a friend recently bought a weber smokey mountain cooker and i offered to describe the mods I had made to mine over the 9 years i have owned it. a couple of other friends chimed in with questions so i decided a blog post was warranted! so gilfer, here are the mods.
firstly i fitted castors to the feet so i could wheel it around, a simple and practical mod.
the next thing i found was that too much charcoal fell thru the grate. i harvest my own charcoal in the bush and its probably a bit smaller in chunks than what the store bought stuff was. i got hold of some 10mm square stainless steel mesh and used stainless tie wire to fix it to the bottom of the fire box.
i also made a divider which creates a hot area a bit over half of the firebox, and a cool zone a bit less than half. i also find this lets me run a lower temp when smoking, which particularly with fish is better. its just a drop in piece so i can remove it if i want the firebox full. grilling meat its better with the cool zone, i can move stuff on and off the full heat as required.
I also wanted to raise the fire box higher so that I could char grill steak and vegies etc properly on a cast iron grill, i just used some chunks of paver bricks and have never done anything more sophisticated!
the firebox sits on top of them and then i put the cast iron grill on top,
this one i got from the US, but they no longer ship to australia, as you can see its nearly at the end of its life! i found a replacement one at bbq’s galore,
here is the packaging, its to suit an 18″ kamado joe.
i also made a stainless steel wire mesh which i use for smoking fish and grilling smaller items like prawns,
recently I also replaced the thermometer, the standard ones are not very accurate, for smoking in particular this is critical, these tel-tru ones from the US are the bomb, you can order them here, http://radarhillsmokers.com.au
finally, a couple of people have asked me what i smoke with, i now exclusively use paperbark, we have a large tree in the backyard and the flavour is amazing, i soak ‘balls’ of scrunched up bark in a bucket of water and put them on the coals, if the temp starts to run away from me i lay sheets over the top of the firebox to control it.
happy roasting peeps, i hope the smokey mountain cooker gives you as much joy as mine has over the 9 years – and a constant stream of amazing food. we are about to tuck into roo topside steaks and field mushrooms i have just grilled on ours!