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Thread: Bay Area Build

  1. #1
    New Member AaronJEL's Avatar
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    Bay Area Build

    I've been lurking around for a little under a year, and have been drooling over all of the mini smokers that have been built. It's been a long and fruitless search, but I finally found an IMUSA pot in stock at a nearby Target. I snatched it up and no longer had an excuse to put this project off. Thankfully, the time I spent reading about all of the builds prepped me, and I already had my design in mind.

    The lady decided we needed to go out to dinner the day I picked up the pot, so we were on temporary hold. There's an Ikea in nearby Palo Alto, and I recalled that I read somewhere of a utensil holder that could be converted into a handy ash blocker. I think she was surprised when I said, "Since we're on this side of town, Ikea?"

    Can't beat that price


    We bought 2, both the short and tall sizes. My first attempt was a failure, cutting it about a 1/2" too tall. When I began to trim the edge, the entire thing crimped. Straight into the garbage it went. I haven't yet made a second attempt.

    Scored another pickup at Ikea. Doubles as an alarming thermometer and timer



    I began assembly the next day. First step was to cut the bottom of the steamer pot. I used a dinner plate to trace a circle on the bottom, then cut it out with an oscillating multitool, metal-cutting blade.


    Remember to clamp that sucker down!



    I installed 3" bolts just under the indentation on the pot, spacing each about 14.5" apart. The upper bolts are 3/4" bolts, installed 4" below the rim of the pot.


    I found a smoker temp gauge at Orchard Supply for $8.99, and eyeballed that in the middle of the pot


    I found a 12" clay saucer at Ikea, and persuaded my fiancee that she needed a new pot for her kitchen plant, sans saucer. This rests on top of the 3" bolts as a diffuser. I've heard many different opinions, some saying that the saucer is sufficient, other saying it's a heatsink and to use a metal pan. I've started with this, and will switch if the need arises.



    Continued below...

  2. #2
    New Member AaronJEL's Avatar
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    Grate rests directly on top of the saucer. You'll see the pot rim was crimped to allow the Smokey Joe lid to cover. Doesn't look the greatest, but I have a snug fit.


    And...fully assembled


    I had previously built a charcoal basket out of expanded metal, and was hoping to use this again. Unfortunately, since the pot sits a fraction deeper than the cooking grate had in the Smokey Joe, the basket stuck up inside the cutout, and lifted out with the pot. I have some leftover expanded metal, and will make version 2 at a later time.


    I ended up filling the bowl with lump and fired it up to season the body. She held temp very well, reaching a high of 275 and staying rock steady at 250.

  3. #3
    New Member AaronJEL's Avatar
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    Sunday was the day to run our first test cook. Saturday's burn-in session lasted about 3 hours before I had to shut her down, so I was confident she could repeat. I settled on a few spicy brats and a 2-lb tri-tip set up for a short smoke. Fired her up and let her smoke


    Had a body temp of 250 in about 30 minutes, and a cooking grate temp of close to 240. Checked temps every 30 minutes, and seemed to hold fairly steady. We had one significant temp drop, and turned out to be ash blocking the vents. After a quick clear and stir of the coals, temps ran back up to 275 before settling in at 250-255. It's insane how easy it is to hold temp in this little thing!

    3 hour check, brats are ready to come off. Probably could have come off a bit sooner, but not bad for first run. My buddy and I ate those while we waited for the tri-tip to finish


    Nearing 4 hours, and still at 255. Pulled the tri-tip, and here are the results.



    Nice smoke ring, but definitely could have pulled it off a bit earlier. Cooked M-MW. Cat must've smelled something she liked, because she came by to check it out.


    All in all, pretty happy with the first smoke. Really looking forward to putting this into action over the next few months and really dial in that smoking time. Also, next step is paint. I'm not a painter, so I'm toying with the idea of a plain color scheme, or a simple stencil.

  4. #4
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    Your mini looks great! You're going to love smoking with it, they are great little smokers that (for the money) can't be beat!!
    Great job,
    Tim
    Weber SG Gold Mini WSM 18.5 WSM Genesis E 320 Q-200:cool '06 Blue Performer

  5. #5
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    Great job. You're gonna love it.
    18.5" WSM , 14" WSM , Smokey Joe Mini WSM , Black Performer

  6. #6
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    Excellent job! And they do rock out some good Que! The saucer from the flower pot is good for low and slow temps but if you are doing chicken at say 350 take it out!

    Garvin
    A Silver turn to Gold, Gold,14.5 WSM, Jumbo Joe with a Cajun Bandit Stacker!

  7. #7
    TVWBB Olympian ChuckO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronJEL View Post
    Cat must've smelled something she liked, because she came by to check it out.
    Also, next step is paint. I'm not a painter, so I'm toying with the idea of a plain color scheme, or a simple stencil
    My cats love BBQ and demand some. I have to cut it in very small pieces and they love it. Your mini well done, congrats. I painted mine and as long as you're not overly concerned about fade and whatnot, you're good to go. But if that bothers you, you might just want to leave it in it's natural finish
    85 78

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