Cheap & Handy DIY Clay Pot Smoker: 8-Step Build

DIY Clay Pot Smoker

A clay pot smoker doesn’t necessarily have to be a big project, especially if you are just a small family who simply wants to enjoy a little outdoor cooking during the weekends. Building your own can be a fun and rewarding project, and it doesn’t have to be expensive either.

There are plenty of plans and tutorials available online, so doing a little research will help you find the perfect smoker for your needs. With a little time and effort, you can easily build a smoker that will provide you with years of enjoyment.

With a little time and effort, you can easily build a smoker that will provide you with years of enjoyment.
With a little time and effort, you can easily build a smoker that will provide you with years of enjoyment.

Why use a clay pot as a smoker?

Using a clay pot as a smoker offers a unique and effective way to enjoy smoked foods. Unlike traditional smokers, a clay pot smoker provides a safe, chemical-free environment for cooking. This method of smoking has gained popularity due to its simplicity, effectiveness, and the delicious results it delivers.

Safety and Health Benefits

A major benefit of choosing a clay pot smoker is its safety and health advantages. Clay pots do not release harmful chemicals during the smoking process, ensuring that the smoke surrounding your food is clean. This aspect is crucial for those who are health-conscious and want to avoid the risk of contaminating their meals with unwanted chemicals.

Temperature Control for Perfect Smoking

The ability to easily control the temperature is another significant advantage of using a clay pot as a smoker. Precise temperature control is essential for smoking food, as it allows for slow and even cooking. This ensures that your meats and vegetables are perfectly smoked, enhancing their flavor and texture. The natural insulation properties of clay also help in maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

One of the most appealing features of a clay pot smoker is its ease of cleaning. Unlike metal smokers that can rust and require extensive maintenance, clay pots can be easily cleaned with basic household supplies. This makes the post-cooking cleanup process much simpler and quicker, allowing you to enjoy your smoked delicacies without dreading the cleanup.

Portability for Flexible Smoking

The compact size and portability of clay pot smokers offer a level of flexibility that larger, more cumbersome smokers cannot match. Being lightweight and easy to move, clay pot smokers are ideal for those who enjoy smoking various foods simultaneously or need to shift their cooking location. Whether you’re adjusting to the wind direction, moving from the backyard to a camping site, or simply changing your cooking spot for convenience, a clay pot smoker makes it all possible with minimal effort.

Using a clay pot as a smoker provides a multitude of benefits, from health and safety advantages to ease of use and portability. Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or new to the art of smoking foods, a clay pot smoker is an excellent choice for anyone looking to enjoy deliciously smoked meals with convenience and peace of mind.

When we think of DIY smokers, we usually imagine drum or barrel smokers which can be a challenge for some of us to convert into smokers. Projects such as these also tend to take more than a single weekend to accomplish. Now if you’re looking for something cheaper, easier, and quicker, you can make this clay pot smoker.

This has to be the easiest DIY smoker project, which will only take a few hours to make. You can easily make it in the morning and be smoking your food in the afternoon! You probably already have the needed materials in your home right now!

You can also take this opportunity to make use of metal pans that have broken handles if you have one. With it, you can enjoy all the delicious flavors that smoking produces, with very little effort. Enjoy!

DIY Clay Pot Smoker

Clay pot smokers have many advantages over other smokers. Clay pots are very efficient at holding heat, so the smoker can maintain a consistent temperature for a long period of time. This is perfect for smoking meat, resulting in a juicy, tender final product. Clay pots also don’t rust or corrode like other materials, so they last much longer.

An Affordable Way to Enjoy Delicious Smoked Meals

When it comes to smoking meats, there are a few different methods to choose from, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Most commonly, people choose between a DIY clay pot smoker or an electric smoker. While both methods have their own pros and cons, it really comes down to personal preference and the type of smoker that suits your lifestyle and needs best.

