I spent hours reading about minis before building one (on this forum and others) but the source I relied on most was BDSkelly's "Building a Mini Weber Smokey Mountain in Texas (Mini WSM)". Rather than bore everyone with the (many) ways I copied his, I'll just show the things I did differently.
I used the IMUSA pot ($21.47, free Site-to-Store shipping) from Wal-Mart. BDSkelly's idea of putting the lid under the pot was so good I HAD to copy it. Unfortunately the bottom of my IMUSA pot did not fit into its own lid like his Vasconia. But the IMUSA lid was about 1/4" larger in diameter than the Smokey Joe kettle -- so I turned it upside down and bent the extra 1/4" into a 1/16" rim. This raises the bottom of the pot about 2" higher than it would be if sitting in the kettle on the grill groove:
I traced the Smokey Joe kettle on the lid, bent it roughly with lineman's pliers, and formed it to final shape with a rubber mallet and form block. I didn't make a full-circle form block, but cut the curve on the ends of a scrap 1x3. Hammer, reposition, hammer, etc until it looked pretty good and fit the kettle like it was made for it (which it was). Like BDSkelly, I temporarily riveted the pot & lid together, cut out the centers, and then riveted them together permanently.
Also like BDSkelly, I used a charcoal grate from an 18-1/2" Weber kettle to support the diffuser (you only need to cut off one side to get it past the steamer ridge). I use the turntable from a junk microwave for the diffuser & a disposable cake pan for a water dish. SS screws @ 4" & 8" from the top of the pot for shelf supports; I also bent the rim of a cooking grate just enough to clear one of the shelf screws and drop down to the steamer ring, for possible grate levels @ steamer ring (2-1/2" above diffuser grate), 8" from top (4-1/2" above diffuser grate), & 4" from top (8-1/2" above diffuser grate).
The legs on my 1980's Smokey Joe were VERY flimsy; with any pressure at all they'd just warp the kettle and chip the porcelain. I put fender washers inside and out and replaced the wing nuts with hex nuts. The tabs on the bottom air vent were almost flat; I bent them to 90 degrees and bent a hook bolt to follow the curve of the kettle for a handle. I also added a 1" hose barb for a pitmasterIQ. The barb extends about 1" into the kettle, so I haven't have any ash clogging problems so far. It holds temps really well with or without the pitmasterIQ.
I "hammer welded" my charcoal ring (folded the ends of expanded metal over each other and hammered them flat, no welding or wire). It's hard to see in the picture, but I bent the bottom row of expanded metal 90 degrees to the inside of the ring, which made it MUCH more rigid.
Has anyone measured the charcoal ring from the new 14-1/2" WSM? Will it work on a mini?
Thanks for looking!
Edited by BGMDDY - 10/3/14 at 3:59pm