Making a "mini WSM" with a Cuisinart as the doner. - Page 2
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I don't even bother with low temp smokes on chickens anymore. I run the mini at 325+ the entire smoke. Gets plenty of smoke, stays nice and moist and you get good crispy skin.
Did you wrap your diffuser with foil? Makes clean up easier. If too much gunk collects on the diffuser you'll start to get off flavors in your smoke from the residue burning.
The chicken turned out great! It was a 4.5 hour smoke to reach a 165 core temp on the breast. The upright beer can chicken holder was sitting in a disposable aluminum pan; there was no drips on the pizza stone. I will wrap it for messy smokes. I will post more pictures later.
A little about the odd baffle design. I wanted to make a compact baffle/diffuser design. I see a lot of layouts where a few inches of the bottom of the pot are sacrificed, which reduces the space for meat. The baffle/diffuser layout allowed the meat to be very close to the coals without experiencing a large temperature gradient (keeps the bottom from burning). The bottom rack sits almost ten inches down from the top lip of the pot. This gives space for taller meats to be cooked. With the top rack removed, a 14 inch beer can turkey is a possibility.
Future upgrades include a "pot blanket" to further insulate the pot, which allows for higher temperatures, or perhaps cooking in very cold weather with no internal temperature impact. I also want to move my lid latches from the base to the pot. This will allow me to latch the lid to the pot, grab the lid handle, and carry the entire pot into the house (leaving the base behind). This way, the entire pot with pizza stone acts as a temperature controlled vessel to rest meat in after the smoking/cooking. I am still trying to figure out a better way to do ash control. The intake on the firebox is very similar to the smoky Joe silver. It has the same challenges the smoky Joe silver has. The fire-box is more shallow than the silver, so the inverted can method may not work for the design. A removable expanded metal firebox will be added, this will allow a rapid change of coals for very long smokes. Between the test run today, and the chicken, the smoker was running for 14 hours straight; that is a lot of ash.
Here is the pictures as promised.
First Pic: The 5.5 pound bird when finished, kinda lost in the pot isn't it?
Second Pic: Shows 10 inch throat depth of the pot, thanks to compact diffuser.
Third Pic: Some of the ashes from the 14 hour run.
Fourth Pic: The rest of the ashes from the 14 hour run.
Fifth Pic: Close-up of the bolts (10) which support the pizza stone.
Sixth Pic: View through the bottom of the Pot.
Seventh Pic: Inside view of pot after 14 hour break-in and chicken smoke.
Eight Pic: Maverick ET-733 showing the bird is done!
So for ash control any can over your vent with holes at the upper portion of the side will do, for at least 4-6 hours. After that you need to pull the pot and dump the base.
Believe it or not if you are prepared the pot will only drop 5-10 degrees tops as long as you put the pot on a flat surface to seal the bottom.
Edited by dirtsailor2003 - 7/24/14 at 6:26am
Another thing that will help with your ash control is to make a charcoal basket. A basket will also help with burn times and temp control. Easy to make with expanded metal. Use your current charcoal grate for the base. Cut your expanded metal to the proper height. If you don't weld use rebar ties or other steel wire to tie it together.
I used a dremel tool, with one of the narrow (1/16th inch) fiber cut-off wheels, and sliced off a quarter inch of the lid all the way around. I used the router attachment for the dremel (which precisely controls cut depth) and used the inside of the pot as a guide. My lid is a snug and perfect fit. Some people just crimp the lip with C-Clamps to reduce the diameter, but I was concerned it might slightly dimple the top mating surface, and make a less than perfect seal.
Absolutely, TWO baskets are in my future. They will have "easy lift" handles put on them. This way, I can pre-light a second basket, and do a swap with the primary basket quickly (for when very long smoking sessions occur. It would make sense to dump the ashes from the base when the swap occurs. I am also looking into the "top vented" inverted can mod to avoid the potential of ash clogging my vent. I currently use kingsford briquettes, but they give off a "tar-like" smell when they are first lit off. It leaves an undesirable smell. It had made me seriously consider getting charcoal wood chunks, and moving away from standard briquettes.
Another approach which is being considered is: Get one of the pitmaster IQ110 units with the barbed connector, and use a header on the inside of the firebox to distribute the air around the outer edge of the coals. The header may be something as simple as an old circular gas burner, which has been turned up-side-down (to blow the air down towards the coals). This will encourage a more complete burn to the edges, and perhaps make the basket not needed (more volume for coals then).