Super Mini-WSM build with different pot for more height.

Discussion in 'Mini-WSM' started by addertooth, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. First smoke and solid at 225, nice!  Can I ask how you started the coals, how many coals lit at the beginning, coal / wood ratio?  I had trouble keeping my mini WSM (gold) below 275 yesterday. I lit ten coals to start and added them around the bowl, kept the side vents vents wide open until it hit 200 F, then started shutting the vents. I had them fully closed by the time it hit 225 and they remained closed for the rest of the 8.5 hour smoke with temps around 275 the first four hours and between 250 and 260 the last four. I think I either lit too many coals to start, need a bigger heat sink, kept the side vents fully open for too long, or a combination of the three. Thanks!
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pretty spendy if you add up all the parts. Iq120 $199, SMJ gold $35. pot $99 Misc parts racks etc $$ 12 volt power supply = 22" WSM!

    My $65 dollar mini holds 225°-400° just fine and doesn't require a power source to boot!

    Fun experiment though.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  3. Update:

    At 5:15 AM, still locked onto 225, 60 percent duty cycle.  Last night before I went to bed, I changed the damper to a "4" on the IQ 120.  A setting of 4 on the IQ damper means no restriction on air flow (un-damped); the electronics is responsible to prevent over/under-shoot for temperature.  I had started with a damper of "2" (50% air restriction), to reduce overshoot during start-up. 

    An hour later at 6:15, the charcoal bed must be reaching its limits, the duty cycle of the blower is around 80 to 90 percent.  The Smoker has been going 10 hours at this point, with no adjustments (other than my curious fiddling with the IQ-120 damping factor), and is keeping the temperature quite stable.  The fuel is the inexpensive Kingsford Blue, which was picked up at a great 2-for-price at Lowes a few months ago. I suspect more could be squeezed out of the Kingsford Competition briquettes. 


    Weber Smokey Joe Gold                                        35.00

    40 quart Pot (* see note)                                      104.00

    Extra Grill surface (Weber)                                       8.00

    Nuts, Bolts, set-screws                                           20.00

    Ceramic Pizza Stone (Target)                                17.00

    -------------------------------------------------------         ------------

    Sub Total (just the basic smoker)                         184.00


    Pitmaster IQ-120                                                   200.00

    Various plumbing parts to connect                          65.00

    ------------------------------------------------------          ------------

    Sub total (temperature control)                             265.00


    Grand total                                                           $449.00


    Other Miscellaneous parts:

    Car battery boost box (thrift shop find)                    20.00

    Cigarette lighter cable (thrift shop find)                     2.00

    1" hole saw (used on two builds so far)                   19.00

    Rain Box for IQ-120 (thrift shop find)                        2.00


    Subtotal optional miscellaneous                              43.00


    *Note on pot.  Price would be $17 dollars less without the optional lid. A lid was not needed for the build.  The vendor has a thinner pot available which costs about $16 less for the pot.  This reduces the thinner/lidless pot cost down to around 65 bucks.  The less expensive pot is supposed to be dimensionally the same.  I would suggest to anyone wanting to use the pot which the link is provided for, to contact the vendor and ask for a price without the Lid.  The lid ended up not being used in the build.  I ordered the it with the lid to cover the "possibility" it might be needed to make some kind of adapter plate. 
  4. CXG231,

    Minion method used, 6 lit coals placed in center.  Part of the strength of the IQ-120 is no vent-chasing, overshoot at start-up proved to be non-existent.  If you speed up the start-up process with lots of air/hot-coals , it tends to encourage overshoot.


    You are spot-on.  This is not a typical build.  It was certainly an experiment.   It also does things which are not typical as well.  It has more space, more usable rack positions, automatic smoker temperature changes, based upon time of cook or meat temperature.  It exposed others to additional pot options.  Most people want to purchase parts which have been tested/vetted by others.   I am guessing, but suspect it should be able to run 14 hours on a single load of briquettes, once the insulating blanket is made. 

    Sub-Note: 10.5 hours later, still on original coals with none added, stable at 225.  Duty cycle pushing 90 to 100%
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  5. Quick note before I go to work.  The temperature finally dipped to 220 at 10 hours and 45 minutes.  The pot was pulled, hoses disconnected, and firebox dumped in a charcoal chimney.  The remaining coals were dumped back into the Center of the base.  Pot put back on and hoses re-connected.  Temperature drop during swap, less than ten degrees.  The remaining coals were 1 briquette deep, around the outer rim of the base when the pot was removed, all the rest had completely reduced to ash. 

