Introduction: Flower Pot Smoker

Picture of Flower Pot Smoker

Inexpensive ceramic grill smoker made out of flower pots


Teslas brother (author)2015-11-20

Love your problem solving for the lid/rim. I am not being nitpicky but, it concerns me to use a chemical compound like auto gasket sealer near my food. Any other options?
Also, those do look to be glazed and NOT untreated. I hope i can find them in an unglazed version.
Thank you for the great inle!

Amazon sells a food-safe silicon designed for grills. You could use that, although personally I'd be surprised if it was any different than the kind at the hardware store. Here's the link:

SassyYoMo made it! (author)2016-05-07

love it!

NiCaam (author)2015-06-02

I've never smoked anything...on a grill anyway...oh god. Well, My question is the lid. Is there a hole with a cover, or do you just keep that uncovered? I see a clip that appears to be hanging from there...can you please take another pic, or tell us if there is anything that needs to be tweaked on the lid besides handles, etc. Thank you and instructables, my all-time favorite craft website.

pattiemelt (author)2015-05-28

Great 'ible. I've been looking at Alton Brown's electric smoker & trying to decide if I want to build one. Now I have to decide if I want to build your charcoal or his electric version.

One suggestion. When purchasing the clay pots for your smoker, be sure you get unsealed, unglazed pots. Many clay pots available have been sealed or glazed & the chemicals in the seals or glazes can be toxic. At the very least, if they're not toxic they can ruin the flavor of the meat.

JamesW3 (author)2015-05-05

Alton Brown (of TV fame) has an excellent online for making pretty much the same thing except using an electric hot plate.

I see an advantage in combining the two of these.

There are instructions in Browns application that would help anyone trying to make this smoker.

Here is the link.

Ira7 (author)2015-04-23

I appreciate the idea, but this doesn't make any sense. And before anyone attempts it, think about this:

1) He gave no instructions on how to install the handles for the lid, let alone the fact that the lid will wsigh a ton.

2) These pots do not retain heat well--totally inefficient--and will probably crumble after moderate use.

3) No way to clean out the coals, nor any instructions for air vent control.

4) Ridiculously small cooking area.

5) Don't try this at home. If you want to learn about real BBQ, low and slow cooking, there are a hundred more convenient and cheap WalMart options available.

This smoker makes no sense.

miked2001 (author)Ira72015-04-30

Have you ever lifted the cover of a BGE cooker/smoker?

I have and this looks a great deal lighter than the BGE cover.

TDWay (author)Ira72015-04-24

"4. Ridiculously small cooking area." The cooking area is the standard weber kettle grill size. My grand father was the 'Grill King' for all the family gatherings, and always used the Weber Kittle grill to cook chicken and ribs for 14 a15 people, it's plenty big.

IamTheMomo (author)Ira72015-04-23

Severely lacking in instructions, and NO parts list. Most smokers also have a water bowl, which is absent in this, so where does all the waste fat go? It must make a heck of a mess, dripping on the coals. My old lousy Brinkman had, from the bottom up, a pan for coals, above that a grate on which sat the water bowl, above that, the grate for holding the meat. Can this pot hold that much equipment? A rudimentary temperature gauge of some sort is mandatory, as far and I'm concerned, but I'm not going to buy an expensive remote-read one. I have one from the old Brinkman, and I'd mount that in the lid. I'm not worried about clay pots being heated; in a kiln, they are fired at just above 2,000 degress F. Smoking temperatures are only a couple of hundred degrees F. I think this could be nice to have, but I may just save up for the Weber smoker.

booga007 (author)IamTheMomo2015-04-23

Actually, fat dripping on coals is a GREAT thing, it burns and creates more smoke, that's where the BBQ flavour comes from.