A DIY clay pot smoker is an excellent option for those who are looking for an inexpensive and low-maintenance way to smoke their meats. This type of smoker is affordable to purchase and easy to set up, making it a great option for beginner or casual smokers.

Building a Clay Pot Smoker with Ease

Creating a clay pot smoker is a simple, cost-effective way to enjoy smoked foods at home. Follow these steps to build your own smoker with ease.

Gather Your Materials

  • 1 large clay pot with a lid
  • 1 small clay pot (for the base)
  • 1 electric hot plate
  • 1 oven-safe grill grate that fits inside the large pot
  • 1 oven thermometer
  • Aluminum foil
  • Metal pie pan or small metal tray (for wood chips)
  • Wood chips (for smoking)


Step 1: Prepare the Base

Start by placing the small clay pot upside down. This will serve as the base for your smoker. The upside-down pot creates a stable foundation and helps manage the heat from the electric hot plate.

Step 2: Install the Electric Hot Plate

Place the electric hot plate on top of the upside-down base pot. Make sure it’s centered. This hot plate will be the heat source for your smoker, allowing you to control the temperature.

Step 3: Add Wood Chips Tray

Place the metal pie pan or tray on the hot plate. This will hold the wood chips, which are essential for adding that smoky flavor to your food. Before you start smoking, fill the pan with your choice of wood chips.

Step 4: Insert the Grill Grate

Position the oven-safe grill grate inside the large clay pot. The grate should sit high enough above the hot plate to allow space for the smoke to circulate around the food. This setup will hold the food you’re smoking.

Step 5: Place the Thermometer

Create a small hole in the lid of the large clay pot if it doesn’t have one. This is for the oven thermometer. The thermometer will help you monitor the smoker’s internal temperature without lifting the lid frequently.

Step 6: Wrap the Pot in Aluminum Foil

To enhance the efficiency of your smoker, wrap the outside of the large clay pot in aluminum foil. This reflects heat, helping to maintain a consistent temperature inside the smoker.

Step 7: Preheat Your Smoker

Plug in the electric hot plate and turn it to the desired temperature. Allow the smoker to preheat for about 10 to 15 minutes. You should see smoke starting to form from the wood chips.

Step 8: Begin Smoking

Once the smoker has reached the desired temperature and smoke is visible, place your food on the grill grate. Cover the pot with the lid, ensuring the thermometer is in place to monitor the temperature. Adjust the heat on the hot plate as necessary to maintain the temperature.

Top 3 Electric Smokers to Consider This Grilling Season

While a clay pot smoker is a cheap method of enjoying home-made smoked meats, it can take a lot of time and effort to complete. Fortunately, there are many electric smokers out in the market. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a roundup of the top three electric smokers to consider this grilling season.

1. EASY SMOKING: Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker

The Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker provides the ultimate smoking experience. Featuring an insulated cooking chamber and large capacity wood chip box, this smoker allows you to maintain an even temperature while infusing food with a smoky flavor. The water pan prevents the meat from drying out, keeping it perfectly moist and tender for the duration of the cooking process.

To make smoking even easier, this smoker includes three chrome-coated smoking racks, giving you plenty of room to smoke several types of meats and vegetables at once. With its superior design and great features, this smoker will allow you to create delicious, flavorful meals in your own backyard.


  • It has plenty of room to smoke several types of meats and vegetables at once
  • It is easy to clean and maintain
  • It comes with one year warranty


  • Wood supply needs to be replenished quite often if for longer smoking sessions

All in all, this smoker is a must-have for anyone looking for a superior smoking experience. “I love this smoker,” says a buyer. “It is a marvel of simple, easily repairable design and smoking efficacy. Assembly is super-easy and quick.

Refilling wood frequently can be inconvenient for those trying to maintain a long smoking session, but with a little planning and preparation, it can be easily managed. “Having to refill the wood supply in the electric smoker every hour or so is, the only drawback so far,” explains a buyer.

