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My Mini build (pics)

Corey John

Joined Jun 6, 2018
I'm finally done with my mini build. It was such a fun and inexpensive project and hopefully I'll get some good times and good BBQ out of it. I kept budget in mind the whole build, so I will try to keep my prices included and give total for the project.
I started off by finding a SJS on CL for ($10). I then found a 32qt IMUSA tamale pot for $20 cash at a local Mexican market. Some say that they have lid issues, but I'm happy to say that my lid fit perfectly on the IMUSA.

The first step in the build was to cut the bottom out of the pot and drill holes for the first grate and the heat shield. I decided to mount the heat shield just below the lip of the pot so I could use the lip for a bottom grate. I also installed the hardware. I used 1/4" x 3/4" stainless hex bolts for the upper grate. 1/4" x 2" for the heat shield mount. ($9)

Next I picked up a 11" pie pan from Goodwill ($3) and a grate level thermometer from Amazon ($9). The bottom grate is sitting on the lip

I picked up a new grate from the local hardware store ($8)

Added an appropriate cork handle for the top vent

I ended up bending a threaded rod for the bottom vent and adding a cork handle as well.

At this point I was ready to paint. I masked off a Motion P and picked up some High heat Ultra paint by rust o leum. I taped a bag to the pot in order to keep paint from the inside of the pot.


Here it all dried up

First Smoke, I really wanted to get it to 275 and keep it there. I will be doing a lot of tailgating with it and want to be able to maintain higher temps for quicker cooks like wings, moink balls, etc. So I improvised my own chimney threw 9 Kingsford Blue and go the minion going.

About 30 min later it was sittin at about 250, vent 1/2 open

I throttled it down to vents 1/4 open at 260 and she settled at 275

After watching it for about an hour at 275, and admiring the thin blue smoke, I had to put on some wings. My pup apparently liked the smoke too.

I threw on the wings and noticed my temps sank to about 250.. I opened the vents a little to about 2/3 to crank the heat up. It got back to 280 very quickly. I ended up putting the vents back to about 1/3, and she settled back at 275. In retrospect, I should have just let it be and the temps would have rose back to 275 on their own. Though I am happy with how easily the temps were controlled by that small vent.

Wings were not bad considering. I only had a little hickory for smoke. They had bite through skin and were tender.

Overall, I am very happy with the mini and cannot wait to keep playing with it to get temp control down. For $54 you can't beat the price.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Sep 16, 2007
Looms great CJ. The wings have excellent color. Strong work.


Fire Starter
Joined Jun 14, 2016
Looks great! awesome way to use the resources available. We have a handful of large stockpots that are at the end of their life cycle, perhaps one will make its way into a smoker.

Glad to see the you had a successful first cook as well, it's always difficult at first getting to know your smoker. Keep it up!


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 25, 2015
Nice work! I've gotta' find some of that Carnivor wine!


Joined Sep 15, 2012
Very nice build...I made a total of 6 of them for friends and made 2 for myself. The two twins are my workhorse pits while my 2 18" WSM is for bigger cooks and comps.

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