This goes into feature and size comparison between a home-made mini-Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) and an actual WSM 14.5 model. There will be two sets of size information given for the mini-WSM. One set is for the standard IMUSA 32 quart tamale pot. The second set will be with the William-Rose 40 quart pot. The base of the mini-WSM is the Smokey Joe Gold. The measurements for the WSM 14.5 is without any modifications.
Number of briquettes held:
mini-WSM: 74 without a ring, and without a pot circle cut out to allow ring to extend upward.
WSM-14.5: 110 (according to owner's manual).
Distance the first rack is from the coals:
Mini-WSM: 4 inches above top of coals.
WSM-14.5: 8 inches above the top of the coals (WOW).
Distance above the bottom rack, before you make contact with the top rack:
Mini-WSM with IMUSA32 quart tamale pot: 5.75 inches.
Mini-WSM with Williams-Rose 40 quart pot: 7.5 inches. (WOW).
WSM-14.5: 5.0 inches (smallest).
Distance from the top rack to the lip the lid rests on:
Mini-WSM with IMUSA32 quart tamale pot: 4.0 inches.
Mini-WSM with Williams-Rose 40 quart pot: 4.5 inches.
WSM-14.5: 0.5 inches.
Dome Height of lid (provides extra room for meat on top rack):
All mini-WSM: 3.0 inches.
WSM-14.5: 7.0 inches (WOW).
Diameter of grill surfaces:
All mini-WSM: 13.625 inches.
WSM-14.5: 13.5 inches (smaller than the name 14.5 would lead you to believe).
Vertical rack clearance on the top rack is enhanced by the huge dome on the WSM-14.5. It has 7.5 inches for the top rack and 5 inches on the bottom rack. On the mini-WSM with the IMUSA pot, the top rack has 7 inches on the top rack, and 5.75 inches on the bottom rack. On the mini-WSM with the Williams-Rose 40 quart pot, the top rack has 7.5 inches and the bottom rack has 7.5 inches. The mini-WSM units have a grill surface which is an eighth of an inch greater diameter than the WSM-14.5.
More to come: Temperature range, stability, fuel consumption, temperature differenced between racks and burn duration. Preliminary data looks like the mini-WSM gets more burn time for a given amount of briquettes, but more data is needed. It also looks like the WSM-14.5 can hit higher temperatures with greater ease. The stock thermometer on the WSM-14.5, which is in the dome, reads about 15 degrees cooler than the top rack, and 30 degrees cooler than the bottom rack.