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Thread: Cajun Bandit Jumbo Joe Conversion

  1. #1
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    Cajun Bandit Jumbo Joe Conversion

    So, my "scratch & dent" Cajun Bandit conversion kit arrive Monday and being snowed in yesterday, I got to put it together and see how things fit.

    First, this being a scratch & dent discounted unit, the only cosmetic issues I noticed are some tool marks (looks like the grinder used to smooth the weld out went off-target a bit) and some scuffs that would probably buff/polish out. However, this will be used mostly for camping/travel, so it'll get more scuffed up along the way, I'm sure. I'm hoping that the stainless steel construction will resist going "out of round" better than my stock 18" WSM body (which need a bear hug after e few of the bumpier trips it went on). So, given that I got a 25% discount on it, I'm more than happy with the condition.

    Second, the cooking grate it came with is the standard one for 18.5" kettles (17.5" diameter). The fact that it fits so well makes me wonder why Weber designed the 18.5" WSM with a different lower grate size. Seems wasteful to have to manufacture & stock a different part when an existing one would work. Anyway, I'll probably put the shiny new grate away for later as I've already got a couple of 18" grates that are already seasoned.

    Third, I think this kit would work much better on the Smokey Joe Premium (predecessor to the current JJ) or an 18" kettle. Full assembled, there's literally less than 1/2" clearance between the top of the charcoal ring and the edge of the "heat diffuser" (aka: aluminum pizza pan). Since I'm used to really loading my 18" WSM's ring to the top or beyond, this will take some adjusting, and I kind of doubt I'll be able to fit enough charcoal for a 10-12 hour cook. Then again, with less space below the charcoal grate, 6 or 8 hours worth of ash from KBB might choke the fire out. I'm also thinking that unlike the WSM the lower grate in this setup will probably be hotter than the top given the proximity to the fuel and the fact that a thin pan won'd diffuse heat as well as the WSM's water pan (which I usually just foiled over, but the air inside provided some diffusion). HOWEVER, on a cooker with a deeper bowl (like an 18" kettle), this kit seems like it'd be a fantastic upgrade at 1/2 the price of the 18" WSM.

    So, the bottom line is that while it's not without compromises, this seems like a well-made kit that adds some versatility to an already fantastic little grill. The fact that I can take it camping and barely take up any more room in the truck than the JJ alone is just icing on the cake. I'm going to do a couple cooks at home to see what it can handle in terms of charcoal capacity and temp management, but even if I have to do "hot & fast" cooks, it'll be worth it.
    22.5" WSM , Jumbo Joe , SS Performer , PartyQ and lots of

  2. #2
    TVWBB Super Fan Doug Selman's Avatar
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    Chad, when you get a chance how about some pictures. I might be interested in putting one together. Sometimes the Mini is a bit small when camp cooking for a crowd.
    Give a man a steak, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to BBQ, and he'll sit by the grill and drink beer all weekend!

  3. #3
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    Here it is all assembled next to my old 18.5" WSM:


    And this is the proximity of the tabs for the diffuser to the charcoal ring:


    And this is it all packed up and ready for transport:


    The strap that connects to the handle to make the lid holder prevents the JJ from sitting very stably on the ring, so I might remove that for traveling. Also, I was going to try drilling holes in the ring for thermometer probes, but when used in smoker configuration, I might just remove the handle and use those holes. I will say that the fit between the ring and the stock JJ parts is nice and snug, so it seems like this will make a pretty efficient setup.
    Last edited by ChadVKealey; 03-16-2017 at 05:05 PM.
    22.5" WSM , Jumbo Joe , SS Performer , PartyQ and lots of

  4. #4
    TVWBB Super Fan Doug Selman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pictures Chad. Looks like a nice compact size to take camping.
    Give a man a steak, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to BBQ, and he'll sit by the grill and drink beer all weekend!

  5. #5
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    Don't let the distance between charcoal and diffuser bother you I own one and it works as advertise. With the diffuser in place and a extra grill grate on the lower section and the top grate I did four 8lb pork butts no issues.
    Last edited by Garvin R; 03-30-2017 at 09:04 PM.
    A Silver turn to Gold, Gold,14.5 WSM, Jumbo Joe with a Cajun Bandit Stacker!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garvin R View Post
    Don't let the distance between charcoal and diffuser bother you I own one and it works as advertise. With the diffuser in place and a extra grill grate on the lower section and the top grate I did four 8lb pork butts no issues.
    Are you using it with a Jumbo Joe or an 18" kettle? I'm finding that both of my JJ lids are just a bit too tight on the top of the ring. I'm watching CL for an 18" kettle in hopes that it's a better fit and also trying to figure out a way to either stretch the lid or make up some kind of adapter so that the lid would sit inside the ring (like the lid on the WSM does).
    22.5" WSM , Jumbo Joe , SS Performer , PartyQ and lots of

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