What mods are worth the $$$

Andy Harrington

New member
Ive upgraded to a 22” wsm and an atc with it. Had the atc about six months and love it. The only other mod I’m doing at the moment is the arbor fab charcoal ring. Between the atc and the additional charcoal capacity I’m figuring I’m good for 20 plus hours with nothing more then stirring coals and water top off. Do the stainless steel doors make the smoker more efficient and in everyone’s opinion does it save enough fuel to justify the cost? What if any other mods does everyone recommend?
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Honor Circle
I think the door just for aesthetic reasons alone is a good purchase. I can't quantify how much more fuel you'd save. I doubt it would justify the cost. If your ATC is doing fine I don't think I'd go there for that reason. For me, without an ATC it made it a little easier to control my temps.
 

KToliver

TVWBB Fan
I'm expecting my door tomorrow, and I'll let you know how much tighter it fits, but I can see the cheesy aluminum stock door getting bent at some point and I just don't want to deal with it in the middle of a smoke. For that reason alone I wanted it.

But I also agree with the last response; who cares if the door leaks a little if you're using an ATC? If you buy it, buy it for the look and longevity.
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Wizard
It kinda sounds like cost is not the deciding factor based on what you're doing, lol. I upgraded my door for the sake of a more robust latch. One of my stock latches "fell apart" twice and, so, that's why I did the upgrade. Aside from peace of mind the new door was no better than my stock. And I'm sure countless others will attest to using their stock doors for 10 years without issue.
 

KToliver

TVWBB Fan
I'm expecting my door tomorrow, and I'll let you know how much tighter it fits, but I can see the cheesy aluminum stock door getting bent at some point and I just don't want to deal with it in the middle of a smoke. For that reason alone I wanted it.

But I also agree with the last response; who cares if the door leaks a little if you're using an ATC? If you buy it, buy it for the look and longevity.
So, I installed my new SS door this past weekend and am smoking my first pork butt today. The new door provides a significantly better seal around the edges; smoke escape from this area was reduced to pretty much zero versus the stock door which passed a pretty large amount when the smoker is first lit. Granted; this is not the normal state of affairs since once the smoker comes up to temp and the vent/exhaust draft is well established, the air leakage should be inward, not outward.

Nevertheless, I do expect superior temp control and reduced fuel use with the reduced leakage; I do not need to be concerned that leakage around the door is stoking my fire every time the wind kicks up. The SS door is very rigid versus the walls of the WSM; that square cutout in the WSM is subject to some flexing based on the wall thickness. The SS door literally flattens the edges of the cut opening in the WSM when you push it shut, eliminating that flex and providing a superior seal.

Glad I bought it.
 
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Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Honor Circle
I would point out that some people who have bought the cajun bandit door have still had issues with a leak due to a difference in curvature between the door and middle section. I actually had to bend my door slightly to make it work.
 

timothy

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I only modified my technique, and it's worked great for me with a stock WSM.
Totally agree, stock WSM's have served me well for 11yrs on the 18.5" and 7 yrs on the big boy, and they both have the cheesy aluminum door.
Only thing is I wired the charcoal grate to the ring on both and did the double grate mod ( I use lump)
Added wheels and handles on the 18.5" and that was worth it.
Means and methods are up to the individual, and as long as you think it's worth it... Go for it.:wsm:

Tim
 

MartinB

TVWBB Pro
I would point out that some people who have bought the cajun bandit door have still had issues with a leak due to a difference in curvature between the door and middle section. I actually had to bend my door slightly to make it work.
Bought one.....sold it immediately. Useless waste of $.

It grinds porcelain off bottom corners of door opening. Flexes wsm metal there and will crack finish, and still doesnt seal any better than a well cared for and adjusted aluminum door. The bend isnt deep an sharp enough at bottom.

Weber knew what they were doing with aluminum. Just dont step on it. The larger door on 22 might be more trouble than 18.

I dont even use my door. With extended coal ring and atc, dont need a door at all. It stays closed.

Handles are only other thing you need. Wheels only good on smooth surface. Maybe notch for wires.
 
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J Grotz

TVWBB Pro
I have a very early 22" with the square opening that I recently revived to remedy issues I've had from day one. I always fought temps, even with an ATC (old white box stoker). So I just installed a gasket kit, cajun bandit door, and unknownbbq hinge. I did a test cook after everything was installed and the difference was amazing. I set it at 250, then up to 350, then 400 and held it there for over an hour. Then I dropped it back to 250 and held it there for an hour. Finally, I closed off everything and the fire went out completely with left over coals ready for the next cook. Previously, I never once had left over coals; it's a night and day difference from before the gaskets and door. And that hinge is fantastic. All three mods are worth the money, time and effort, in my opinion.

I also replaced the dampers and lid thermometer (filled with water), bought new grates, and drilled a hole for the Weber probe grommet. I know most folks around here cut the rim for their probe wires, but I don't even own an angle grinder, let alone know how to use it, so grommet it is. Next mod is a set of handles. I'm also considering the cajun bandit charcoal basket and some form of wheels wheeled platform (because I would like the extra height).
 

