Ever wanted a place to set your tongs, gloves, and probe thermometer while barbecuing on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker? Here are some DIY projects for adding a work surface to your cooker.
As always...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.
Weber 7413 Work Table
The Weber 7413 Work Table is not designed for use with the Weber Bullet. The hooks are designed to snap tight over the edge of an 18.5" or 22.5" Weber kettle grill, but they won't on the WSM, as you can see in Photo 4. However, if you're extremely careful in how you place and remove the lid, and if you are careful to not bump the table during use, it is workable. If you're handy, you can modify the hooks so they attach more securely to the cooker.
Despite the drawbacks, this is a handsome work table. The sturdy plastic surface is easy to clean, and three tool hooks are provided. The table breaks down quickly for storage.
Weber 1800 Work Table
The first time I saw this work table was at the 1999 West Coast Barbecue Championship in Santa Cruz, CA. Tom Brohamer of BBQ'n Fools adapted it to his Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. I liked the idea so much that I tried it myself—twice—as shown below.
The Weber 1800 Work Table is designed for use with 18.5" Weber kettle grills. It is not meant to be used with the Smokey Mountain Cooker, but with a few modifications it can be installed successfully on a WSM and is quite functional. It provides a light duty work surface on which you can place tongs, gloves, or a probe thermometer.
The work table kit consists of a rock maple work surface, a metal support bracket, a tubular metal brace, and some fastening hardware. The work surface is removable and doubles as a cutting board, with no-skid rubber feet for stability and a channel to catch meat juices.
Installation Method #1: The Easy Way
The easiest way to install the work table is shown here. The support bracket slips over the edge of the middle cooking section (Photo 7) and the tubular brace runs diagonally from the support bracket to one of the legs on the charcoal bowl (Photo 8). The hardware pack included in the kit is used to make all the necessary connections. The work table can be installed or removed in about two minutes using a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench.
There are a couple of issues with this installation that you should be aware of:
Installation Method #2: A Better Way
A better, but more complicated, approach is the one I used on The Little Red Bullet project, shown in Photo 9. The advantages of this method are that:
The first step is to attach some mounting hardware to the middle cooking section. I used a fastener called a turn button. It has a spring-loaded head that turns 90° to lock down whatever is placed over the head. You can find this fastener at most hardware and marine supply stores. The turn button is attached with two stainless steel screws, washers and nuts near the bottom edge of the middle cooking section (Photo 14). Two small holes must be drilled in the middle section so the fastener can be attached.
Next, the tubular brace is modified and a new type of connection is formed between the brace and the support bracket. I shortened the brace and made an oval-shaped hole in one end to fit over the turn button. On the other end I created a fork and a hole. As shown in Photo 15, the fork slides under a screw that I mounted in the flange, then a cotterless hitch pin is inserted through holes in each piece to lock them together.
The last step is to add a shock cord to keep the cutting board and support bracket tightly connected to the cooker. I added an eye bolt to the bottom of the tubular brace (Photo 16) and D-rings to the bottom side of the cutting board (Photo 17). A short shock cord passes through the eye bolt and connects to the D-rings, helping to stabilize the whole assembly.
To attach the work table to the cooker, simply connect the brace to the support bracket using the hitch pin, hang the bracket from the edge of the cooking section and fasten the other end of the brace to the turn button. Put the cutting board in place and attach the shock cord to the D-rings. To remove the work table, just reverse these steps.
The total cost of this installation is about $50 including the work table kit and connecting hardware.
There are several things you should understand before attempting any of these Weber kettle work table conversions for the WSM:
More Work Table Projects
Here are some photos sent in by TVWB readers showing how they've installed work tables on their Weber Smokey Mountain Cookers.
Another Weber 1800 Work Table Installation
Tom Point from Houston, TX shares his installation of a Weber 1800 Work Table on an 18.5" WSM (Photos 18-21). "I took your idea and altered it some," says Tom. "It appears that Weber no longer makes this table, but if someone already has one and wants to make it a lot more sturdy they could try this. You can also pickup the center section without removing the table."
Tom's installation hangs the work table from two brackets installed just under the lip of the middle cooking section. The tubular brace is fastened near the bottom edge of the middle cooking section with a screw and wing nut.
Middle Cooking Section Handles/Work Table Modification
Brian Moriarty from Bothell, WA posted this elegant modification on The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board (Photos 22-27). He mounted Genie garage door handles on the middle cooking section, then used them to support two work tables.
Brian writes, "The tables are made of ipe decking, fastened to pieces of U-shaped aluminum channel with wood screws. On the two corners of each table are 5/16" T-nuts. I screwed a threaded rod into each T-nut until it was flush with the table top, then tightened a stop nut underneath into the aluminum channel.
"The tables are not meant to be a permanent addition—they simply slide in and out of the handles—nor are they intended to hold anything more than a thermometer, tongs, gloves, or maybe a spray bottle. The Weber cover still fits over the handles. Some folks have suggested a fold-down leg, but I'll leave that for someone else!"
M.P. Lyons from Fishers, IN took inspriation from Brian Moriarty's table design and came up with a version that includes a storage bin for smoke wood chunks (Photos 28-29). To prevent the table from tipping due to the weight of the drawer and its contents, Lyons mounted the table under the lip of the middle cooking section instead of flush with the lip. "I also beefed-up the size of the carriage bolts (that run through the garage door handles) to eliminate any wiggle," said Lyons.
The table includes a curved extension at the end with hooks for barbecue tools.
WSM Metal Workstation
Bill Small from Virginia posted this metalworking project on The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board.
Bill writes, "It took me a couple of days to weld this, but I finally got it done. It's 48" wide, 36" high, and 24" deep. The side tables are 28" above the base and measure 12" x 24"."
Photos of Weber 1800 Work Table installation: 2012 by Tom Point.
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