Originally Posted by Bob13
My 2 cents:
The charcoal basket I made (expanded steel) for my mini "Smoker Joe" is 3" tall and slightly smaller in diameter than the SJ charcoal grate. I believe the idea of the charcoal/ring is to keep the charcoal tighter/more compact. My first smoke in the Smoker Joe was 2 racks of spares. It took maybe 2 1/2 hours, and temps were steady at 250. As far as whether or not a charcoal ring is necessary, I think there are enough threads written by folks who do NOT use them to say that you'd be fine without it. I'm glad I have mine, but I think I'd be ok if I didn't have it, either.
As someone with an old Stainless Steel Performer that does NOT have the old-style charcoal baskets, I hate to see them get put under the knife. But I'm sure that would work, if they're not too tall. If they are the old-style baskets, any interest in passing them on to a fellow brethren
They are the new style baskets. No knife necessary though; they come apart and go back together easily.