But I would have liked to see more detail in the 'ible.

krush_groove (author)Ira72015-04-23

It's not very helpful is the main thing for me. If you already know what you're doing you can use it for an idea but there's no listing for a bunch of the stuff he did, like the handles, temp gauge, seal, etc.

woodNfish (author)Ira72015-04-23

It makes sense Ira. He even showed a picture of the commercially available "egg" smoker. The walls of the egg are much thicker than the clay pots, but so what, you just use more charcoal. You could add air vent control if you wanted to - these pots can be drilled. Not as convenient as a store-bought model, but a lot less expensive.

sumoleo (author)2015-04-29

Would it crack if it gets to hot ?

layzieyez (author)2015-04-28

Thank you for this easy looking project. I was going to buy a grill, but this looks much more appealing. I don't plan on feeding more than a dozen people so this is perfect!

dpruett (author)2015-04-28

I really love this idea. The only thing I'd be worried about is the stand it's sitting on in that first pic. The whole thing looks really top heavy, and as clumsy as I am, I'd be afraid I'd knock it over and set my deck on fire.

gemtree (author)dpruett2015-04-28

Stack bricks to hold it then. Mortar them together to keep it sturdy.

mikecz (author)2015-04-23

What is the material hanging from the cross wires (that support the plate for the smoke chips) of the smaller inner pot?

Actually, you are barbequing here - generally considered to be slow cooking over fire (maybe) at 220°F-240°F. Smoking is usually lower still, sometimes below 100°F.

It's certainly cheaper than a BGE or Weber Smokey Mountain cooker!

beemers52 (author)mikecz2015-04-27

If you look in the books for smoking food 200 to 240 is ideal.

enrique22 (author)mikecz2015-04-23

it's a rolled up piece of chicken wire, not necessary works equally as good without it

mikecz (author)enrique222015-04-24

Thank you. I have a basic 22" Weber kettle grill that I bought a nice 3" thermometer for from Amazon for around $8.00. It would work well in this pottery cooker, also.

Thanks also for adding several more photos and directions to this instuctible!

Now, to figure out draft control! Does it really run well on just the original drain holes in the lower and lid pots? That's the trickiest part of "low & slow" on the Weber kettle, tho I'm getting better at it.

BlackSheep1 (author)2015-04-25

Direct reply to Ira7:
Ira72 days ago I appreciate the idea, but this doesn't make any sense. And before anyone attempts it, think about this:

1) He gave no instructions on how to install the handles for the lid, let alone the fact that the lid will wsigh a ton.

Incorrect. 'Ible clearly states & shows handles attached with JB Weld. Weight of lid will vary with the design of flower-pot you choose.

2) These pots do not retain heat well--totally inefficient--and will probably crumble after moderate use.

That'd be a surprise to worldwide cooks who use these including the $500+ BGE ceramic grills.

3) No way to clean out the coals, nor any instructions for air vent control.

The pot that holds the coals can be lifted out to empty, just like the chips pan.

4) Ridiculously small cooking area.

Not compared to a hibachi or one of those cheapo grills at big box stores.

5) Don't try this at home. If you want to learn about real BBQ, low and slow cooking, there are a hundred more convenient and cheap WalMart options available.

See above -- this is a good alternative for home BBQ/slow smoke cooking. Will outlast those two-or-three fire WalMart options by years. No rust, either.

244 Jake (author)2015-04-24

great instructable..

After I sent to the wife, she said yes, with questions, which I questioned, seems some of the GREAT details you did of the setup, we're not excluded in the PDF.

Then after that was cleared up, I was informed, YES I needed to build one.

- Big Jake

TDWay (author)2015-04-24

For the seal around the to he did describe the high temp material and said you also need to was the rim of the top so it dose not stick.

As for mounting the handles he recommended JB Weld, as long as the surfaces are dust free, clean and dry JB Weld will work perfectly for the job.

captaincombat1 (author)2015-04-24

Quite Brilliant Sir !! Well Done..... Alton Brown would be proud...

ezeisel (author)2015-04-21

Newbie on smokers. What is the process vs bbq'ing? Is that an electronic thermometer in from the top mounted on the side?

enrique22 (author)ezeisel2015-04-22

Smoking you cook low and slow with your favorite hardwood to add flavor. BBQ ing is fast high heat cooking.

Ira7 (author)enrique222015-04-23


BBQ is low and slow, like smoking.

Grilling is high and fast.

CoreyGray (author)Ira72015-04-23

Agreed. Everyone says BBQing when they are really talking about grilling.

gralan (author)CoreyGray2015-04-23

Yup, because if it ain't smoked then it isn't BBQ. Hot smoking is for cooking whereas cold smoking is mainly for preserving the meat. Some Asian recipes even call for smoking delicate meats with tea leaves. For Brisket and ribs I prefer hot smoking with scrub oak. But then, I learned that in Texas. Hot smoked Salmon over Alder is pretty tasty; learned that in Washington.

