Completed my mini build.

Discussion in 'Mini-WSM' started by tagalong, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    I thought about painting her up in my favorite team colors like others, but thought the black and white houndstooth would be to much trouble. Decided to go with some colors that will fit in better at some of the camp-n-rides we have.

    Looking forward to doing my first cook on her later this week. Now to decide what that cook will be.
    motocrash and bdskelly like this.
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sweet, your gonna love it.

    Fatties are the best for a first cook, at least I think so anyway.

    Easy to cook and gets you play with temps.
  3. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    A mini is a chicken and rib smoking machine!

    Houndstooth? What team is that?
  4. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    rgautheir20420 likes this.
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good thing my wife doesn't follow this.... That would be next. Best thing I can think to do with a Mini that has that is roll it in the ocean and hope it floats away with the tide!!!
  6. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    A question or two for those that built their mini using a SJ Gold, or for anyone else that happens to know the answer.
    Are the factory fresh air vents on the Gold adequate? I'm not asking whether it needs additional vents, but if the curved dial that covers the holes is good enough or if ball valves should be installed into the holes. Reason I'm asking is that I'm having trouble getting my temps down low enough for a low and slow cook. With both vents fully closed I'm still running 250-260ish. And just in case you need to know, lid vent is fully open.
  7. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    if closed then it sounds like your getting air from somewhere... are you sure the pot is sitting in the base tight (no air leak there)... when bottom vents are closed the fire should snuff itself out.. even with top vent open... so adding more air vents (ball valves) is not gonna help any....
  8. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Are you using a diffuser?
  9. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    Steamer insert as diffuser.

    I'm not talking about adding more vents with valves, but installing valves on the holes that are there from the factory instead of using the existing "flap".

    While there is resistance on the flap when you turn it, I don't know for sure if it is sealing off the holes.
    Also, has anyone installed a bolt to act as a handle on the flaps like is done on the lid vent? Its kinda cumbersome turning the flap with a glove on so I usually use a pair of needle nose. Both methods make it difficult to make small changes.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  10. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    by all means put a handle on the bottom vent... as a matter of fact... I was cooking some steaks on mine Sunday and the bottom vent just fell off.. the rivet broke... I took it to work today and put a stainless 1/4" bolt in it to reattach it to the base.. welded the nut so it wouldn't come loose... and then put the "handle" (1/4" threaded rod) back on...
  11. Are you cooking with the snake method or just a pile of coal?
    For low even consistent long cooks check out the snake method.
    But also don't be afraid to close top vent to slow air flow.
  12. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    One of my flaps is slightly bent. It came out of the box like that. When I want to do low and slow I close the good side and leave the bent side open about a quarter inch. slow.
  13. The gold can do low and slow with the minion method, no snake needed.  Make sure your dampers fit flush with the metal base. 
  14. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Are you pre-lighting your coals?

    One of the best methods for getting coals going, is torching thru the side vents. Should be up to cooking temp after 5-10 minutes.

    There is no need to do the snake method or minion method with a mini.

    Are you using a charcoal basket?

    How many smokes have you done? As the smoker seasons temp control will be easier.

    Going on four plus years with my Minis, gotta say, they are my go to smokers.
  15. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    I am running a 3 1/4" tall basket. I light one side of the basket using a weed torch.

    I'll check my dampener flaps to be sure they fit well and try more smokes. Only have 2 cooks on it so far. Thanks for the help.
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As you use it more the build up on the inside will help seal things up better. So if I am shooting for say 265° I'll let it shoot over by 10-15° then put the meat on. Usually the temp will drop below the target temp. As soon as the temp starts coming back up I will start closing vents. Using the silver I start with closing the lower vent, then my  two side vents. For lower temp smokes I am usually running with one of the side vents fully closed and the other barely open. I leave the vent open that is opposite the side I lit.
  17. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I use an unmodified Smokey Joe gold and have a couple thoughts. Yes, the flaps are sufficient to completely block airflow. IF they fit flush and have the proper curve. They can easily get bent, but are just as easy to bend back into shape. My guess is that you're leaking air where the pot joins the bowl. A simple test is to light a good bed of coals, put the lid on the bowl, close all the vents and clip the bail in place. Your grill should be cool to the touch in about a half hour. If it's still hot, it's an issue with the flaps. If it's cool, it's an issue with the fitment of the pot. If it is an issue with the pot, make sure it hasn't gotten bent out of round. Again, it's easy to bend back if it's bent. I have noticed there is a pretty big variance in size in the Imusa pots. So it may just be that yours is on the small side and not seating in the bowl. A gasket of some sort will help this, or riveting the lid to the bottom. Just cut out the center of the lid and set the pot in it, then rivet it in place. I was able to do this with my first one as the pot fit perfectly in the lid, but my new one won't fit. Again, variances in size. Hope you get it worked out as these are great little cookers!
  18. tagalong

    tagalong Fire Starter

    Thanks to all for the suggestions. I'll check my flaps and do as Dirtsailor suggested and do more cooks. The family has expressed some interest in a smoked meatloaf this weekend, so.....
    BTW, I have the lid to the Imusa attached to bottom of pot already.
  19. sam3

    sam3 Smoking Fanatic

    I have done meatloaf in my mini many times. One suggestion I have is to put the meatloaf in a tin and then on the grate.

    I did a meatloaf on a Frog Mat and the dripping made a mess on the steamer diffuser. Just an FYI.
  20. radioyaz

    radioyaz Smoke Blower

    I don't use a gold, but I use a foil covered clay pot base 12" as a diffuser and that keeps mine right a 250 with top and bottom vents open. I use it as a water pan too (I know methods and thought differ on this).

    I am just guessing here, but the steamer pan is really thin aluminum and full of holes so it likely isn't doing much diffusing of heat.  the Clay pot IMO seems to help create a convection as it gets as hot as the internal temp of the smoker and maintains heat on a constant level. They only cost a couple of bucks. I will also add I bought a fairly thick pot base, not a thin super cheap one and soaked it in water for a day so it would cure itself and not crack if it got too hot.

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