Terra Cotta Smoker (Flower Pot) and Heatermeter 4.0, or pid if I blow up raspberry pi

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by punter9, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Just joined the forum, you all have a ton of great info. 

    This is day 3 of my adventure, and I am going to keep the smoker and the electronics in this forum but under two headings.  

    Here we go!!

    Goal, have an electronically regulated smoker that I can view from my smartphone while on the couch


    Have the hot plate - Brentwood 1000 watt dealie from amazon

    Have the silicon oven gasket - apartment smoker, so really need to focus on being as courteous as possible to the neighbors. 

    Need to find the terra cotta pots.  Really struggling with this!  Anyone knows a place in DFW let me know asap!  Looking for 18" with an 18" drip pan for a "lid".  I can usually find the base pot but not the "lid."  Might have a line on this tonight if I get lucky.  

    To do:

    terra cotta

    cooking grate - saw a good one last night at lowes 

    cast iron skillet - easy

    stands for smoker - easy

    brick for hot plate - scavenge 

    handle - plenty at big box

    once I find the pots this thing will go together fast


    Started with the PID route so I have ordered a pid, ssr, and thermocouple.  Have since decided to go heatermeter, so I am going to hold the PID and thermocouple until project works then sell them.  

    Have all parts for the heatermeter coming to house.  Taken a big bite on this one! Might use the PID in the interim until I figure this beast all out.  

    advice, opinions, and name calling always welcome here!   
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  2. Sounds like a good plan. I would call around to the garden centers. Hope you find your pots.

    Happy smoken.

  3. Woo! Problem solved. Went to callaways nursery on Greenville and scored these! 18" and even upgraded from Terra cotta to glazed base. Lucked out and hit a 20% off sale. Big box store on the way home for some handles power cord etc.

    One thing the glazed pot isn't tapered nearly as much as the Terra cotta, so grate will be a challenge. Any suggestions?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  5. progress was made this weekend!


    Got the generic big box handle installed this weekend. Drilling the terra cotta was extremely easy. Water helped a bunch, just let it pool up near your drill bit and go slow like in the pictures. It did help to drill a pilot hole and then enlarge the diameter. I used brass bolts with stainless washer, lock washer, and nut. I think all of that is safe for smoker use, if not please keep me from doing something dumb!


    Well I haven't received everything for the heatermeter build yet, but I do have all the pid stuff. So I got it rough patched together and working with a heating pad I had lying around. Goal is to get the box together this week, unless July 4 steals all my time. I'll post detailed pics of the wiring and nifty box when done.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

  6. Well I got some free time and got the project box cut and ready to wire up. The black wire is power in. The relay will activate power to the plug in i mounted on the box. The burner I am using still has its 3 prong plug so I will plug er right in.
  7. Looks good!

    I also built a terra cotta smoker.  The biggest problem I had was finding a grate to fit in my 18" pot the way I wanted. 

    Here a couple pic's of mine.  Maiden voyage was a 4 pound Pork Shoulder.  I used a router speed control to manually adjust the temps.  I have the parts ready to build a PID controller, I just haven't had a chance to do it yet.  I am hoping to have the new controller build and tested by tomorrow.

  8. That smoker looks great!   It's funny you wrote about the grate, I was just searching the net for a grate.  I have struck out multiple times on finding one to fit at local stores.  If I had access to a welder I'd just make one at this point.  I need one just under 17.5".  Where did you find yours?  

    I can't wait to get some tasty Q on it!  
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Try one of those perforated pizza pans.... 
    punter9 likes this.

  10. Got the smoker fired up tonight! Had it rough wired up on the "test bench". Slowly heated it up and auto tuned it. Held steady +/- 3 deg. Works great and heated to 300+. Tomorrow I'll wire it up permanently and try to find a wood chip holder, maybe a pizza grate too. Then some q! Heatermeter parts on back order in the meantime.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  11. You inspired me!!! I put my PID controller together, and am sitting here testing it out!

    For the grill grate, I ended up with a 16 inch grill topper from amazon. The ID I'd my bottom pot is right at 16 inches diameter. I wanted to have the grate sit on the inner lip of my pot. So I needed 15.5 inch diameter. This was perfect.

    I purchased a replacement grate for a big green egg from amazon, but it was 16.5 inches diameter, so it didn't fit.


  12. Got the pid box wired all up and ready to go! After the fourth ill post the wiring diagram........and some q if i can find a silly grate

  13. Well I'm sitting here cooking some q! Finally. I started easy with some brined chicken breasts. Got some bricks and made a stand inside the smoker to hold the grate (cheapo). Pictures of Q and grate to come. Heater meter parts still on backorder.

  14. As promised here is the wiring diagram of my PID setup with plug in.  Note this is NOT a how - to.  This is showing what I did.  Any adaptions of this you do with your own set up is at your own risk.  

  15. oh an here is the side shot of my pid

  16. one last note on the project box.  Don't do what I did and mount everything on the removable cover.....in hindsight that was a terrible idea.  Makes it so much harder to wire up since you need extra wire to be able to remove the cover.  Instead mount NOTHING on the removable cover that way you can wire it all in place, and just use it as an inspection panel.  I know....I know....
  17. and a final post until I start the heatermeter, as promised the inside with some smoked chuck roast.  You can't see it but I put bricks on their side stacked to hold the grate.  It is extremely sturdy, the grate is just a cheapo big box plain steel grate.  


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