Building the Perfect Cyclone Tailgate Smoker

So Saturday starts a new season and while the Clones look to improve on an abysmal 2014, I am looking to take my tailgating to the next level. I’m a huge fan of smoked meat and want to bring some of that deliciousness to our tailgate this season. My issue has always been, do I really want to lug my smoker to and from the house to the game? It’s a pain the ass because it’s heavy as hell, awkward, greasy, and really just a mess. Kind of like our O-Coordinator. I know, I know same team man, not cool.

But with a 7pm start and ample time to get my smoke on, this was the season I had to finally get my tailgating smoker. So I decided to do a little DIY and make my own Cyclone Smoker. I’m not a big handy man, but Google knows everything and pointed me to a few message boards that have ample directions. So below is my documentation of my Cyclone Weber Smokey Mountain Mini.

Supplies I used:

  • Weber Smokey Joe Gold Grill
  • 32 Qt Pot
  • Extra Weber Cooking Grates
  • BBQ Thermometer. I got the Big Green Egg Thermometer because it’s accurate and I get sick and tired of shitty thermometers. It’s pretty expensive though and probably not necessary.
  • (12) - 1/4" X 3/4" inch stainless steel bolts
  • (13) - 1/4" stainless steel washers
  • (12) - 1/4"stainless steel hex nuts
  • (4) – Stainless Steel Bolt Caps
  • 10 inch Terra Cotta Pot (Heat Diffuser)
  • 1 can of high heat automotive Enamel Primer Paint
  • 1 can of high heat automotive Enamel Paint
  • 1 can of high heat automotive Enamel Clear Gloss
  • Die Cast Decals
  • Tin Snips
  • Power Drill
  • Painters Tape
  • Metal File

So I started by buying a Smokey Joe Gold from Ace Hardware and a Tamale Steamer from a Hispanic Supermarket. Most places recommended a 32 qt IMUSA pot, but IMUSA’s are pretty hard to get your hands on these days. So the Smokey Joe and Mi Pueblo are my starting points. There is some debate online about whether you need a Smokey Joe Gold or if a Silver will work. Silver is 10 dollars cheaper, the vents are on the bottom. On long smokes those vents can clog up from the ash. You can make a vent cover, but I decided to go with the Gold which has the vents higher up on the side.

Mi Pueblo!

The bottom of the pot didn’t fit snug with the Smokey Joe and would have leaked smoke and heat, but by flipping the lid of the pot upside down it provides a decent base. So the lid will be the base and pot fits well inside that lid. Kind of confusing, but you’ll be able to see it below. I used the Terra Cotta pot to outline the hole. Using a drill bit to start the hole, I used the tin snips to cut the rest and used a metal file to smooth it out.

Cut a hole in the lid

Cut a hole in the pot

Attached the lid to the pot. That provides a nice base for the grill.

Now it’s time to drill the holes that provide support to the grates. I got lazy and forgot to take a lot of pictures of this process, but below is a picture. I used the painters tape to get a smoother drilled hole, as well as, giving me a better base to mark where I wanted to drill. I drilled the holes 4 inches down from the lip. Most message boards said use three screws per grate, but I used 4. Just personal preference. I also drilled a small hole to insert the thermometer on the side. You can’t see it from the picture, but you need somewhere to set your diffuser. So I cut the extra grate so it can fit through the steamer insert (Lip towards the bottom of the pot). The terra cotta pot will sit on that grate and serve as my heat diffuser.

Ready for Decals and Paint

I didn’t do a good job of documenting the paint process so you’ll have to use your imagination. I used the painters tape to wrap the handles as well as the lip of the pot. I used a garbage bag taped inside the pot to assure no paint gets inside. I bought the two vinyl decals off Ebay. Once I got the decals on the pot, I applied 3 coats of primer 10 minutes between each coat. Waited an hour then applied 3 black coats and let it dry overnight. In the morning, I carefully removed the decal while doing my best not to pull up any paint with it. There are a few places where the paint came off, but it was pretty minor. Lastly, I applied three coats of clear gloss paint to make it shine.


I’m pretty happy with it. This guy will be up and smoking early Saturday in G7.

Morning Menu:

Breakfast Fatty

Pizza Fatty

Afternoon Menu:

Atomic Buffalo Turds

Evening Menu:


Go CLONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FanPosts are written by members of the WRNL community, not the WRNL staff. Any opinions expressed in this FanPost are the author's only.