Lately, a couple friends have been posting pics of their new smoking equipment. So, I thought I would share my set-up, and its recent modifications. Of course, my set-up is not this from outbehindthewoodshed; nor is it like my friend’s automated, wood-pellet-fed Traeger.
But my set-up does store easily in a 900 sq.ft. condo. And it’s modular, so I can use it for regular high-heat grilling or low-and-slow smoking. So suck it, show-offs.
First I took a regular little Smokey Joe Silver:
Then I got a 32-quart IMUSA tamale steamer from Wally World (which I very romantically requested from the Haybag as an anniversary present). IMPORTANT: The one made in China fits, and the Colombia-made one does not. Presumably, the Colombian specs are modified to better accomodate bricks of cocaine.
Then, I drilled four holes near the bottom of the pot to place the screws that suspend a 12″ terra cotta plate that acts as heat sink/heat shield. I used four #8-32 1 1/4 screws, with nuts and washers. Note location of screws in pics above and below.
Next, you can drill holes for a bottom cooking rack, or just rest the bottom rack on top of the heat sink/shield. I rest it on top of the lip for tamale pot’s false bottom. What you do will likely depend on your placement of the heat sink/heat shield screws.
Then I drilled holes for a second cooking level. Note placement in above pic. I am sure you could fit 3 levels total if you were so inclined.
Then I cut the bottom out of the tamale pot. Make sure to not cut so close to the outer edge that it compromises the strength of the pot.
Then I installed the heat shield/sink: A 12-inch, unglazed, terra cotta saucer. Each time I smoke, I wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil. Actually, I found that because I placed my heat shield/sink so low, I have to wrap the bottom of the saucer with a big heavy-duty foil drip pan, and the top with foil.
Then, I installed the racks. I used the Smokey Joe’s old cooking grate and bought one replacement charcoal grate for an 18″ Weber kettle grill.
I typically use the Minion Method, which works well on this setup (as it is basically a mini Weber Smokey Mountain). The only problem I have run into is that the Smokey Joe bottom vent gets clogged easily.
Even with lower ash producing lump charcoal, after a couple hours this mother requires regular clearing (by poking a skewer up through the bottom). So, I got out the dremel again and did this:
Then you are ready to roll. I drilled a small hole in the side of the tamale pot for an instant read thermometer. I also use a remote dual readout thermometer that my Moms got me for my B-day.
I welcome any comments or suggestions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: You can link here to see my subsequent, simple charcoal ring modification.