• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Few questions before I build...

Joined Aug 1, 2017
I've done lots, probably too much, reading across the interwebs about these mini-WSM's and decided it will be a summer project; seems the perfect cooking tool for our cabin up in north GA. But before I start, a couple things I'd appreciate veteran mini builders opinion on:

Smokey Joe regular vs premium (what used to be silver and gold, I'm guessing)? I know bottom vent placement is the difference, but is that issue big enough to say one over the other? Does the tin can over vent on the silver solve the problem efficiently?

Similarly (air flow), I've seen around the web mods where people are putting these air flow valves on the bottom of the grill. Of course when I start this thread I can't locate an existing build thread to point to as reference, and my less than handy self doesn't really know what these valves are actually called or what dept in Home Depot they come from. Hopefully y'all know what I'm talking about and can say "yeah, those are ___ and are a great addition" or "they're cool, but mostly a mod for the sake of modding"

The bottom of the stock pot (of which I've already bought 2; Target oddly had a supply of them in store yesterday. Got 2, figured if this worked out well someone might get a xmas present later): cut out or drill holes? I saw on one of the build threads where the person cut out a cross pattern which served as a diffuser holder; pretty smart, I thought

Lastly, for now, charcoal basket: yay or nay?

Thanks in advance all


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 25, 2014
The valves are Ball Valves in the plumbing section.

yes on the charcoal basket it will help save fuel and cook more evenly. IMHO



Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Feb 3, 2013
Howdy Spiff
Richie gives you great advice. I cut the bottom out of my pot and use disposable aluminum pie plates for a diffuser. Just toss them in the trash after the smoke. Easy cleanup.
I think you'll be happier going with the gold model with the side vents. Just my opinion tho.
There are a number of step by step build instructions on our site. Pick the one that strikes your fancy and get to work! B


Smoke Blower
Joined Sep 10, 2014
I used a standard/silver model. And yes a can or small pet bowl drilled for ventilation works to keep ash buildup from clogging vents.

I started with drilled holes on my pot, but eventually went back and cut a hole to be able to increase the temp for chicken, getting it abouve 325 helps the skin crisp. But the holes worked just fine.

I used a charcoal basket and it worked to use fewer coals, but found for long cooks...I could load more fuel without it.

I also installed a party q from bbq guru with the standard webber attachment and it makes the mini literally like an oven with precise temp control. I love it and was worth every penny to me.

I used a clay pot base for my heat diffuser and sat it on an additional grill at the bottom of the pot. So I avoided the long bolts at install. The grill fit perfectly in the ring that the tamale pot diffuser would sit.

There is my two cents!

Good luck...you will love it!


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Aug 16, 2016
Go with whichever model you want. But as pointed out the gold model has side vents that are less likely to plug off due to ash build up vs the silver that has the single vent on the bottom. I originally bought the silver and just put an upside down tuna can with holes in it over the single bottom vent and that worked great. In fact I liked the simplicity of the single vent (with a handle mod) But now I too have a BBQ Guru Party-Q and love it! So now I leave the bottom vent closed now anyway and the guru feeds all the air it needs for combustion to maintain precise temps and there is no need to worry about plugging off vents.due to ash build-up. What I am saying is it doesn't matter which one you get if you plan on getting a guru (or similar) temperature controller. When you want to use it as a grill, it doesn't matter either as you aren't burning enough coals to produce enough ash to mean anything.

Others swear by adding the ball valves both for controlling airflow, but also like dirtsailor swears by is the side-light method for starting your coals with a butane/propane torch. I start my coals in a chimney over a cooker burner and they start fast enough for me that way. Especially with the Guru- once the coals are dumped in it continues to fan the coals to get up to temp much faster than when using vents alone.

BD Skelly is right about the aluminum pie pan as a drip catcher. But I just install and use the perforated steamer piece that comes with the tamale pot. It fits where it is supposed to and the pie pan sits on top of that to catch drips.
Joined Aug 1, 2017
Good info guys, appreciate it

On the ball valves (I have the desire to mod, but on a budget, so this seems like the best option/compromise): I looked on Lowes and there's multiple varieties of ball valves. Is female, sweat, or push fit? And how do you secure it to kettle? Treat me like a simpleton here, as I am in the world of plumbing parts
Top Bottom
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying! (But that's how we keep the lights on.)

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks