New here.

Discussion in 'WSM Owners (Weber Smokey Mountain)' started by tonybel, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. tonybel

    tonybel Smoking Fanatic

    Hello my name is Tony. Been grilling and smoking for about 6 years. I only have webers except for a gas grill I own. Im new here and Look forward to participate and exchange ideas.
  2. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Hey man! Good to have you on board! :grilling_smilie:
  3. I, too, am new to this forum group.  I recently found an 18.5 inch at a church garage sale, in excellent conditon, built in 1993.

    I have done a pork butt, which came out really good and yesterday put on some St. Louis style ribs.  I used the minion method for charcoal.  I use the Maverick et-732 grill thermometer and it shot up to 335 in a short time. I had added 3 chunks of Hickory and one of Apple.

    How would I adjust the three vents in the bottom, after burning for, say 30 minutes, to reach 225-240 degrees?  should I have added the wood at the beginning or wait till the temp adjusts to add the wood.

    we added additional charcoal and wood after the three hour smoke time, prior to wrapping in foil for the two hours.  I never did get a stable 225-235 temp for a long period of time.  do I just continue to adjust the vents?  I will appreciate any directions for the next time.
  4. I recommend you close all three bottom vents to about 10% open - where there's just a crack open - when your pit temp reaches 200*F. It will slowly react to settle down at ~ 250 +\- 25*F. If it runs higher than 275*F you can close the top vent to no more than 50%. If it settles lower than you like leave the top vent 100% open and open the bottom vents 10% more. You can also close two bottom vents and control heat with just one or close one bottom vent and control heat with just two. ALWAYS have your top vent open more than your bottom three vents combined. This will ensure a chimney effect - where warm air exits the top pulling cool air in the bottom feeding the fire. You do not want stagnant air in the pit.

    I like to add smoke wood after I have a clean burning fire, stable temps, and food on. That way I know all the thin blue smoke coming out of the top vent was produced by me adding smoke wood. I treat it like a very strong spice: a little smoke wood goes a long way.

    If you can control your temp, build a clean burning fire, and be patient, you can cook anything. I hope this helps on your next cook.

    I recommend the book by Gary Wiviott Low and Slow. If you'll follow his lessons you'll know your pit at the end of lesson 5.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  5. BAMA bbq:

    thanks for the helpful hints.  I may have overloaded the wood chunks as well as too much charcoal initially. from your comments, you used a small chunk of some type wood after temp settled in and meat went on.

    I will try your points next time.  I used an electric Brinkman for about 9 years.  I know I will enjoy the WSM once I find the right adjustments.

    thanks, again.
  6. redwings

    redwings Newbie

    Another tip is a brand new WSM may take a few cooks before it becomes easy to control the temps.  I think this is due to the cooks 'sealing' up the smoker.

    Also, make sure there are no large gaps around the access door.  When I received mine, the access door needed a little bending to sit tighter against the smoker body so there were no gaps which caused air to get in easily (which then drives the temps up).

    I agree with what BAMA BBQ says above about adjusting to 10% open (bottom vents) once the smoker reaches 200.  That should settle it in nicely.  When adjusting your bottom vents during a cook, do it a little at a time.  Then sit back, have a beer, and wait to see how the smoker reacts to the adjustment.  If you are using water in the water pan, it make take 15-20 minutes to see exactly how the adjustment affects temperature.  I'd also stick to adjusting one vent at a time...don't mess with all 3.
  7. thanks, RedWings

    several questions:

    1.  do you use lump or briquetts?

    2.  for a 1-3 hour cook, how many do you start with?

    3.  for longer 10-12 smokes, do you use the minion method, which basically fills the bed with lots of firepower.  I did this with ribs and the temp jumped quickly to 335.

    4.  I used chunk Hickory and Cherry-about the size of a tennis ball.  I did two of each. this added more firepower.

    I have seen some posts that suggest you do not use the water pan.  Your thoughts?

    thanks, again and look forward to keeping in touch

  8. redwings

    redwings Newbie

    1.  Briquettes.  Usually Kingsford Blue.

    2. For a shorter cook I'll start with 3/4 of a  ring of unlit and toss some wood chunks on top.  Then fire up 15 or so briquettes to dump on top of it all.  Since the WSM seals up nice, if you have a lot of charcoal left after the cook, just shut all the vents and it'll put the rest out.  Now you have stuff left for next time.

    3. For longer smokes I'll fill up the ring as much as I can.  Mix wood throughout.  Again use 15 or so lit briquettes and dump it on the unlit.  Sometimes I make a little hole in the middle of the unlit to put them (I'm going to try the empty 28oz soup can method next time).  Once I dump the lit on there I assemble the smoker, open all vents, and limit the vents once it gets within 15 degrees of my target temp.  If you are still seeing spikes, then you need to close the vents even further when within 15 degrees of your target temp.

    No I do not use water in the water pan.  I use a foiled clay base in the water pan.  This makes it easier to clean up but it also means that the temperature will adjust a lot quicker with very minor vent adjustments.  That is why I suggest people learn using the water pan with water first.  Then once they have that down, move on to clay base.  Or get yourself a clay base and try it next time to see how you like it.  With a clay base though when I get to about 200 after getting the minion method going, I shut two of the bottom vents totally and have the 3rd vent about 20% open.  Any more than that and it may get too hot.  If I need it to warm up after a while, I'll adjust it just a hair and within a few minutes you'll see the climb. 
  9. redwings

    redwings Newbie

    Here is what I started with for my last overnight cook.  After 12 hours it was still holding steady at 235.  I still threw a few handfuls in and mixed it all around because i knew it was going to take another 2-3 hours.

  10. how do you use the 28 oz soup can in this picture?

    I do appreciate all your input to a first time WSM user.  Mine was not new.  Our Sunday School has an annual garage sale.  One of our members brought it over prior to the sale.

    I was delivering some things over and it was available so I paid the $10.00 she was asking.

    It is in excellent shape.  Maybe used 5 times since 1993, the year it was manufactured.

    she had lost the water pan  but i used the one out of my Brinkman electric smoker and modified the brackets so it would fit.  works great.

    what is your favorite wood for ribs, pork butts, etc...?

  11. redwings

    redwings Newbie

    In that picture I haven't used the soup can.  But I found a picture from another thread of someone who has used it.  Both the top and bottom of the soup can has been taken off.  You stick the soup can in the middle of the charcoal ring and put the unlit charcoal and wood around it.  When you have your lit charcoal ready, you put it in the can, and then pull the can out.  Now the lit is in the middle and will slowly light the outer coals.

    As for favorite wood, I really haven't compared many woods.  I usually stick to hickory or apple.  One day I'll get around to comparing a bunch.
  12. reasoning

    reasoning Smoke Blower

    I also had this problem when I first tried the minion method I used a whole charcoal starter full Lol temp shot way up to 350 and took well over an hour to come back down! Was a tough start to an all night cook starting at 1 A.M. Lol
  13. Just found this group and I am new to having a WSM not new to the forums or smoking. I am very excited to use the new WSM 18.5 I got for Christmas when winter breaks in a few months. I have only had El Cheapo Barrel smokers before. This is going to be a huge upgrade for me. I am guessing it is going to be a whole new learning curve for me and I am going to have to break out my low and slow book I used years ago to get myself started. The idea of having the charcoal and heat last for 8 or 9 hours excites me a lot.

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