Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Build It Yourself: Flowerpot Smoker With Spike Carlsen

Spike Carlsen says building is a lot like cooking. His Flowerpot Smoker combines the two into one ingenious outdoor gadget.

Okay. So you already do a lot of your own cooking. You tend a garden. You preach the DIY lifestyle.

But have you tried building your own wheelbarrow or even a chicken coop?

Author and handyman Spike Carlsen says it’s not as daunting as it might sound.

“It’s a lot like cooking. You start out with a project that’s small and you gain a few more ingredients and a few more tools and you have a success and then you move up to the next thing,” he says.

He’s worked as a carpenter for 15 years and he has several how-to videos posted on Family Handyman Magazine.

Carlsen prototyped every one of the 76 DIY projects in his new book, The Backyard Homestead Book Of Building Projects, which means his backyard is packed with stuff. (That, and his five kids have received lots of handy gifts over the years!) He says novice builders should not be intimidated, because he used basic tools and standard building materials.

The one project that caught my eye was Carlsen’s Flowerpot Smoker:

It’s pretty fun and it’s just made out of two flower pots. You need an electric hot plate and some wood chips that you would use in your barbecue grill and a couple bricks to get things propped up. You can’t do a side of beef in this, but you can do a nice brisket or a small chicken. It’s just kind of wacky, yet it works and the food tastes good. It’s actually a pretty good beginner project.

Instructions for how he constructed his smoker are included in the book.

You can try making your own terra cotta smoker with these handy step-by-step photo instructions.

flowerpot-smoker with ribs

Photo: Arnold Gatilao (Flickr)

We found this great picture on Flickr of beef ribs cooking in a flowerpot smoker

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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