Editor's Note: This modification applies only to 18-1/2" WSMs.
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 hot.
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 proponent of the Piedmont Pan, it is a popular project for many WSM owners, so that's why I'm sharing it with you in this article.
As always...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.
Purchase The Hardware
You'll need the following hardware for this project:
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 Photo 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.
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 Hole
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, use a 1/4" metal bit to 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.
Photo 5 shows how the bowls look after drilling the holes.
Install The Fastening Hardware
Insert a screw and a washer through the top of one of the bowls (Photo 6).
Flip the bowl over and put three hex nuts on the screw, tightening each as you put it on (Photo 7). 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 screws.
Put a washer and wing nut on each screw and hand tighten (Photo 8).
The Finished Project
Here's how the Piedmont Pan looks after assembly. The wing nuts allow for easy disassembly for washing, when needed.
As shown in Photo 10, 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...
Alternatives To The Piedmont Pan
Putting 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: