Is there any way to create temporary tables (ephemeral not suitable) in dbt?

The problem I’m having

I have a dbt model materialized as table (snowflake). This model has a complex query with multiple CTEs and multiple JOINS. The snowflake query planner comes up with a very bad decision about the order and filtering, leading to really long execution times.

By splitting this model in a couple of models each one materialized as table that I reference from the original model, I force Snowflake to JOIN /filter stuff in the “right order” . This cuts the execution time from 40 minutes to 40 seconds.

So this works but I don’t want to leave those “support tables” lying around.

I wonder if there anyway to do any of the following:

  • make dbt to create this models as “CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE” so that the table is automatically dropped by snowflake when the session is over.
  • make dbt execute an explicity DROP TABLE IF EXIST for those tables, is post-hook the only way?

The context of why I’m trying to do this

What I’ve already tried

I’ve tried ephemeral models but that is not the same , as it’s a CTE then then Im still at the mercy of the query planner, also I want to reuse this intermediate results in more that one table model (a CTE will mean recomputing it, most likely, depending on the caching)

I considered on-run-end hook, and I think that works but I don’t want to run the DROP TABLE if I’m not building that particular model, but this works. I just wonder if there is a better alternative

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Note: @Owen originally posted this reply in Slack. It might not have transferred perfectly.

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Hey @ecerulm, I think you could do this by creating a new materialization! We have a guide for this here: Creating new materializations | dbt Developer Hub, I imagine it will be very similar to the standard table materialization except it will be creating a temporary table instead.

Alternatively, a drop table if exists command in a post-hook feels like a decent alternative

I think you can use this macros as example/template.