Note: This modification applies to WSMs manufactured prior to 2014. Starting in 2014, WSM bottom grates come with integrated handles.
Some people like to add handles to the bottom cooking grate to make it easier to remove during or after cooking. Here are a few examples from WSM owners.
John Ford of Decatur, Alabama wanted an easier way to remove the bottom cooking grate from his Weber Bullet after cooking, and handles seemed like just the ticket.
“I purchased about 3 feet of #4 copper ground wire at Home Depot and formed it into two U’s about 5″ tall and 4″ wide,” says John. “I bent 1” hooks on each end and attached to the sides of the bottom cooking grate by squeezing each hook together.
“This allows me to reach in (using welding gloves, of course) and just lift the grate with pork butts on it right out of the cooker.”
Stainless Steel “U” Bolts
Frank H. from the Boston suburbs used stainless steel “U” bolts, flat washers, and nuts to fashion handles for his bottom cooking grate.
“I read a few posts on various BBQ forums and came up with these stainless steel “U” bolts that fasten easily on the grate and make dandy handles,” says Frank. “You still need your welding gloves, but at least you’ve got something to get ahold of! This was easy and cost under 10 bucks.”
If you have a friend with welding skills, you can weld handles onto each side of the bottom cooking grate. That’s what Bill Hays from Western New York did with the help of his bulletin board friend/welder Bryan S.
Bill says, “Two handles made from 1/4″ steel rod, bent 4″ high by 4″ wide, welded to the outermost rungs of the lower cooking grate. This mod also allows you to add a second lower cooking grate by using soup cans or similar at 90° for stability of the added grate.”
Photo of wire handles: 2002 by John Ford
Photo of welded handles: 2004 by Bill Hays
Photos of “U” bolt handles: 2012 by Frank H