Modified Weber Smokey Joe (Mini Weber Bullet)

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:

Awwww. It’s cute.

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.

Like a glove.

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.

The dremel took a long-ass time. I think tin snips with a drilled starter hole might be faster.

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.

Overhead view of the deal (heat shield/sink unwrapped).

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.

Not cool, Weber engineers.

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:

BSP-free can, so I don’t turn into an asexual fish.

Four little gun-turret looking cut-outs.

F U, ash!

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.

It’s aliiiiiive! I shall call him SMOKE2D2.

I welcome any comments or suggestions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can link here to see my subsequent, simple charcoal ring modification.


16 thoughts on “Modified Weber Smokey Joe (Mini Weber Bullet)

  1. You are a great man. I’m pretty sure your smoker could beat up my smoker though. I am still embarressed by my auto fed pellet smoker. Still feels artificial. But let’s not forget that simply having a smoker pretty much makes us better than everyone else who doesn’t have one. Including Mother Teresa who to my knowledge, never had a smoker.

    • Thanks, Justin. I would like to think that if Mother Teresa did have a smoker, it would be something more ascetic like mine. In any case, it’s nice to feel superior to Mother Teresa. And be not ashamed of that magnificent beast of yours. Smoke meats in great quantities, with your chin held high.

    • A little creepy. But if he really said, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side.” Then he is OK in my book…and should possibly be the Patron Saint of deathbed one-liners (way better than Oscar Wilde bitching about the wallpaper).

  2. At first I felt cheated that the first pic wasn’t your grill, but then you go right away and redeem yourself. Pretty good work my friend. But what did you drink when building this?

    • Thanks. Though, I think most us feel at least a little cheated that Justin’s grill isn’t ours.

      And I forgot for a second I was a beer AND BBQ blog. I will have to take note next time I am handling power tools which beverage guided my way. 🙂

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    • Alas, we’re in VA…probably one of the last States that will legalize…oh. Wait. You were talking about BBQ. The season is upon us. I am going to try to do more Beer and BBQ pairings this summer. Also, I may be handing out a Beerbecue Seal of Approval to good pairings (complete with a seal and everything). No doubt the beer industry will be scrambling for that honor.

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  5. Hi, love your smoker mods, well done. I am wondering how the smoke gets up through the terracotta floor in the modified large pot. You also mention a second 18″ grate .. is that for multi levels in the smoking chamber? Many thanks.

    • Thanks. The terracotta floor is suspended by the lowest set of bolts/screws above the hole that your cut in the pot and is slightly narrower than the diameter of the pot. And yes, the extra grates are for multiple levels. I think I would have drilled for three levels (plus the terra cotta floor suspension) instead of just two if I had it to do over again.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

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