KToliver

TVWBB Fan
I have a very early 22" with the square opening that I recently revived to remedy issues I've had from day one. I always fought temps, even with an ATC (old white box stoker). So I just installed a gasket kit, cajun bandit door, and unknownbbq hinge. I did a test cook after everything was installed and the difference was amazing. I set it at 250, then up to 350, then 400 and held it there for over an hour. Then I dropped it back to 250 and held it there for an hour. Finally, I closed off everything and the fire went out completely with left over coals ready for the next cook. Previously, I never once had left over coals; it's a night and day difference from before the gaskets and door. And that hinge is fantastic. All three mods are worth the money, time and effort, in my opinion.

I also replaced the dampers and lid thermometer (filled with water), bought new grates, and drilled a hole for the Weber probe grommet. I know most folks around here cut the rim for their probe wires, but I don't even own an angle grinder, let alone know how to use it, so grommet it is. Next mod is a set of handles. I'm also considering the cajun bandit charcoal basket and some form of wheels wheeled platform (because I would like the extra height).
I'm telling you, I love my Cajun Bandit SS door. I cooked 8 hours yesterday on 2/3 fire ring of coal in my WSM 18.5. Shut all the vents right after and have a lot of charcoal left over this morning for next time. That one item alone really helps stop the air infiltration.
 

JusHooks

New member
I think the most important one is wheels. I did the Cajun bandit door, coal ring, and casters and a TT BQ300 on my 22”. Love all the mods so far.
 

Lew

TVWBB All-Star
I never needed a mod except for my old 19.5" which didn't come with a dome thermometer - I added one. Fiddled around with an empty water pan and a clay pot base in the water pan (both foiled) and that worked well. Finally added a Hunsaker Vortex Basket and took out the water pan, and that's what I'm using now. Added just the Hunsaker Vortex Plate to my bil's 22" and took out the water pan - that works great.
 

J Grotz

TVWBB Pro
I was looking at amazingribs.com today. Meathead gives the WSM 18 a platinum medal, but the WSM 22 only gets a silver. The reason? The 22 straight out of the box leaks like a sieve and he could not get the temps down below 275.

"The door leaks smoke and lets in oxygen, making it hard to shut down the supply of oxygen and kill the coals. We bent ours slightly to make it fit better, but wondered how Weber could craft the door so poorly after crafting the other parts so well. ... On the other hand, it is hard to get temp down below 275F on the 22.5 incher."

https://amazingribs.com/grill-smoker-combination-grill-smoker/weber-smokey-mountain-cooker-smoker-22-review

I'm amazed how much better my 22 cooks after installing the CB door and a gasket kit. I bet if Meathead re-tested a 22 with those two mods, it would rate a platinum medal.
 

Jeff Boudman

TVWBB Pro
I modified the grill straps when I first got my 18.5 almost 10 years ago to keep the top cooking grate from falling through. That worked fine when I was cooking a single butt or ribs. However, the grate was unstable when I was cooking 2 or 3 butts. Also, the grate was getting more difficult to clean over time.
I bought Killa Grilla grates and I couldn’t be happier. They’re slightly larger and 3 times as heavy as the Weber grates. It might be overkill, but it gives me peace of mind and they clean up like new.
 

Mark Twelve

TVWBB Member
For me

1: Hinge
2: I did buy a CB door - I like it, but agree that is shape does not fit as good as you would think. (you have to bend it)
3: Gasket (Lid and door).
4: Mobility - I put some latches to lock down the Center Section to the bottom. Attached to bottom to triangle frame and added wheels. I can move the whole thing like a furniture dolly as I keep my WSM in the garage.
5. Hunsaker Hanger
6. I do have a CB charcoal ring. But its flimsy and riveted instead of welded. (there are better options out there)
 

Mark Twelve

TVWBB Member
I modified the grill straps when I first got my 18.5 almost 10 years ago to keep the top cooking grate from falling through. That worked fine when I was cooking a single butt or ribs. However, the grate was unstable when I was cooking 2 or 3 butts. Also, the grate was getting more difficult to clean over time.
I bought Killa Grilla grates and I couldn’t be happier. They’re slightly larger and 3 times as heavy as the Weber grates. It might be overkill, but it gives me peace of mind and they clean up like new.
Darn I just bought a grate for my performer. I knew about Killa Grilla grates but then I forgot about them. LOL sucks being old.
 

Geo S

TVWBB Fan
My 22 is basically stock, just a probe notch, the door with a few tweaks fits good enough and will shut down with all vents closed.
That said, a dome hinge would be really handy, I have one but havent installed it yet, I have a Gateway hanger that works good when I want to hang ribs or bacon, but thats just an accessory, and a Hunsaker basket and "baffle"? thats built like a tank but isn't necessary...but the smoker itself works fine "as is"
 

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