A little brown egg in Maine: terra cotta smoker


Step 7: Time to test

Picture of Time to test
Before committing any meat to this device, we wanted to test it. Here's the test setup, with auxilliary "equipment". A clamp-on ammeter lets us know when current is flowing (we split an extension cord to isolate one side of the circuit.) We also needed a towel for handling the lid, the fire extinguisher, a notebook, and a big bottle of the award-winning Cadillac Mountain Stout to sustain us until supper. (He didn't only go to the hardware store!)

With the hot plate control at about 2/3, the smoker quickly heated to 350 F and stayed there.
It settled into a cycle of 10 seconds on, 30 seconds off.
With the hot plate control back to 1/3, the smoker slowly cooled and never turned on at all.
With the hot plate control at almost 1/2, the smoker heated to 230 degrees, with a cycle of about 10 seconds on and 40 seconds off. Perfect!

But when we added wood chips, we didn't get smoke. Hmph. Clearly we need to do more testing.

Turned out that we needed more heat to get the smoking started, so it's a good thing we added that hole. He cranked it up until we got good puffs of smoke, then turned it down to cook. We had to do that several times during the cooking session of several hours.
lej6195 years ago
interesting I wonder how well it would work with say.. charcoal? line the bottom with tin foil. put the charcoal on top of the tin foil you could still use the "grilling skillet ". as for the pan on the bottom you would not need it. just put the wood chips right in with the charcoal. Yes?? nice idea might just have to try it, maybe with the charcoal in stead tho.
srharvey lej6195 years ago
With charcoal you need to be able to regulate the air flow into the coals to regulate the heat. So drill some more holes and make some sort of damper.
I think I know why you'renot getting smoke. Unlike the hotplates we used "back in the day" these have a safety chip in therm to keep them from overheating and catching fire.... However! you can just hack the case of the hotplate (some more) and extend that sensor out through that bottom hole. I saw it done either on here or another hack site, but I can't find it right now. Thanks for the inspiration! I'm thinking of making one this weekend, now to replace my old one.
The smoker looks like a fun project....but the main props goto sticking a Guinness bottle in just about every shot. Loves me the Guinness a PROUD member of the 1759 society....lol. Thanks for sharing your project.