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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:07 PM   #1
JMSetzler
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Default My Mini WSM Build (w/pics)

After watching a lot of folks around here build one of these, I decided to give it a try myself...



I started out with my Smokey Joe Silver and one of the IMUSA Tamale Pots from Walmart ($24). I bought a small stainless steel pet food bowl at Walmart ($4) to use as a filter over the air intake on the bottom of the Smokey Joe. I bought the necessary stainless steel mouting hardware for the grill rack..



The first step was to remove the ash catcher pan from the Smokey Joe so I could access the tab used to adjust the air vent. I bent that vent tab up about 90 degrees from the vent and drilled a 1/4" hole in it...



I used a 1/4" x 4 1/2" bolt with a couple nuts and lock washers to create a handle for the under-side air vent on the Smokey Joe...



To prepare the Tamale pot for the body of the smoker, I pulled out the perforated insert from the pot and used it as a template to mark the bottom of the pot with a Sharpie...





I drilled small pilot holes at each of the marks...



I then used a step bit to drill out those small holes to completely perforate the bottom of the tamale pot. This step took a little time. The step bit gets really hot during this process and it actually gets gunked up with aluminum filings. I stopped several times along the way here to clean out that bit and let it cool.



The next step was to measure, mark, and drill the holes for the bolts that will hold the grill rack inside the pot. I measured the pot as approximately 46" in circumference, so I needed to space my three rack bolts about 15 1/3" apart from each other. I set the mark 3.5" from the top of the pot. I drilled the three holes...



I used 1/4" x 3/4" stainless steel hex bolts, ss hex huts, ss lock washers, and ss acorn nuts to create my grill rack holders...



I mounted the bolts in each of the three holes I drilled...



I scarfed a grill rack out of a $10 tabletop kettle grill to use in the bottom of the tamale pot. This grill rack sits right on the spot where the tamale pot insert sits. This rack can be used to put a drip pan or a water pan.



Next I installed the cooking grate from the Weber Smokey Joe on the rack bolts inside the pot...



Since the Weber Smokey Joe Silver has the air vents directly on the bottom of the kettle, I needed a way to prevent those from getting choked up with ash and blocking the air flow into the smoker... I believe it was Boshizzle who posted this idea...



I got a stainless steel pet food bowl. It had some sort of rubberized base ring around it, so I peeled as much of it off as I could and burned the rest off with a torch and then drilled 8 holes around the sides of the bowl...



I set the bowl inverted over the air vent and replaced the Smokey Joe charcoal grate...



Put everything together and I'm now the owner of a Mini WSM! I drilled a small hole underneath the grill grate so I could run a pit/meat thermometer probe inside. I'm not sure if I'm gonna install an external thermometer on this or not, but I might. I haven't decided if I'll paint the tamale pot black yet or not either... who knows...

All that's left to do now is season it and cook on it!

Thanks for looking...
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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:16 PM   #2
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Send it to Snyper and have him cook a brisket in it!

Just kidding!

Looks good!

You are more handy than you think you are!

Good job!
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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:25 PM   #3
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Very nice. Just in time for the upcoming "Mini" Throwdown. I need to build one of these soon.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:25 PM   #4
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Nice, thanks for sharing!
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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:29 PM   #5
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Hey, cool build! I like the holes you did on the pot. Very neat.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:31 PM   #6
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Woo hoo great tutorial! This is still on my to do list. Let us know how it works and snap some pron.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:33 PM   #7
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Awesome, you'll love it! The one thing to look out for since I can't tell how big the holes are in the stainless bowl, is it restricting the air. I drilled about 12 1/4" holes in mine and the temps would not go above 225 and it took almost an hour to get there. As soon as I removed the dish, the temps went right up. That reminds me, I still need to drill them out a bit. Anyway, that mini-WSMs cook very well and are pretty fuel efficient.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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Awesome build! Congrats, you are going to love it!
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Unread 09-06-2011, 03:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinSanity480 View Post
Awesome, you'll love it! The one thing to look out for since I can't tell how big the holes are in the stainless bowl, is it restricting the air. I drilled about 12 1/4" holes in mine and the temps would not go above 225 and it took almost an hour to get there. As soon as I removed the dish, the temps went right up. That reminds me, I still need to drill them out a bit. Anyway, that mini-WSMs cook very well and are pretty fuel efficient.
I thought about that too... I have more hole area in the cover than the Smokey Joe has for air vents so it should not restrict any air flow.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 03:45 PM   #10
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Are the grates 14.5# diameter?
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Unread 09-06-2011, 03:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbqbull View Post
Are the grates 14.5# diameter?
Since I didn't know, I just measured them. The Weber grate from the Smokey Joe is 13 5/8" diameter and the el-cheapo from the clearance grill I got is just slightly smaller than that.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 05:37 PM   #12
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I just fired it up a little while ago after oiling down the insides with a little evoo. It came up to temp very quickly. I was surprised. I loaded a full basket of kingsford blue with a few wood chunks. I lit up six briquettes and tossed them in the middle and closed everything up. I had the bottom vent wide open. When it got up to 230° I started closing down the vent, but it went right on up to nearly 285° before it started to settle back down. I probably need to let the temp come up more slowly with the vent only partially open.

About 35 minutes after getting it up to temp and the air vent barely cracked, it seems to have settled in at about 260° which seems fine to me. I'll let it run just to see how long it can go without any maintenance on the charcoal and I might toss a fatty on a little later tonight. Lookin' good so far!
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Unread 09-06-2011, 06:02 PM   #13
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Fantastic!
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Unread 09-06-2011, 06:09 PM   #14
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I built one of these a few years ago and used the center section of o 30 gl drum so I had a little more height s I could use 2 cooking grates. I also leave the bottom air vent closed and used replacement air dampers for a 18 1/2" wsm on the front of the kettle like on the wsm so air flow and ash are not a problem. I also built a charcoal basket like some use in the UDS using the original SJ fire grate and sized for The SJ. It burns for 16+ hrs holding steady at 250 or whatever I set it at. Good luck I hope this helps. I love mine!
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Unread 09-06-2011, 07:25 PM   #15
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Awesome work! Would love to hear more about how long you were able to maintain 260? Did you have a water pan in there for the test run?
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