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Old 04-06-2011, 05:09 PM   #1
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BBQ fail

OK so... today I'm attempting to hot bbq a chicken in a homemade smoker. The smoker consists of 2 small cardboard boxes connected by a flexible aluminum pipe. I use a hot plate to heat up wood chips enclosed in an aluminum container (two pie bowls I bought from good will, facing each other), and the smoke should go up the pipe into the second box sitting on top of the first one, which contains the chicken. according to my calculation, the hot air in the bottom box should go up and heat up the second box creating an oven, and exiting through the small opening on top of the second box to provide airflow.

The smoke goes through pretty well, but the temperature doesn't. It only goes up to 80 degrees, which is perfect for cold smoking, but I can't use it for my chicken. the chicken will rot in that temperature. so I cut a hole on the boxes to create direct airflow bottom to top, this time it goes up to 140 or so, but still not enough to cook the chicken. I need at least 200 degrees, which is roughly the temperature in the bottom box. ON the other hand, 140 should be enough to bbq fish.

Running out of time and options, I'll just have to pray that the chicken doesn't go bad while sitting in the 140 degree box for 4 hours, and then throw it into the oven to finish cooking.


Now I really need a planter smoker that AB was showing on tv. I just dont know where to find planters like that :/


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Old 04-06-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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Get real dude. Always test run a DYI smoker before you try it with actual food. I keep and breed emerald tree boas. I would never consider introducing an animal to a habitat without running it through its paces first.


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Old 04-06-2011, 05:35 PM   #3
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You don't need to send yourself to the hospital with salmonella poisoning just because you should have used a REAL cooker/smoker instead of an inadequate cardboard toy! The Alton Brown show you refer to were metal lockers with a powerful stove top heating element and a fan. A cooker/smoker isn't that expensive and easy to purchase - saving you from making a mistake.

Beef would have been a less dangerous meat to have experimented with. I hope you come out OK!
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:39 PM   #4
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Metal trash cans are cheaper than clay pots. I would use the galvanized trash can. Don't worry about the galvanized metal. You're only taking it up to smoking temps.
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:56 PM   #5
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I don't see where you are located Hyperion, but when I saw that AB episode I looked ALL OVER for two large planters that would build me that DIY smoker. I had even bought the hot plate and the needed grill grate. And I kept looking and looking, box stores, specialized garden centers... I guess everyone in my neck of the woods uses plastic planters when they get to sizes that large.
So... I looked online and came up with a DIY garbage can smoker. Bought my 30 gal garbage can, threaded rod, thermometer, drilled my holes, put it all together to fire it off before trying actual food... It was a no go. I could never get close to the temps needed for smoking. And it was even summer here. I bought a higher wattage hot plate and still couldn't get decent temps.

Now, I love a good DIY project even though I may not actually be saving any money in the long run, but it had better work "as advertised" when finished. The terracotta smoker may actually work. It may be thick enough to let the temps rise and hold the heat, but IMO you would be better off buying a cheap $70 smoker (which is probably less money than the two clay pots if you can find them where you live) and modifying it as you see fit. At least it will work right out of the box.

Can't help you with the box smoker though. Unless it is just newer hot plates and they won't get hot enough. Maybe they have some kind of limit switch in them for safety.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:03 PM   #6
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After smoking the chicken in the boxes for a while to give it smoke flavor, move it to the oven and finish it at a higher temperature.

The two box smoker was to smoke salmon (much lower temp required), not cook a chicken. You need to understand what you are doing before proceeding with such a project.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:10 PM   #7
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I like Andy's idea.

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Old 04-06-2011, 06:11 PM   #8
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now I moved it to the grill and the chicken is now sitting under 160... I'll give it a little longer and give up on the bbq
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
now I moved it to the grill and the chicken is now sitting under 160... I'll give it a little longer and give up on the bbq
They are being cooked at 160? After sitting around at 140?

That's exhibit A of food poisoning, sorry.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
IMO you would be better off buying a cheap $70 smoker
Truer words were never spoken.....errr..typed, that is.

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