Making a "mini WSM" with a Cuisinart as the doner.

Discussion in 'Mini-WSM' started by addertooth, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. I looked at my sad Cuisinart portable kettle sitting ignored on the porch.  With other grill and smoker purchases recently, it has seen no use.  I am going to use it as the core of a "mini WSM"-like smoker.  It is just a little bit smaller than the smoky joe, so some modifications of the standard build will have to be performed.  The inverted pot lid fits snugly on the base (very airtight), but the smoker lid walks all over the top of the standard pot because the pot lip is too big by a quarter inch.  I will have to remove about half of the lip on the top of the pot for the  smoker lid to fit.  I plan on moving the lid latches from the base of the unit, to the pot.  This way, I can use the handle on the top to lift everything but the base to the kitchen to get the meat out.  Pictures will be posted as each stage of the mod are completed.  More postings later. 
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like. Good plan. Can't wait to see your photos! Are you going to use a Silver or Gold SMJ?
  3. c farmer

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

    I am in.   Lets see some pics.
  4. The current Plan:

    Side view followed by top-down view of cut-outs for the inverted lid and pot bottom:

  5. This drawing represents the pot lid, which is bolted to the bottom of the pot, and the relationship of the slots and holes cut.  Red is the slots cut in the lid, The black circle is the hole cut in the bottom of the pot.  The blue dots are holes cut for the quarter inch bolts which connect the lid with the bottom of the pot.  The bolts are long enough to lift the pizza stone about one half inch above the bottom of the pot.  The pizza stone is about 7/8ths inch smaller than the internal diameter of the pot, creating a nice gap for smoke to emerge from all sides of the stone.  The stone can be slid from one side to the other, to create side-drafts, or smoke flow as needed.

  6. More photographs:

    First picture ,"grills and pizza stone size comparison" Stone is smallest, followed by original grill surface; largest is smoky joe grill surface.

    Second picture,  "lid too small" (the Cuisinart lid is too small for the top of the pot, the pot's lip will have to be reduced for better fit).

    Third picture,  "the victim" a Cuisinart camping grill

    Fourth picture,  "weber smoky joe grill in Cuisinart" (it is about a quarter inch bigger, and does not fit level).

  7. Well, it is all built now, with the exception of the second set of shelves and the latches.

    Here is what it looks like:

  8. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    You gonna paint it? I know it's not needed but it's a really cool touch to personalize it...
  9. After the second rack is in, it will get some paint.  Right now I am toying with air-flow and temperature.  All of the mating surfaces are exceptionally air-tight, so I may have to increase airflow on my triple plate system.  Or maybe I will just add an IQ-120 to it. 
  10. Well the first test run was performed.  The highly baffled path impeded air flow too much.  It holds 170 like a champ, but no higher.  Looks like some drilling on the baffles are in my future.
  11. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looking at your design, I'd say cut the whole bottom out of the pot. Add two side vents in the grill base and you'll be golden.

    I'd probably loose the pizza diffuser or move it up to where the tamale steamer insert sits. Or just use the tamale steamer insert as your diffuser.

    I experimented a bunch and found that the optimal configuration for the mini is to remove the full bottom of the pot. And use whatever diffuser you want or don't want at the steamer insert level. Also a charcoal basket makes a huge difference.

    Not knowing your air intake I'd suggest an ash diffuser, and adding side vents.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  12. The air intake is directly below the charcoal bed.  It is the classical triple triangle slits; about 4 inches in diameter.  Before the mini-smoker mod, it had no problem achieving searing temperatures on the drop of a hat.  I am going to open up the bottom of the pot some more and that should improve things. 
  13. I am going to try a moderate approach first.  It will be 8 holes which are 1 inch diameter which overlap the slits on the pot lid (which is nearest the coals).  This will give an increase of about 6.28 square inches of "easier flowing" paths for smoke.  The black circles at the end or the rounded (1 inch wide) red slits will create a straight path from the coal bed to the smoke chamber.  The only thing between the meat and the coal bed will be the pizza stone, which (currently) sits about 5/8 of an inch above the bottom of the pot.  This will make the smoke and air-flow path a bit less tortured.  Because I cannot easily put the metal back, it will get removed by slow degrees, followed by a burn to measure the effects.  It may be re-inventing the wheel, but part of this is a learning exercise.  First picture is the original cut pattern, second picture is the new cut pattern.

    Thank you for the good advice DirtSailor2003.
  14. dutch

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

    What did you do to get the lid to fit properly? I see the lid is a good fit on the pot. I was going to suggest using a C-clamp to compress the rolled edge of the pot. That's what I had to do to get the Smokey Joe lid to fit my tamale post.

    DS is right about removing the bottom from the pot. I have about a 1 1/2 inche rim around the bottom of my pot that allows clearance for a charcoal basket. There are plenty of Mini-wsm builders here that have removed the bottom and have great results. It's almost a 'no-brainer' to go ahead and remove the bottom from the start, but it's your build not mine.
  15. I reduced the width of the rim by using the "router" attachment on my Dremel tool.  In the dremel tool I used the narrow (1/16 inch) fiber saw disk, and did a circular slice of the outer quarter inch of the lip all they way around the pot.  This allowed the smoker lit to have a tight/snug flush fit all the way around.  In hind sight, a jig saw (with a shortened blade) would have achieved the same thing, but perhaps with a bit less precision.  A moment of silence for the dremel tool, it gave up it's final spark achieving this goal. 
  16. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    RIP Dremel! I use my trusty Bosch jigsaw with a fine tooth metal blade for all the cuts I've made on all of my mini-wsm pots (4) . Works great.
  17. Yes, next time it will be a jig saw.  I am giving it a burn in, with 4 holes of 1 inch each added above the "lid slots".  It is hitting 284 right now, very stable with gentle rise and drop in temperature, even when I pull the pot off and set it to the side.  The pizza stone seems to really hold the heat.  I think it is time to go snag a yard bird and make some beer chicken.
  18. Beer chicken is on, 212 smoker temperature, 92 degrees in the breast.  My Maverick ET-733 arrived today; putting it to good use. The ET-733 was calibrated against a known thermometer (chefmate), good linear match from 75 to 250. 
  19. Loved your detailed updates. I fabbed one of these years ago after getting a scrap aluminum turkey fryer pot with a pinhole. I cut the bottom out of my pot like others suggested but never thought about using a pizza stone to hold temp! SUPER IDEA!! Wonderful ideas and thorough design is evident here. Hope you get that airflow right.

    RIP Dremel...too bad. I heated my aluminum and jigsawed it like butter.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  20. The monster 5.5 pound chicken is nearing completion, it has been going four and a half hours, and is 162 degrees at the thick of the breast.  I raised the temperature to 325 to help crisp the skin in the final hour.

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