Starting this weekend!

Discussion in 'Mini-WSM' started by hoochiemama, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. hoochiemama

    hoochiemama Newbie

    I got a bunch of supplies and tools this past week (smokey joe gold, stainless hardware, riveter, expanded metal, terra cotta, yada yada). I already had the imusa pot. Although I'm missing extra grates:(. Went to both lowes and Home Depot but no luck:( so ordered on Amazon.

    I saw one of the builds here which talked about cutting a 18.5charcoal grate to fit down low. I have a couple questions about that.

    First how do you cut the grate? I bought a black and decker jig saw to cut the pot. Can I use it to cut the grate?

    As an alternative I noticed the smokey joe charcoal grate fits with plenty of space inside the steamer ridge. Is ther any concern about cutting the bottom hole a bit smaller than normal and using an extra sj grate to support the diffuser? Hopefully the question makes sense and I'm sure I'm missing some downside to trying this :)

    I really liked the idea of using the bottom to support the diffuser rather than drilling extra holes. Plus the extra sj cooking grate fits perfect on the steamer ridge as a second level.
  2. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You're probably talking about my build post.  I used the cut down charcoal grate for the 18" kettle part number #7440.  I used the jig saw to cut mine. It work just fine. 

    For good air circulation reasons I would not make the hole in the bottom of your pot any smaller than described. You need a good gap around the bottom of your terra-cotta defuser for air to move around. ( I use aluminum disposable pie plates filled with water or sand for my defuser. )

    here is the link to the build.  Good luck! Brian
  3. hoochiemama

    hoochiemama Newbie

    Yep that's the one! Looks like though I may just change plans a bit and go with single level cooking using the steamer ridge to hold the diffuser rather than a second grate.

    A couple issues came up to change my mind :). First the imusa pot I got won't fit inside the top of the lid flush although the lid does fit perfectly on the base of the sj. Also I ended up making my charcoal basket a bit too tall so I need some of that space in the bottom of the pot anyways.

    At some point I may still see about attaching the lid and all but I'm a bit lazy and impatient:)
  4. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I attached my imusa lid to the bottom of the pot with three nuts and bolts.

    I also used some extra expanded metal from making my charcoal basket and made a three inch high ring to set my lower grate on.
  5. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    Attaching the lid is suggested but not required, as I did not attach mine.  I'm sure you could fit another few coal briquettes on top if you do but my 3" coal basket sustained just fine for a 10 hr cook with KBB.  Sure you may have to add coals at some point based upon temp, air flow, etc but the design of the mini makes that super easy.  I also used my jigsaw to cut my grates.  I placed my top grate 4" from the top and the second one halfway between that and the insert lip, not sure what the build blueprint calls for.  I don't use my lower level much but its there for taller things like beer can chickens or upright rib racks and such.  Not a bad idea to have just in case while you're already drilling.  Lets see some pics of the build whenever you get that dude finished.  Good luck and hope we were able to help, my friend!
  6. hoochiemama

    hoochiemama Newbie

    Oh boy I need some practice! I tried the minion style by filling the basket with charcoal and clearing a "bowl" for lit coal. I added about 8-10 lit ones. My extra grates didn't arrived yet so I just used the steamer insert as a diffuser temporarily. Funny side note the grates actually did arrive a few hours into the run - even on Easter!!! Thanks Amazon.

    This thing took off! It went to over 400 just like that! I started either bottom vents wide open but once it shot up I never could get it down (shooting for 225-250). It actually stayed way above 300 for me over 4 hrs!!! This was even after closing the bottom vents to just a crack. I guess I should try a few less lit coals to start. Also next time I'll try with a terrcotta diffuser and the vents closed more to start with.

    I'll post some pictures later in the completed thread but first I need to paint it -nothing fancy planned just plain black.
  7. hoochiemama

    hoochiemama Newbie

    Do you have any gap between the bottom of the pot and the lid? Or did your pot nest inside the top of the lid?

    Thanks this place is a great help! It's been a fun little project so far plus I was able to try out some new tools too :)
  8. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    I tried the minion method at first as well at the temp soared outta control.  Now I use a propane torch and light one side of the coals through the side vent in my SJ gold.  Open all vents and stick the torch in the side for a few minutes and the coals will burn across the basket over time and it seems more controllable that way.  Having the diffuser in place will also help you maintain a more consistent and usable temperature.
  9. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    It's easier to bring temps up than to bring them back down.
  10. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    Very, very true.  Excellent advice!  Opening the lid and releasing some heat and starting over from a lower temp will save you the headache and disappointment from losing that battle.
  11. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    Yea there was a gap! I drilled three holes and put in some one inch nuts and bolts to hold it on. I put it so the bolts were sticking out downward so when I take the pot off it sits on those bolts and not the bottom of the pot.

    My mini huli huli pit and the mini in my avatar uses a 40 qt pot and is a slightly different build than the 32 qt build.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015

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