The charcoal basket isn't essential for the mini to work. It helps keep things organized and gives a little better air circulation, but if you want to do a first smoke, the existing charcoal grate should work just fine.
I have put my tamale steamer insert in for this smoke tO see how well that works. So far 2 hrs in, the temp is steady at 230ºf
I'm sure you'll enjoy you mini!