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  #1  
Old 02-12-2014, 08:49 AM
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Default Mini-WSM Build using the SMJ Silver

I've had a few requests to post more about my Mini-WSM Builds. I currently have two Mini-WSM's both made using the Smokey Joe Silver. Both of these I got off of Craigslist one for $5, the other for $10. Both included briquettes and wood chips. The $5 one came with the charcoal starter chimney. If I had to buy brand new I probably would but the Gold, as the valves for the side vents cost a pretty penny. With that said I also like to tinker and build things. So i was fun experimenting with the first one.

My first Mini is just about 2 1/2 years old now. I started my first build in the fall (that's when all the good camping stuff comes up for sale on Craigslist). The first smoke was on a super cold day and the mini rocked! I intentionally didn't add all the components at once as I wanted to see how each effected the mini's performance. For the SMJ Silver I found that the three most important mods to make are these:

1. (2) 3/4" valved air intakes (the cap on the nipple doesn't allow enough control)
2. Ash deflector (there is no need to enlarge the ash tray if you have this)
3. Charcoal Basket

Some other nice things to do:

1. Add some flare, bling or whatever to make your Mini, yours. I choose to not paint. I was in too much of a hurry to smoke!
2. Make handles for the existing vents. This is nice, especially for the lower vent. Top vent stays open all the time when cooking. But I do close mine to snuff the fire and for storage. After two and a half years the vents a little sticky and seasoned so the handle helps.

A little bit about the pot. My first pot I used was the Vasconia 32qt. tamale steamer. I really like this pot, but could not get it locally so had to order it. The non-metallic handles are what makes this pot my preferred pot.

I experimented with just drilling holes in the bottom of the pot. This worked, but it limits the amount of charcoal you can put in the base. If you accidentally overload the charcoal the pot wont seat on the SMJ base.
On my second pot, a Hoffritz 32qt. tamale steamer, I removed the bottom, leaving 1 1/4". This was a huge improvement and I eventually cut the bottom out of the original pot too.

Pot size. The pot needs to be just shy of 14" to fit in the SMJ.

I like to attach the lid of the pot to the bottom of the pot. This raises the pot just a bit higher. With the lid on the bottom the pot sits on the rim of the SMJ base. without it sits on the grate lip inside the SMJ. To attach the lid I bolted it on with four bolts. When I went to cut out the bottom of pot #1 I had to go around the bolts and it doesn't look all that good. I plan on cleaning up the cut and instead of bolts I am going to rivet the lid back on.

Okay so enough of the talk onto the photos.
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2014, 08:49 AM
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Mini 1.0 Vasconia Pot Smokey Joe silver
Lid from the tamale pot makes a great seat on the SMJ base
In this version I drilled holes all over using the steamer insert as a pattern. This works, but if you over load the charcoal it creates problems seating the pot on the SMJ base. I have since cut the bottom out.
Ready for the first burn. I didn't season it I just went all out and cooked. At the time I didn't have a charcoal basket, and I used a hunk of our native bedrock for a diffuser. I also didn't have a ash guard or the side vents yet.
Here's a shot showing the two grates in . The lower one sits where the steamer insert goes, the upper one is approx 4" from the top. I cant believe how shiny that all was, it isn't anymore!
Smoking away! I smoked like this for quite sometime, making modifications as I went.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:50 AM
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One of the first mods I made was adding an ash guard. I used a stainless pet food dish and drilled holes around the top. It can be seen here just below the grate.
I also added a larger ash catcher (which I realized wasn't needed with the ash Guard). Here you can also see that I added a 3/4" nipple, no valve, just a cap. That worked okay, but it was either full open of closed.
OH Sweet TBS!!!
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:51 AM
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Here we are again with the next mod, added a ball valve to one side and another nipple and cap to the other side of the mini.
Close up. of the side vents.
Better view of the ash deflector
With the ash guard you don't get much ash out the bottom!
Used a step bit to make the holes for the side vents. Then just thread the black pipe nipples in (do not use galvanized).
The nipple with the cap didnt last long, ended up with two ball valves. I like to tinker and play so that is why there was a progression in the build. Wanted to see how minimal you could go and what really works to make the mini the most efficient.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:52 AM
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One of the next things I did was to make a charcoal basket. Of all the things this is by far the most important modification. It really helps with maintaining consistent temps. For this I used the charcoal grate for the bottom, expanded metal for the sides. Most hardware stores have this in 1'x2' sheets. I used tin snips to cut it, a jjig saw with a metal blade would work too. I believe if my memory serves me correct it's 3 1/4" tall. For my first version I just wire tied it together with concrete rebar ties. Still holding strong.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:52 AM
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Behold, the Double D Mini!!!! great for cold smoking with the 12" AMNTS, not so great at hot smoking! I should admit though that I haven't tried again since cutting the bottom out of the original pot. After things warm back up I'll give it another shot.
What started this whole fiasco was one of our local stores started carrying these pots and after measuring I new it'd fit so I had to buy one to try. The only thing that I don't like about the pot is the metal handles.
This one I decided to cut out the whole bottom. Once again another progression. Having one bottom out and one just drilled would allow me to experiment. My experimenting lead to me exclusively using the pot with the bottom cut out.
I cut the bottom of the pot out then fastened the lid to the bottom and cut it out. Had my brain been working I would have drilled the handle rivets out of the lid, or cut a small section away and the attached the lid and made the cut all at once. Oh well it all worked out.

This summer I cut the bottom out of the original pot. It really is the way to go. Allows you to load up on the charcoal when needed.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:54 AM
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Charcoal basket 2.0, the welded version.
Homemade grate grabbers!
Sear mode!!!
Pure TBS Mode!!!
Cold Smoke mode
Camping Mode!
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:54 AM
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Dueling Minis!!!
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:57 AM
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Great post!

I'll be in touch with any questions.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam3 View Post
Great post!



I'll be in touch with any questions.

Looking forward to your build Sam. You are going to love the Mini. I have a UDS, a GOSM, a propane grill. The mini gets used 2-3 times a week!!! It's awesome for camping too.
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Old 08-27-2017, 01:31 PM
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Workin on one as we......
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Old 08-27-2017, 04:47 PM
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Cool deal, I was scrounging parts until I was able to score some at Wally world for about the same money as building one.

The handles on the side are very helpful.
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