    Five minutes later, temperature back up to 225.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  6. That is quite helpful, thank you.  I'll try 6/7 coals next time and start out 50% damped.
  7. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I guess if spending not needed money isn't an issue that looks like a good experiment.  All i know is my mini runs great with my IQ hooked up or not and it ran great air hooked up to one side. Today's mini's are looking more like robots than smokers.  ;)  
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My last long cook that I did the mini ran at 270° for 14 hours, one load of charcoal, no air pumps, not diffuser. Adjusted the vent 3-4 times the entire cook. Even had a hour long thunder storm with 30 mile hour winds, and rain at the 8 hour mark. That's my super-mini!
  9. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    You did that with no gadgets or air pumps Case?    How do you keep stable temps in the mini?  
  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Add Charcoal and light!
  11. FWIsmoker,

    Yes, it was a bit pricy, but it was spread out across a couple pay periods, so it didn't hurt too much.  If someone wanted to build a basic Mini-WSM, with the IMUSA pot, on a Smokey Joe Gold and with no temperature control; they could have it built for about $106.  This assumes they already have the drills, bits, saws and blades required to build it.  Making it with a Smokey Joe Silver will drop the price to $101.  If they go with less expensive Hardware (non-stainless nuts, screws, washers for the racks) they could drop the price another ten bucks to $91.  This is my second Mini build; the first one was done "at the minimum price". Omitting the diffuser, using the steamer plate, or using a flower pot bottom will reduce the price by another $17 to $74.   BTW, do you run an expanded metal mesh basket for your charcoal?


    That was awesome you were able to get such a long run.  With a larger thicker pot to heat up, my charcoal consumption is a bit higher.  I intend to offset that by making a custom insulated blanket for the sides and top.  Next time, I will fully fill the charcoal; it was meant as a basic "test run".  Based upon your build list (and the OTBS moniker) it is clear you are the "voice of experience"; every now and then newbies just want to try something different.  Sometimes it yields something useful, other times it is just re-inventing the wheel.  Either way, the newbie walks away learning something they previously didn't fully understand.  That is a win in my eyes.  Same question to you as well, do you run an expanded metal mesh basket for your charcoal?


    Ultra low and slow test.  I am going to see if combustion will keep working when the temperature is set to 150 F.  If it is stable, this will be a good temperature for me to smoke fish.  After that, it will be the high-temperature endurance test.  Raise the temp to 375 F.  I want to see how fast it ramps up, and how stable it is at higher temperatures. 
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  12. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Yea i use expanded metal around the charcoal grate.

    expanded metal $ 10

    steamer pot-$ 20-25

    therm- 15

     stainless steel hardware-$5

    SJG $35

    Total  90 dollars max

    Optional second grate i got for 5 dollars at Menards.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  13. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I spent less than 200 dollars on my jumbo mini which is all SS and stainless hardware with 2 cooking levels....oh it sears and grills like a beast too. So less than $ 300 between both cookers...not too bad. 

  14. FWIsmoker,

    What do you think about your BigPappa UDS?  It is on my "wanna build" list.  What does it do well, what are its limitations?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  15. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I love the  Big Poppa.  Smokes well, shuts down fast, grills or sears fantastic.  Lot's of different ways to cook with it, No limitations i can come up with except i use my mini for smaller cooks to use less fuel.   It's by far the best overall cooker i can imagine for its size. 
  16. I was unhappy with the side to side slop the Smokey Joe Lid had on the pot.  Lava Lock brand gasket was added around the lid to ensure a snug fit.  The gasket rests against the outside of the pot, and does not interfere with the mating surface between the lid and the top of the pot. Perfect fit now. 

    Swapped out the expensive and heavy metal pipe fitting on the cold side of air delivery.  This made the whole unit lighter to transport.  If it had been done originally, it would have reduced the plumbing price.  Not installed yet, 3/4 inch heater hose was purchase at a car parts store.  It is more flexible and cheaper than the original hose purchased.

    Preferred starting method pictures of the minion method.

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I see in your photos that you used galvanized elbows and nipples. That's not a good choice of metal for hot applications. Black pipe would be a better choice.
  18. Zink outgasses above 700 degrees F.  Which is why people who weld zinc plated items have problems.  The nipples which go into the firebox are black metal (where temperatures MAY hit 700).  Also, as a precaution, I did a high temperature cook-off, with no food in the smoker, before it was actually used to cook food. If you look at the parts which are in the firebox, you can see they are a lovely black.  But your caution is well merited, others might draw the wrong conclusion from the pictures.  You will also probably note, the commercial chimney I use was zinc plated from the factory.  It too got a hot burn-off before it was used for food.  Usually you must have a raging fire before zinc outgassing becomes an issue.  Welders are working metal at much hotter than 1200 degrees. 

    The human body can shed itself of excessive Zinc, the most common symptoms of Zinc poisoning is flu-like symptoms, which pass in a day or so.  Chrome and Cadmium plating scares me much more, they body has much more difficulty shedding itself of these heavier metals. I have done my fair share of welding in the past.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  19. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  20. FWIsmoker,

    You are spot on, I always play it safe and have more coals than is needed.  The only time I want to lift the pot is to add wood chunks.  I haven't built a expanded mesh ring yet, and as you know, I am playing with a way to get a complete burn without a ring. These pictures are from before the complete burn mod was done.

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