The Piedmont Pan
In April 2006, Mike Willsey from South Carolina posted a message on
The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board about something he created called
the Piedmont Pan. It's two Brinkmann charcoal pans screwed together with
an air space in between.
The bottom pan deflects the heat from the fire
below, creating the normal, indirect cooking environment in the Weber Bullet. The
air space between the two pans prevents the top pan from getting too
- If using the top pan empty, the fat that drips into the pan won't
- If using water in the top pan, it will not evaporate as
usual, but you also get less temperature control "insurance" as a
- If using sand in
the top pan, you won't get as much radiant heat on the meat cooking
on the bottom cooking grate
Most people use the
Piedmont Pan empty—no water or sand in the top pan. Most will line the
top pan with two layers of aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Others put
balls of aluminum foil in the top pan followed by two layers of aluminum
foil for easy cleanup. The foil balls are said to create another
insulating air space.
Although I'm not a big
advocate of the Piedmont Pan, it is a popular project for many WSM
owners, so that's why it's featured in this article.
To learn more about the
purpose of the water pan and variations when using it, see
Using A Water Pan In The WSM. For other
water pan mods, see Water Pan Modifications.
always...click on any of the pictures to
view a larger image.
Purchase The Hardware
You'll need the
following hardware for this project:
- 2 Brinkmann charcoal
- 3 1/4"-20 x 1-1/4"
long round head machine screws
- 6 1/4" flat
- 9 1/4"-20 hex nuts
- 3 1/4"-20 wing
The Brinkmann charcoal
pans can be ordered from Brinkmann at 800-468-5252
or from the
Brinkmann website. The part number
is 114-0002-0. The pans are also available at stores and online
retailers that sell Brinkmann smoker replacement parts. As shown in
Picture 2, retailers sometimes sell the pan as part number 812-0002-0
and UPC code 39953-10191.
The price of each pan
is $4 to $14 depending on where you purchase it.
Do not purchase Brinkmann water pans by mistake! The water pans are
too small to hang from the grill strips inside the Weber Bullet.
The screws, nuts,
washers, and wing nuts don't have to be any special material. I paid
less than $3 for the parts shown here.
Drill The Alignment
Insert one bowl inside
the other and clamp them together in preparation for drilling holes.
Using a very small
metal drill bit, drill an alignment hole through the rim of the bowls.
These holes act as witness marks to help you realign the bowls in the
event you take them apart for cleaning.
Drill Three Holes To
Accept The Screws
With the bowls still
clamped together, and using a 1/4" metal drill bit, drill three holes in
the center of the rim—one hole at the 12 o'clock position, one at the 4
o'clock position, and one at the 8 o'clock position.
Remove the clamps,
separate the two bowls, and remove any sharp burrs around the holes.
Picture 2 shows how the
bowls look after drilling the holes.
Install The Fastening
Insert a screw and a
washer through the top of one of the bowls (Picture 1).
Flip the bowl over and
put three hex nuts on the screw, tightening each as you put it on
Repeat these steps for
the remaining two holes.
Using the alignment holes to
ensure the bowls are lined up properly, place the second bowl over the
Put a washer and wing
nut on each screw and hand tighten (Picture 3).
The Finished Project
Here's how the Piedmont
Pan looks after assembly. The wing nuts allow for easy disassembly for
washing, if necessary.
As shown in Picture 2,
the Piedmont Pan sits just fine on the grill straps inside the WSM and
does not interfere with the position of the bottom cooking grate.
But What About...
- Using stainless
steel hardware: If you want to pay the higher price, feel free to do
- Using four screws
instead of three: My hardware came in little bags of three screws,
three hex nuts, etc., so that's why I used three. Three is plenty
strong, but four would be just fine, too.
- Using two hex nuts
instead of three: Three hex nuts provides the maximum amount of air
space between the two bowls without interfering with the position of the
bottom cooking grate. Two hex nuts will work fine, too.
- Using copper tubing
as spacers: In the original instructions posted by Mike Willsey, he
used 3/4" pieces of copper tubing as spacers instead of hex nuts. Don't
bother using copper...hex nuts are cheaper and easier.
- Using a Brinkmann
charcoal pan and a WSM water pan: If you already own a Brinkmann
charcoal pan that you use instead of the stock WSM water pan because of
its larger water capacity and
more stable fit inside the WSM, I'm told you can use the WSM water pan
as the top pan in the Piedmont Pan configuration. You may have to drill
the holes a bit differently, and the length of screws and the number of
hex nuts used may be different.
Alternatives To The
together a Piedmont Pan is easy and inexpensive, but if you're not ready
to take the plunge just yet, or you're not convinced it's right for you,
try doing one of the following with the stock WSM water pan:
- Suspend a single
sheet of wide, heavy-duty aluminum foil inside the pan without
letting it touch the bottom. When cooking something like a turkey
that doesn't render more than a cup or two of drippings, this method
works just fine and the drippings will not burn.
- Place crumpled
balls of aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan, then cover with two
sheets of wide, heavy-duty aluminum foil. The top sheet of foil
catches the drippings and is discarded after use. The foil balls create the air space needed to keep the drippings from
burning. They also help support the weight of the drippings in the
foil above, which may be important if cooking six pork butts that
give off a lot of drippings.
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