Mini Smokey Mountain
I should start by saying that I love the full size Weber Smokey Mountian. Temperature control is easy and I can cook a lot of food on it. Sometimes it would be nice to have smaller cooks though. For some time people on the Virtual Weber Bullet forums have been turning the $30 Weber Smokey Joe grill and a $25 steamer pot (Imusa 32qt, available at WalMart's website) into a small smokey mountain. I had to give it a shot. First I drilled and cut the tamale steamer pot that will be the body of the smoker.
After marking the sides of the pot for the grate holding screws, I maked the bottom to be cut out. The spacing I chose for the grates should allow me to cook 2 pork butts at a time.
Remove the bottom with whatever tools are handy. I used tin snips.
Weber part #7440, replacement charcoal grates for an 18" kettle grill are available for about $10 each at your local home improvement store. I'll use two of them for the main cooking grates. The terra cotta saucer will sit on the lower level of the pot and serve as a heat diffuser and something of a heat sink to help stabilize temperatures.
Here's the view inside the pot once everything is drilled and the screws are mounted.
The saucer will sit on the lowest level of screws and one of the new grates will sit directly on top of it.
The other charcoal grate will go in the middle rack position.
The original Smokey Joe cooking grate will sit on the top level. There won't be enough room to use all 3 grates with pork butts in the cooker, but when cooking smaller items it should allow me to place smaller items like appetizers on the upper tier.
Fully assmebled. The pieces fit together like they were made for each other.
For the first run I fired up a chimney with a little lump charcoal.
I preloaded the smoker with a scrambled egg and cheese stuffed fatty and a corned beef turned pastrami on the middle grate.
I loaded the charcoal bowl with some lump and a good sized chunk of hickory, then dumped the hot coals on top.
My remote thermometer let me monitor the temperature through the cook.
A look at the pastrami after the fatty finished. The smoker is making a great thin blue smoke.
I finished the pastrami in the pressure cooker and sliced it.
So how does it work so far? Pretty well. With it on the ground it can be difficult to see how far open the intake is. I would recommend adding a bolt to the intake vent handle and marking the pan so you can see how far open the vent is. I used lump charcoal which resulted in a more erratic burn than briquettes would. Overall it stayed pretty well in the 230-270 temperature range for the 5 or so hours I had it running. I may experiment with briquettes just for fun. I think I will be mounting a fan to it soon though to use with my automatic temperature controller.