I had one of these mini Weber grills sitting around taking up space for years. I think originally it was a free thing I picked up from a friend. I used it once or twice and then it sat in my shed until my friend Dean modified his. And it's an awesome mod. So I'm recreating it here.
If you're using brickets, stop. If you're using lighter fluid, stop. Even if you don't do this crazy mod, buy a charcoal chimney and start using natural lump charcoal that pretty easy to find anymore. Lights quickly (with just one sheet of newspaper) and burns super hot. A bonus is that if you're just making a small meal it reduces the amount of charcoal you'll need to use by concentrating the heat.
Step 1: Needs
You will need:
--An old Weber Smoky Joe grill (or equivalent)
--A charcoal chimney
--Metal cutting saw
--Welder (optional, but very nice to have)
Step 2: Getting to It
You'll want to remove all of the grates in the grill and detach the legs (save them, they'll be reused).
Turn the base of the grill upside down and put the charcoal chimney on it. Outline it with a marker.
Use a spring loaded punch to make the mark for drilling . . . using a punch gives the drill bit something to grab onto and work it's way in to the otherwise smooth metal.
USE EYE PROTECTION. The baked on coating (probably some sort of porcelain) will fly everywhere.
Once you've made your hole poke a metal blade through it and saw it out. Cut on the inside of the line you made because you'll want the joint tight. My friend Dean used a torch to cut his out.
Use a grinder of some sort to fine tune the size of the hole.
Step 3: Attachment
You don't really need to weld this. If you slowly take your time shaping the hole you can get a very tight fit. The plus side of this is that you can remove it for easier storage. I didn't care about this so I welded it.
I used the grinder to clean up the metal and then let it have some amps. Got a good ugly weld . . . hey, I'm not pro welder. All I really did was tack the two parts together.
Step 4: Legs
Evenly space out the legs around the charcoal chimney.
Use your punch and drill out the holes.
Attach the legs, bending them into shape as necessary.
The grill stands well without using the legs, but the legs add a layer of protection. If you're cooking something big the grill could potentially tip over. This prevents that from happening.
Put your grill back together and marvel at it. Simple, yet deadly.
Step 5: Fire It Up
Load up the chimney.
Put one sheet of newspaper beneath it.
Light it up. And in about 15 minutes . . .
Step 6: You're Ready to Rock
Feel free to throw in some hardwood for a smokey flavor in your food. You can do this by adding it straight to the charcoal or sitting it on top of the small grate at the bottom of the grill.
When the coals look as hot as the fires of Hades put your grill grates in and cover with the lid. Let it pre-heat until it's as hot as you dare let it get. This one got to 400F after 3 minutes of being covered. The highest the cheap thermometer registered was 650F. Pretty damn hot. If you're looking for some super searing heat, then grill directly on the lower grate. This will give you "black and blue" pretty fast.
Now go out there and make some stuff. And try not to burn anything down that you don't want burned down.