Mini WSM Build in Florida

Discussion in 'Mini-WSM' started by gnarbrah, May 17, 2014.

  1. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    Hey all - 

    I'm brand new here and totally stumbled upon the idea of the Mini WSM.  I was walking around the neighborhood a while back and someone was charcoal grilling and I realized how much I missed that.  I found a nice gas Weber Genesis 3 burner in the trash years ago and have been propane for simplicity ever since.  Once I smelled that charcoal I ran to Wally Mart and grabbed a SJS for $30.  It's a great little grill but "little" is the key word... My buddies and I are currently hooked on offset grilling / smoking chicken wings on the weekends and while they are great I can only fit about 12 on the SJS while indirect heating (see avatar).  So I start looking into smokers.  Found the Weber Smokey Mountain and lived it but didn't really want to spend $300.  Then as luck would have it I found the Mini!  I read and read and "borrowed" many an idea from this site (Thanks to all!!!).  Here's some pics of how it turned out - still need to find a diffuser and put the chicken can (done - just forgot to put it in the bottom for the pics) and fire her up!  I'm no master smoker so I'll be back asking for tips and suggestions once I give her a whirl.  Thanks again to all!  Oh and FYI - Wally Mart .com has the Vasconia 32Q (perfect fit) for $19 with free ship to store!  I had to pay tax but it was less than $21 total!  Comments welcomed!


    I have almost 2.5" clear from the bottom rectangle grate (extra that came with my old $79 offset smoker that I knew I'd find a use for one day) to the bottom food grill / grate.  I'm planning on putting my diffuser there.  10" pie pan? 

    Is the bottom cooking grate sitting on the steamer insert indention ok?  I haven't seen many people have it that low. 

    Thanks for your input!

    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you use a diffuser, it will sit either in the very bottom or where the steamer insert goes.

    Your lower rack can sit on the indent for the steamer insert.

    I typically don't use the diffuser when doing chicken or other high temp smokes. I do use a diffuser for low temp smokes and have used 12", 10" terra-cotta planter trays, and currently use a chunk of granite. If you use a diffuser wrap it in foil to make clean up easier.
  3. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the input - I'm just about to load it up with charcoal and give it a whirl. I'm too lazy to go back to the store but I found a 9" cake pan and wrapped it in foil. I have it sitting on the rectangle rack at the very bottom. Have a small pork loin and some chicken (wings and legs) I plan on throwing in this afternoon. Hopefully it turns out edible! I'm new at the whole smoking game so it'll be a learning process. I have some peach wood (chips unfortunately) and will spread some dry pieces in the unlit charcoal. I plan on putting about 10 lit scattered about (minion?) and will make a foil pouch of soaked chips once the hot coals are in.

    Back on the diffuser topic - what are your thoughts on using the double thick (pot and lid riveted together) that I cut out? It would obviously be the same size as the hole in the bottom and with it sitting on the rectangle rack it would sit approx 1/4" to 1/2" above the opening. Would that be enough breathing room for the smoke / heat? Or maybe I can trim a bit 1/2" to 1" around? Seems like a nice low profile diffuser maybe?
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  4. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    So I'm sitting on the back porch listening to all the boats run around the lake watching a smoker thermometer listening to some reggae. First smoke on the mini! Here's what I loaded up and what's happened so far. I waited about 30 mins and the temp climbed to 250 from when I dumped the lit coals in. Then I added 2 small pork loins on the bottom rack and loaded the top with chicken wings and legs. The temp dropped to about 200 and appears to be slowly climbing. At about 215 or a smudge higher as I type. I figure I'll give it another 15 minutes to see if it keeps climbing or if I need to add some more lit coals. That said if it stays around 250 how long till they are getting close? I'm using Stubbs briquettes by the way.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  5. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    This thing appears to have "parked" somewhere between 255 and 290. Can it be this easy to make perfect BBQ? Guess I'll know in about an hour!
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like you are off to a good start. Pork loins are done when the internal temp hits 145-150. They do not take very long to get there. I run my smoker around 325-350 for chicken with out a diffuser so I get good crispy skin.

