Planning my Mini WSM

Discussion in 'Mini WSM Users' started by iggythump, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    Planning a build for my first Mini WSM (first smoker altogether as well) and I see many builds that have a secondary cooking grate just over the terra cotta piece or whatever material they're using as an insert.  My question being, does any food placed on this rack cook properly or does the close proximity to the insert significantly increase the temp of the food thus influencing the cook times, quality, etc?
     
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  2. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I don't have any type of heat sink in my mini. I just use the tamale insert for a heat baffle. Where I live it's always somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees year round.

    So, the question was about using two racks. I've done it a few times, using both of my racks, and at the projected halfway point the lower rack will be moved to the upper position and the upper will go down to the lower position...

    Most of the time I only use the upper rack and if I'm doing a bigger smoke I'll use my kettle or R2D2.

    The best thing about the lower grate is you can do some vertical smokes like beer can chicken!
     
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes, the lower rack will run a good bit hotter if there is no heat sink (terra cotta pot, pie pan, iron skillet etc) in place. If there is a heat sink, it will run about the same. This is my experience with the lower rack about 4" below the upper on my first mini. On the new one I've not yet installed a second grate nor have I bothered with a heat sink as I tend to do everything above 275. I do leave the steamer insert in place just about every time I use it.
    You'll have fun with your mini!! They're great little cookers and are incredibly versatile. Make sure you make some sort of coal basket as it really ups the efficiency. I made mine out of a piece of mesh gutter guard. Just cut it so it fits under the cooking grate ( I think it's about 3-3.5 inches high) and then made a ring the same circumference as the coal grate. I've also considered using a spring form pan like the kind you use to make cheesecake. Turns out the coal grate is the same size as the bottom of the pan, at least with the pan I have. Before I ever tried it out, however, the idea was vetoed so I just got the mesh gutter guard and made the ring from that.
     
  4. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    I greatly appreciate all the input. I will definitely be adding a heat sink (foil covered terra cotta) and I won't be cutting out the entire bottom of my pot, just drilling holes in it which would be the same difference as keeping the steamer insert in I assume.
     
  5. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I drilled 3/4 inch holes in mine. Works fantastic
     
  6. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    Right on, this is my idea exactly.  Glad to hear from first hand experience that it works.  I'm having an issue getting a SJ Gold on lock down, plenty of silvers to be had locally though.
     
  7. c farmer

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

    In my opnion, your better off cutting the bottom out. This way you can stack the charcoal higher to get longer cooks.

    Use the steamer insert for a diffuser and no terra cotta pot.

    Just my opnion.
     
  8. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    Completely agree.  This is probably the route I will take.  I plan to mount 2 racks (or at least positions for two racks) that I may use simultaneously while doing wings, fish, etc or employ one rack in the lowest position for a vertical beer can chicken
     
  9. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  10. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

  11. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You are correct. I set the Mini up for 3 grate levels.  The 3rd level is where the pot indents to hold the steamer plate.  I never use that lowest level.  It gets pretty darn hot down there.
     
  12. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    Right on, I was wondering about the impact of a grate that low.  I just put my order in for my SJ Gold so I'll have nearly a week to have my pot ready for action.  I liked c farmer's idea of utilizing the steamer insert as the diffuser.  I wonder what the difference in heat retention and consistency there would be between the aluminum insert and a terra cotta pot? 
     
  13. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The terra cotta saucer holds heat for better stability.  However the mini is very stable without it.  I no longer us the terra-cotta.  For easy clean up i use disposable aluminum pie plates as a diffuser .  They work great. Inexpensive. And I just toss them in the trash after the smoke.  
     
  14. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mine is a silver. I drilled a 3/4 inch on each side right under the lip and installed a brass ball valve
     
  15. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    That's good to hear about the stand alone stability.  If you're currently using the aluminum pie pans, then drilling holes in the bottom of the pot would essentially give you the same heat retention and regulation without having to cut the bottom out and use various other part, correct?
    The silver is definitely my only option if I wanted to purchase locally and have today but I thought hell, it's only an extra few days to have what I really want so I decided to test my patience and order the Gold.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  16. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Correct. But I highly recommend you follow my build and cut that bottom out and rivet or bolt the lid to it.  It sits higher on the bottom of your smokey joe and you with find the pot a bit more secure if you do. 
     
  17. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    I'm using the Imusa aluminum pot and I have read various threads saying that the pot doesn't fit properly in the lid. I'll be able to bring my grinder and cutoff wheel home from work tomorrow and hopefully I'll be able to get an idea then.
     
  18. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    My lid to pot had about 1/4 inch gap. That's why I bolted it together... I had an Imusa as well.
     
  19. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As said above I'd cut the bottom out of the pot. Easy to do with a metal blade in a jigsaw. If you will only be doing low temp smokes (under 300) then the holes will be fine. I am also a big fan of attaching the lid to the bottom of the pot. I wouldn't do anything though until you get your SMJ in hand so you can test fit everything. With the gold if you plan on high temp smoking you may need to add another vent in the bottom like the silver has.

    I very rarely use the lower rack but with a diffuser in the temps are nearly identical. No diffuser or just the steamer insert and its a good 20-25 degrees warmer.
     
  20. iggythump

    iggythump Smoke Blower Group Lead

    Awesome, thanks for the input.  I ill definitely keep that in mind during assembly.

    I don't plan to do anything high temp (sub 300) so i'm planning for my initial vents to be sufficient and for the original plans of just the holes to be adequate. 
     

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