Discussion in 'Mini-WSM' started by bgmddy, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. I spent hours reading about minis before building one (on this forum and others) but the source I relied on most was BDSkelly's "Building a Mini Weber Smokey Mountain in Texas (Mini WSM)".  Rather than bore everyone with the (many) ways I copied his, I'll just show the things I did differently.

    I used the IMUSA pot ($21.47, free Site-to-Store shipping) from Wal-Mart.  BDSkelly's idea of putting the lid under the pot was so good I HAD to copy it.  Unfortunately the bottom of my IMUSA pot did not fit into its own lid like his Vasconia.  But the IMUSA lid was about 1/4" larger in diameter than the Smokey Joe kettle -- so I turned it upside down and bent the extra 1/4" into a 1/16" rim.  This raises the bottom of the pot about 2" higher than it would be if sitting in the kettle on the grill groove:

    I traced the Smokey Joe kettle on the lid, bent it roughly with lineman's pliers, and formed it to final shape with a rubber mallet and form block.  I didn't make a full-circle form block, but cut the curve on the ends of a scrap 1x3.  Hammer, reposition, hammer, etc until it looked pretty good and fit the kettle like it was made for it (which it was).  Like BDSkelly, I temporarily riveted the pot & lid together, cut out the centers, and then riveted them together permanently.

    Also like BDSkelly, I used a charcoal grate from an 18-1/2" Weber kettle to support the diffuser (you only need to cut off one side to get it past the steamer ridge).  I use the turntable from a junk microwave for the diffuser & a disposable cake pan for a water dish.  SS screws @ 4" & 8" from the top of the pot for shelf supports; I also bent the rim of a cooking grate just enough to clear one of the shelf screws and drop down to the steamer ring, for possible grate levels @ steamer ring (2-1/2" above diffuser grate), 8" from top (4-1/2" above diffuser grate), & 4" from top (8-1/2" above diffuser grate).

    The legs on my 1980's Smokey Joe were VERY flimsy; with any pressure at all they'd just warp the kettle and chip the porcelain.  I put fender washers inside and out and replaced the wing nuts with hex nuts. The tabs on the bottom air vent were almost flat; I bent them to 90 degrees and bent a hook bolt to follow the curve of the kettle for a handle.  I also added a 1" hose barb for a pitmasterIQ.  The barb extends about 1" into the kettle, so I haven't have any ash clogging problems so far.  It holds temps really well with or without the pitmasterIQ.

    I "hammer welded" my charcoal ring (folded the ends of expanded metal over each other and hammered them flat, no welding or wire).  It's hard to see in the picture, but I bent the bottom row of expanded metal 90 degrees to the inside of the ring, which made it MUCH more rigid.

    Has anyone measured the charcoal ring from the new 14-1/2" WSM? Will it work on a mini?

    Thanks for looking!
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks good! Curious why you put your air intake on the bottom and not the side? I see you've said you haven't had any clogging issues yet. I know when I do long smokes the ash builds up to the too of my ash deflector which is right at the bottom of where the charcoal basket sits.

    Too bad the imusa lid doesn't for as good as the vasconia. It really makes it nice for stacking pots!
  3. I meant I haven't had any ash problems when using the pitmasterIQ (but haven't tried a really long smoke with it yet).  My longest smoke w/o it was 6 hours (St Louis ribs 3-2-1). I didn't have an ash baffle and after about 4 hrs temp started to drop.  I ran a pointy object thru the vents from the bottom; a lot of ash fell out & it afterwards it was still cooking well when I closed the vents & snuffed it 2 hrs later.

    I already had a Smokey Joe from the '80s (long before current "Silver" or "Gold") & also already had the IQ.  Some Smokey Joe reviews on Amazon suggested the Gold (w/ vents above charcoal) didn't burn as well as Silver (w/ vent under charcoal).

    I put the hose barb near the bottom because:

     1. It's under the charcoal for better burn.

     2. The IQ is positive pressure (the fan SHOULD blow ash out of the way)

     3. It sticks about 1" into kettle, so ash would have to build up quite a bit before smothering it.

    I have a Jumbo Joe on order; thinking about rolling a piece of 20"x10' of aluminum flashing into the correct diameter and riveting it into a cylinder...
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
  4. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    That's strange. I recently completed a mini build using the IMUSA pot and everything fit perfectly.
  5. I believe there are 2 32-quart pots sold by IMUSA, one made in China (Wal-Mart, the one I used) and one made in Columbia (Target, Amazon?).  Where did you get yours, and where was it made?  Did the bottom of the pot fit into the lid?
  6. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    Mine came from Walmart. Not sure about where it was made. Lid fit bottom of SJ fine and pot fit inside top of lid perfectly, no wiggle room at all.
  7. 12ring

    12ring Smoke Blower

    One of my local Wal-Mart stores carries Imusa pots in stock. I took the pot back to the smokey joe display and the fit was not good. The imusa pot was about a half inch to big for the smokey joe. My local target carries both also so I went there to check the fits. I checked 4 pots and 2 smokey Joe's. None of them fit. Some were worse than others. My Vasconia pot from Wal-Mart that I ordered a few months back fits so nice. I dont believe we're gonna be able to get them anymore though which sucks cause I was gonna build two for friends as gifts.
  8. There seem to be major differences in pot size, even from the same manufacturer.  The bottom of my pot fit the SJ kettle well enough, but didn't fit into its lid. The SJ lid also didn't fit very well on top of my pot; it probably would have worked but sat ON the rim rather than OVER it.  I ran a C-clamp around the rim to bend it in slightly & now the lid fits well.

    I saw a post where a guy carried his SJ around in his car.  Anytime he found a pot about the right size he bought it, took it out to the parking lot, & if it didn't fit well he took it back inside for refund.  He eventually found one that fit perfectly in a Hispanic grocery store and IIRC cost under $20..  Someone else got a 10' roll of aluminum flashing & riveted it into a cylinder of the correct diameter, which I may try for a Jumbo Joe conversion...

    Glad you finally found one that worked!
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
  9. On my first few cooks quite a few burning coals fell thru the charcoal grate.  I've seen other posts about buying a 2nd charcoal grate & turning them 90 degrees to each other; but I already had some scraps of expanded metal left over from making the charcoal ring...  So hammered the 2 largest pieces together together & cut out a 10-1/4" disc:

    No reusable coals get thru this thing!
  10. My last naturally-aspirated cook (w/o IQ blower) stalled out after 3 hrs so figured I need an ash baffle.  I thought a food can MIGHT give off toxic or bad tasting gasses so got a stainless steel pet bowl from Wally World for 97 cents and drilled a bunch of holes in it:

    I'll put it over the vents in normal mode, or over the hose barb with the Pitmaster (should reflect a bunch of heat and keep the barb cool).
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's exactly what I used. 4 years at many smokes later it's time for a new one.

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
  12. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    same one I use... I flip the charcoal grate upside down to sit it on the bowl so it sits flat ... works like a charm... after a long smoke you'll see how ashes will build up around it and the rushing air will keep ashes clear of the holes...

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