2. DEPENDABLE FLEXIBILITY: Royal Gourmet SE2801 Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control

This smoker features 457.86 sq. in. of cooking surface spread over three adjustable chrome-coated smoking racks, providing 1500-watt heating power with a fully adjustable and removable digital controller. An integrated thermometer allows for a quick check of the internal temperature, while the Grease Management System offers a removable steel drip pan for easy cleaning.


  • The three chrome-coated racks are easily adjustable to accommodate food items of varying sizes
  • Convenient to use, with cool-touch technology on the spring door handle that prevents scalding


  • Suitable for smoking in warm, outdoor temperatures

You can create a variety of masterpieces with this smoker. “It is easy to use,” explains a buyer. “Simple to assemble…thoroughly enjoying using my smoker.”

But, this can be only a great option for low and slow smoking needs. “Works great for smoking if you use it in warm outdoor temperatures in weather below 60 degrees on the highest setting it barely gets to 200 degrees in temps above 70 easily gets to 250,” says a buyer.

3. VALUE FOR MONEY: Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker Deluxe

This top-of-the-line smoker has all the features you need to create the perfect smoked flavor. It features insulated, double-wall construction to keep your food at a consistent temperature, and a powerful 750-watt heating element for consistent heating.

The advanced control panel with an easy-read, blue LED display allows you to adjust the temperature and settings to suit your needs easily. A built-in food thermometer helps you keep track of your food’s temperature, and a large, stainless steel locking latch ensures a smoke-tight seal. The glass door and stainless steel, dual-tone finish complete the look, making this smoker functional and stylish. It is an excellent choice for those looking for an efficient, easy-to-use smoker for a good price.


  • Set the temperatures and cooking times with ease
  • A great value for its price point


  • Not for chefs looking for a “wet smoke” flavor

The purchase is definitely a good deal. “Overall a good purchase at a pretty reasonable price,” says a buyer.

And although traditional grills and smokers are more expensive and more labor intensive, they are still an incredibly popular cooking method due to the unique flavor profile that they can create. “If you are not into “wet smoke”, then stick with traditional and most likely larger and more expensive ones,” explains a buyer.


For those looking to enjoy a flavorful smoked meal without a hefty price tag, constructing a DIY clay pot smoker is an ideal option. Making one’s own dependable home smoker is straightforward and can be achieved with basic household items.

While electric smokers are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a simple, low-maintenance way to enjoy the flavor of smoked food. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, electric smokers are a great option to start your journey into smoking food.

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Safety Tips for Using a Clay Pot Smoker

Using a clay pot smoker is a great way to enjoy delicious smoked foods at home. However, like any cooking method that involves heat, it’s important to follow safety guidelines to prevent accidents and ensure a safe smoking experience. Here are some essential safety tips for using your clay pot smoker.

Place Your Smoker on a Safe Surface

When setting up your clay pot smoker, the importance of choosing the right surface cannot be overstated. It’s essential to place your smoker on a stable surface that can withstand high temperatures without any risk of damage or fire. 

Wooden decks, dry grass, or any flammable materials are unsuitable as they pose significant fire hazards. Instead, opt for surfaces like concrete, brick, or metal stands that are known for their heat-resistant properties. These materials will ensure that your clay pot smoker is stable and positioned safely away from potential fire risks. By selecting the appropriate surface, you can prevent heat damage to your property and ensure a safer smoking experience.

Monitor the Temperature Closely

The success and safety of using a clay pot smoker heavily depend on temperature control. Keeping a close eye on the internal temperature is critical to ensure your food is smoked perfectly and to avoid potential hazards. 

An oven thermometer is an indispensable tool in this process, allowing you to monitor the temperature inside your clay pot smoker accurately. Regular checks will help you maintain the ideal smoking temperature and prevent the risk of overheating. 

Excessive heat is not just a threat to the quality of your smoked dishes; it can also compromise the integrity of the clay pot, leading to cracks or, in extreme cases, breakage. By vigilantly monitoring and managing the temperature, you can protect your clay pot smoker from damage and enjoy perfectly smoked food every time.

