The Warhead

DuncanW

New member
Hey all, I wanted to post up a rack system I built last summer to take advantage of the extra space provided by the Cajun Bandit extension ring. Looking at TVWB modifications page, it looks like some similar things have been done previously.

First, the inspiration for the build:
therock.jpg

So three racks is great, but I love bone-in-skin-on chicken thighs....and nothing is better than BISO thighs on the WSM. Biggest problem is there isn't enough space to cook a ton of them! So I went to Amazon and bought:

(6) Weber #7431 cooking grates
(1) Weber #7432 cooking grate with handles....you know....the one that comes with your smoker
1/4" stainless steel threaded rod, fender washers, split washers, and nuts

After a couple of hours of measuring, cutting, leveling, and tightening I arrived at my finished product!
warhead.JPG

Ain't she beautiful? Well, it works well. Gets good air flow top to bottom, and puts out some damn fine BISO things! Problem solved! 7 racks of WSM goodness!
 
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Tony-Chicago

TVWBB Super Fan
Ooh. Give me ideas. Uh oh. Need pics of cooking too. How many can fit? I need/want this. Assuming the smaller on top and the 18 stay in the top cover area. great
 

DuncanW

New member
Ooh. Give me ideas. Uh oh. Need pics of cooking too. How many can fit? I need/want this. Assuming the smaller on top and the 18 stay in the top cover area. great
I'll see what I can find for pictures, I switched phones since then so I'll need to go back and look. I haven't cooked on the Warhead since last fall. My wife took a great video of me unloading it at the end of a wings cook, lots of sizzle!

I chose the 15" grates for 2 reasons. First, when I drop the Warhead in the 15" grates won't hit the rack hangers. Second, as you said, the 15" top grate is to allow the lid of the WSM to fit comfortably.

As far as how many can fit, I measured the vertical space I had and put in as many as I could based on 3" spacing. I didn't want to do less than 3" to make sure there was proper airflow around the meat.
 

Jim C in Denver

TVWBB Super Fan
Duncan -- like you, I like to use my WSM for high volume BISO chicken cooks -- most often wings.

So I'm curious what your method is for doing such high volume and still getting good results?

I do 15 pounds of wings on 4-5 racks at one time in my 18.5. I smoke/roast (without turning) at like 275-300 (empty pan or no pan) to get the wings mostly cooked and most of the fat rendered. Then I crisp on my gas grill or by putting each rack down on the charcoal ring. Works OK but I'm interested if there's a better method.
 

DuncanW

New member
Duncan -- like you, I like to use my WSM for high volume BISO chicken cooks -- most often wings.

So I'm curious what your method is for doing such high volume and still getting good results?

I do 15 pounds of wings on 4-5 racks at one time in my 18.5. I smoke/roast (without turning) at like 275-300 (empty pan or no pan) to get the wings mostly cooked and most of the fat rendered. Then I crisp on my gas grill or by putting each rack down on the charcoal ring. Works OK but I'm interested if there's a better method.
Hi Jim, I'm shooting for 325 for pretty much all things poultry, the only time I go lower is for whole bird. I use an empty pan and the minion method, although to get it hot enough I go for a full chimney of lit coals to kick it off (we're here for a good time, not for a long time.) I'm finding that most of the chicken comes out ready to eat with nicely browned skin. Sometimes (operator error) I have to finish some of the pieces on the grill, but that's usually if I have it packed too tightly. I think the key is having a solid 1.5-2" of air gap between pieces to maintain an even airflow. Also, I don't bother running my temperature controller for this type of cook. Just crank it up, get to a stable temp for 30-40 minutes, the load the Warhead as quick as humanly possible to maintain that cooker temperature.

I have not tried it with no pan, but I should. I expect the drippings off the coals would bring something extra to the party. Right now the bottom rack of my Warhead sits about 2" above the lower grate position, so that should certainly be enough distance from the coals to keep from scorching the bottom rack. That said, I do like the dry pan to divert the air flow up the sides of the cooker....I think....though thermodynamics was never really my strong suit :)

I haven't done a cook with this thing since the Fall. Holidays are for big birds and then I kicked off an...unplanned...bathroom renovation about mid-January that took me a couple of months. Now of course we're limiting the number of people we're in contact with so cooking 15-20 pounds of BISO chicken is a bit of a waste. Leftover BISO chicken may be one of the more depressing things I've encountered in my 37 years.
 

Jim C in Denver

TVWBB Super Fan
"I think the key is having a solid 1.5-2" of air gap between pieces to maintain an even airflow."

This is likely why I have to do two steps. For a big party, I'm trying to cram as many wings on the 4-5 grates as physically possible. If only I had a stacker ring and seven (!!) racks to work with....

I'm still tinkering with empty pan vs. no pan (which opens up more rack space). If no pan turns out to be too much flame to the lowest racks, my next try would be a difuser plate (like a FireDial) set on top of the charcoal ring. That might allow another rack (or two) without the need for the stacker ring.

What exact grate do you use for the lower racks? I can't seem to find a 15 inch grate. Did you mean #7431 (14 inch)?
 

DuncanW

New member
This is likely why I have to do two steps. For a big party, I'm trying to cram as many wings on the 4-5 grates as physically possible. If only I had a stacker ring and seven (!!) racks to work with....
If I were doing wings only, I'd probably build with less spacing for more grates, you could probably get by with 2.25" and have 8 or 9 racks. Maybe I'll build a second one :)

I'm still tinkering with empty pan vs. no pan (which opens up more rack space). If no pan turns out to be too much flame to the lowest racks, my next try would be a difuser plate (like a FireDial) set on top of the charcoal ring. That might allow another rack (or two) without the need for the stacker ring.
Good point, I think a bit more experimenting will let me know if I want to add a diffuser plate. I'm going to give it a try with no pan first and see how it goes.

What exact grate do you use for the lower racks? I can't seem to find a 15 inch grate. Did you mean #7431 (14 inch)?
You are correct. I thought I remembered them being a 15" grate, but I just went back and checked my Amazon order and they are indeed the #7431, going to edit my original post, thanks!
 

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