparently you can make one that works just fine out of some unglazed terra cotta flower pots and various other cheap and readily available supplies. When you’re done, remember 5 out of 7 Consumerist editors love BBQ.

The source of most of these flower pot smokers is, of course, Alton Brown.

DIY-site Instructables has a variety of different flower pot smokers for you to choose from.

There are cute ones with feet and one, built by a guy who designs assembly equipment for an automotive supplier that has a temperature controller.

You don’t have to worry about any of that, however. Your basic “cheap redneck ceramic smoker” will do the trick.

Make a DIY Flower-Pot Smoker [Lifehacker]


Edit Your Comment

  1. nbs2 says:

    I saw the title and couldn’t help but think that someone finally got around to watching Good Eats. But, it is a very relevant topic as we get into the beautiful summer months. Now, I expect to see a post on the joys of using chimney starters instead of lighter fluid (with the caveat of making sure to have proper insulation under it to void melted tennis shoes).

    • Jeff_Number_3 says:

      I love Good Eats, and Alton’s suggestions on using flower pots were the very first thing that sprang to mind when I saw the article pop up.

    • Short_Circuit_City says:

      Alton Brown is the Mr Wizard of the cooking world.

  2. gparlett says:

    Actually Smokers really aren’t expensive at all. You can easily find one for $50 that will work just fine.

    • raygun21 says:

      Which is why you so readily provided some sort of evidence of this, correct?

    • craptastico says:

      that’s what i was thinking. a smoker doesn’t cost much more than two terra cotta pots.

      • popsnicker says:

        The difference is that this is a ceramic smoker that will actually smoke things well. Not a cheap metal propane smoker. Its competitors are the Green Egg products which, while some of the best all around BBQ’s there are, they are extremely expensive.

    • sleze69 says:

      My buddy tried doing this himself. The pots crack from the heat VERY easily.

      Buy a smoker.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Then your buddy is very clumsy or bought some bad pots. Unless they are heated very un-evenly, or rapidly cooled, they will not crack. This method only gets the hot plate up to 220 degrees. Just above boiling. I doubt the pot gets to that heat with the constant breeze through it.

  3. NashuaConsumerist says:

    Man, I love that guy. Everything I cook now I run by his recipe archives on the food network’s website. Learning how to cook something is helpful, but learning the science behind that cooking method/ingredient/appliance or cooking tool helps me cook more than that one dish…it can be applied to all sorts of dishes and recipes. At least, that’s my opinion as a follower of the Church of Alton…

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Skip the Food Network site. Go here: They have transcripts of most shows, so you can catch something you might have missed.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        or just come over to my house. houseguests recently asked why i had over 100 episodes of good eats saved on my DVR.
        the flower pot smoker is on there. also the rotisserie instructions.

    • craptastico says:

      if you like to see recipes analyzed, you should try a couple cooking shows on PBS America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. they’re put together by the same people and the info can also be found on they do a great job of comparing/contrasting different recipes as well as testing store bought foods and kitchen utensils.

      • webweazel says:

        That’s a great show, also. The difference between them and Alton in my eyes is thus: Alton tells why a type of meat or vegetable should be cooked this way, and the science behind it. Test kitchen tells why to do a specific technique on a specific recipe, and why. Alton gives the broad background, and Test Kitchen fills in all the small details.

    • Difdi says:

      Alton Brown is the GOD of cooking shows.

    • webweazel says:


      • webweazel says:

        Don’t know what happened there.

        Alton has always been one of my favorites, too. I have cooked all my life, and had become as good or slightly better than those who taught me. But there I stayed. Then I found Alton (and and my cooking quality has gone into the stratosphere. I mean, anybody who shops for kitchen supplies at their local hardware store is king in my book. That said, I do not LOVE all his recipes, but his techniques and the science behind them simply cannot be beat.

  4. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    You could make a really neat DIY Kamato too. Just need to make a hole in the bottom half for air regulation – put charcoal in the bottom instead of a hot plate + wood chips and viola! BBQ!

  5. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    5 out of 7?!

    I am offended deeply by the notion that 2 of you do not relish barbecue. Off with their heads.

    • mergatroy6 says:

      damn vegetarians I’m sure.

      • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

        or…..Veeeegans *insert homer ‘eeeeeeww’ here*

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          You can still BBQ veggies; I’m a huge fan of portabella-on-the-grill.

          • chefboyardee says:

            grilled mango slices…SO GOOD.

            also, i’ve gotten a lot of people i know who hate veggies to eat grilled veggies…and ask for more. brussel sprouts, long beans, asparagus, yum!

  6. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    All hail Alton!

  7. Big Mama Pain says:

    This reminds me of my charcuterie chef in culinary school; he’d get so excited talking about the different things you could use to make a smoker. It was like listening to a stoner describe how they made a gravity bong out of pure McGuyver style materials.

  8. madtube says:

    Tried to do it. The terra cotta pots were more expensive than a good quality electric smoker.

    • bennilynn says:

      Unfinished, plain terra cotta pots?

      I bought one big enough to hold my 6′ tall lemon tree and it only cost me $9.

  9. APriusAndAGrill says:

    I am not going to lie
    I am going to have to try this out….

  10. says:

    What a coincidence! My father-in-law and I received all the parts to make two these as our father’s day gifts. In the morning, it took us about hour to put everything together (we took apart the hot plates so we could control the heat from the outside) and by supper, we diving into smoked ribs. Set-up was easy and they worked perfectly.

    My father-in-law is an experienced barbecuer and smoker. He has another smoker he built himself as well as a store bought one that he spent $150+ on. He felt the terra cotta smokers worked better or at least just as well as the store bought one.

    In all, I think my wife and mother-in-law spent $100 for all the parts to make two of them ($50 each).

  11. sonneillon says:

    You know those old school charcoal grills. It’s not hard to turn them into a smoker, and they are cheap.

  12. Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

    Smoked meats == stomach cancer.


    • bennilynn says:

      It says ‘increase the risk’, not automatically give it to you. I’m pretty sure normal folks can enjoy the occasional meal of smoked meat or fish without worrying too much about it. In fact, it’s probably better for you that frying it, I’d imagine.

      And this statement is coming from a mostly vegetarian locavore.

  13. TownMarkFromHell says:

    I love my two Masterbuilt Electric Smokers. I bought one on Black Friday for $129 and they rock. I can smoke a ton of pork butts overnight before a big cookout. I tried the pot method twice and said screw this, I want something more refined and practical.

  14. LaziestManOnMars says:

    Me and my dad tried this out… Did not work…

    I LOVE Alton, but sometimes his recipes and techniques don’t always work out… His science/food theory is always phenomenal, thou.