Thanks for the instructable. I followed it by reading and looking at the pictures. Seems pretty self-explanatory. I've never seen one so large before. I'm going to go look at Nurseries.

2 thumbs up on this one.

wireworker (author)2015-04-23

Some of you need to READ the instructions before you critique his 'ible. His materials list does include the handles, and the JB Weld to attach them, and the high temp. silicone to create the seal between the two pots, etc. No, it's not perfect, I'd figure out some better venting. But you've ignored the fact that it's actually fairly attractive. It would be a nice option for an apartment balcony, and your wife or girlfriend wouldn't hate it. It's a good idea!

woodswolf1 (author)2015-04-23

If you only want to smoke one or two items, and don't' want to spend a small fortune on a smoker, this would do the job. To me, one of the points of Instructables is to take what you have on hand and do something creative with it. Kudos for thinking outside of the box.

spark master (author)woodswolf12015-04-23

actually you can smoke food in just about anything. The internet is very different now then 10 years ago, as, 10 years ago there were a hundred lace to see a cheap way to smoke the animal or vegetable of choice.

eelco_g (author)2015-04-23

hehe Pot smoker *chuckle*

one.relic (author)2015-04-23

I know you mentioned that you've gotten 4 hours of burn time out of your charcoal, but are you using brick or chunk charcoal in the interior pot?

enrique22 (author)one.relic2015-04-23

lump charcoal

RushFan (author)2015-04-21

How did you make the seal for the lid?

enrique22 (author)RushFan2015-04-21

With one tube of high temp (red) rtv silicone.

krush_groove (author)enrique222015-04-23

Why don't you mention that at all in the instructions?

cassiel007 (author)RushFan2015-04-23

looks like he used that orange silicon glue/paste. You can get it at the autoparts store. Its used to seal gaskets. Its very heat resistant.

brownjh (author)2015-04-23

I so miss my old Kamado and have been comtemplating the BGE, but THIS is the way to go. Thanks for a smart, simple instructable!

Sunglowart (author)2015-04-23

Brilliant idea... Doesn't the clay pot crack at high temperatures?

woodNfish (author)Sunglowart2015-04-23

It shouldn't. People have been cooking in clay for thousands of years. Pay attention to the roll of hardware screen used to keep the air hole open through the entire depth of you charcoal - (very creative solution!). Nice instructable.

BG_instructs (author)2015-04-23


i have a DANCOOK on cocnut brickets, can do both BBQ on high temp and smoking on low temp

boetting (author)2015-04-23

Great Instructable! I'd consider making this smoker to take to a cabin. May be better suited for thin cuts or finishing meats from the oven or boil since it generally takes 1.5 hours of smoking per pound of meat. Remember to season your smoker with a coat of spray oil and a 2 hour bake-off at 225F. There are some good recipes here:

fahlinluv (author)2015-04-23

This is probably a dumb question but is there no concern about the pot getting to hot and exploding? Please explain this to me. Im curious.

woodNfish (author)fahlinluv2015-04-23

It is pottery, it was made in a kiln. It won't explode. It is no different than clay baking ware.

NicodemSirHal (author)2015-04-23


cassiel007 (author)2015-04-23

Not really an instructable but a great idea for a cheap DIY Green Egg ceramic smoker or even small clay oven. It will only work if its a thick clay pot. Buying two clay pots where one fits into the other and filling the gap with sand would help retain more heat- still cheaper that than the Green Egg. Since adding coals wouldn't be easy, I'm going go with a electric heat element- depending on pot size, placing the heat element between the pots to make a version of a tandoori oven. Nice idea, thanks for sharing

txcoder (author)2015-04-23

I saw one very similar to this made by Alton Brown on the cooking show "Good Eats" about 4 or 5 years ago. He used a hot plate on the bottom instead of charcoal so that you could adjust the heat. But other than that, pretty much the same. Just remember to use pots that are not glazed. Glazed pots from some countries may contain lead or other harmful chemicals that can be released by the heat.

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