    Yep the mini really is easy to control temps. Whether you want hot or cold you can do either easily.
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you add side air vents you will have better heat control, and be able to get higher temp smokes.
  8. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    I stand corrected. Temp dropped to about 200. There's lots of sizzling going on from the drippings hitting the foil covered pan. Been a little over 2 hours. I added about 10-12 new lit coals. Should I have gone with more unlits in the beginning? Basket is on my short list to add to it. Since adding the new lit coals still doesn't want to get above 210...
    Sounds like side vents may be in my future...
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  9. c farmer

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

    Great looking mini.    They are great cookers.

    Side vents and making a basket will help ALOT.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  10. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    Well I just finished my first mini wsm meal. It wasn't bad by any stretch but I need practice. Everything was a bit over done. Went about 2h 15m. Basket is definitely the next item on the list. How much charcoal do you start with? I was probably just under 3/4 unlit in the chimney with about 12 lit on top. Guess investing in a digital probe that you leave in throughout might be a good idea as well?

    Still impressed by how much food can be stuffed on one if these!

    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Charcoal basket is a must and can be easily mKe using the charcoal grate and some expanded metal. If you don't weld you can use rebar wire ties and nuts and bolts to assemble.

    A good digital therm is a must for smoking. I use my iGrill. I also have the Maverick ET732.
    Both units are dual probe. I use one for the pit temp and one for the meat.
  12. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I think you should have put the chicken below the pork. It's probably hotter closer to the heat source and from a food safety aspect you always stack, or store, your food from a least dangerous to most dangerous top to bottom.
  13. It actually doesn't matter at all if you smoke chicken above other meats. By that I mean there are no food safety issues doing it that way - everything is going to get cooked...
  14. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks great!  but I use disposable aluminum pie pans for a diffuser. 5 for $3.  Just toss em in the trash after your cooking. 
  15. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    So rumor has it I may be getting an Igrill mini for Father's Day! I'm thinking I may get another one for ambient temp or when I'm running food on top and bottom racks. Since they have the fancy little magnet mount I figured I'd make a not too hot place to mount them. Just a 98 cent hurricane strap and a couple rivets. I'm really hoping I can get the probe / wire through the lamp wire ports I installed under the handle.
    Also put together my charcoal basket. Have high hopes for that!
  16. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm able to get my temp probes in my mini with no problem-some of these probes have 90° bends in them. The trick is to cut the threaded ferrules as short as possible and still be able to thread on your loocking nuts and caps if you use them. Looking at you set up-the ferrule that is inside the pot might be too long. Mark where the nut is on the ferrule, remove it from the pot and trim it down to the mark you made-clean up any burrs that are left from triming and reinstall everything. I'll try to post up a pic what mine looks like on the inside.

    Nice job on the build. I'm going to have to steal your hurricane strap idea. :biggrin:
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  17. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    I'm still "patiently" waiting for my iGrill mini but the strap should work.  It might not be the best looking thing on the planet but it ought to be functional.  Even though all these mini's look like they should cost hundreds of bucks the reason I built it is to smoke on the cheap! 

    What size ferrules did you use?  I've got the "standard" 1/8.  Hoping I can get the cord through em!
  18. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    Got my igrill mini a little bit early! The bent probe end fits through the lamp ferrule port but I had to cut off the silicone "handle" on the probe. Oh well minor sacrifices. Can't wait for this weekend to fire up my first pork butt!
  19. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    It's fun seeing all the mini builds... no two are alike!        I am a fan of just using the steamer rack that comes in the pot though, it diffuses some heat and still lets drippings hit the charcoal. 

    Nice looking mini!
  20. gnarbrah

    gnarbrah Meat Mopper

    Thanks!  I just pulled the cheapo Brinkmann thermo out and boiled a pot of water to test it along with my brand shiny new iGrill mini.  As suspected the iGrill was dead on fluttering between 211 and 212.  Mush to my surprise the Brinkmann pegged right around 210.  Close enough for me!  That means once I get iGrill #2 I'll have to be running two chunks of meat at a time!

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