Handle with Care

The process of smoking with a clay pot smoker demands careful handling to ensure both safety and the longevity of your smoker. Remember, when in use, your clay pot smoker will reach high temperatures that can easily cause burns if not handled correctly. It is essential to always use heat-resistant gloves when touching the pot, lid, or any other component of the smoker. 

These gloves provide a protective barrier against the heat, allowing you to manage the smoking process without risking injury. Furthermore, careful handling ensures that you can move, adjust, or open your clay pot smoker safely, making your smoking experience not only enjoyable but secure.

Use in a Well-Ventilated Area

The aromatic smoke from the wood chips contributes significantly to the allure and flavor your clay pot smoker imparted. However, it is crucial to operate your smoker in an area that is well-ventilated. Outdoor spaces are ideally suited for this purpose, as they naturally prevent the buildup of smoke, which can be hazardous when inhaled in large amounts. 

Ensuring sufficient airflow around your smoking setup will help dissipate the smoke, maintaining a healthy environment for you and your guests. If using your clay pot smoker in a semi-enclosed area, like a patio with an overhead cover, ensure ample ventilation allows smoke to escape freely, ensuring a safe and enjoyable smoking process.

Check for Cracks and Damage

To maintain the safety and effectiveness of your clay pot smoker, it’s important to conduct regular inspections before each use. Look for any signs of cracks, chips, or damage on the clay pot and its lid. The high temperatures involved in the smoking process can cause damaged pots to break apart, presenting a risk of injury or even starting a fire. 

Identifying and addressing any damage before using your smoker is crucial. If you discover any cracks or chips, consider replacing the damaged components to avoid accidents. This proactive approach ensures your safety and extends the life of your clay pot smoker, allowing you to enjoy many more sessions of delicious smoked foods.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

Safety should always be a top priority when using your clay pot smoker, particularly regarding potential fire hazards. To mitigate any risks, it’s essential to have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand readily available near your smoking area. 

This precaution ensures that, in the rare case a fire does ignite, you have the means to extinguish it swiftly. While the hope is that you’ll never need to use these safety tools, having them on hand is a fundamental safety measure. This level of preparedness can significantly reduce the risk of fire damage and ensure a safe environment for enjoying the pleasures of food smoking.

Do Not Leave Unattended

The importance of constant supervision while your clay pot smoker operates cannot be overstated. Leaving it unattended, even briefly, can lead to unforeseen problems, such as flare-ups or significant temperature variations. 

These issues can ruin your food and pose a safety hazard. By monitoring your smoker continuously, you can quickly adjust the temperature or manage flare-ups, ensuring a safe and successful smoking process. Continuous supervision is a simple yet effective practice that maintains safety and enhances the quality of your smoked dishes.

Store Properly After Use

After enjoying the delicious outcomes of your clay pot smoker, proper storage is crucial for maintaining its condition and ensuring its longevity. Once the smoker has completely cooled down, it should be stored in a dry and safe place. This precaution prevents any potential accidents and keeps the smoker away from curious hands of children and pets. 

Additionally, storing your clay pot smoker in a protected environment shields it from harsh weather conditions that could lead to wear and tear over time. Proper storage extends the lifespan of your clay pot smoker and ensures it remains ready for your next smoking adventure.

When done safely, enjoying the unique flavors from a clay pot smoker can be a delightful experience. By following these safety tips, you can ensure that your smoking sessions are not only enjoyable but also safe for everyone involved. Remember, taking a few extra precautions can make all the difference in having a successful and safe smoking experience with your clay pot smoker.


Building a clay pot smoker is a rewarding project that combines simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and the joy of outdoor cooking. You can create a durable and efficient smoker by gathering the right materials, following the step-by-step process to assemble, and adhering to safety and maintenance guidelines.

For more outdoor cooking guides, check out our post on how to connect a propane tank to your gas grill safely.



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