New owner of the WSM!!! There's a story shared, a couple of pictures, and some questions in this one

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rmbsquared, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Just picked up my first WSM prior to this I had, what was my first smoker ever, an old Charbroil H2O which is just another name for the ECB. After making many of the modifications I read about here in the forums I cooked on the H2O quite a bit before retiring it because I realized how in love with this new life is was.

    So yesterday my wife and I went to the local Walmart and I finally got the WSM 14.5" after many, many weeks of research of course.

    Used my son for scale when sending the finished assembly photo to my wife.

    I also scored a decent amount of decent meat from Martins/Giant yesterday with whole chickens at .88 cent a pound and shoulders at .99 cent a pound.

    So tomorrow, since I can't do it today due to heavy winds left over after a tornado, I'll be smoking an 8lb shoulder dry rubbed using Apple wood. Any suggestion or advice for a successful first cook on the WSM would be greatly appreciated.

    Any tips about the WSM would be greatly appreciated like answers to some questions:
    -Can I cook with it straight from the box or is the thermometer no good?
    -If I were to try a whole bird and a shoulder at the same time what would be the recommended setup?
    -What is the silver dish I've been instructed to sit in the bottom of the smoker? It appears to be similar to the dish underneath the 18.5/21.5 smokers. Is it a heat shield for protective purposes?

    Thank you all who visit my post. I hope to cook and add qview after my first official cook.
  2. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome from SC. I really hope you will enjoy your WSM. They are great cookers. I haven't seen the 14" model, but I assume that the silver disc is a heat shield. If your factory therm is accurate, it would be the only one in the whole wide world. I would seriously try to get a Maverick E-732 for more accuracy and also to give you the needed IT of your meat. As for the shoulder and bird, when you're cooking a bird with anything, always put the bird on the bottom. One, you don't want juice from a bird dripping on any other type of meat. Two, with the bird closer to the fire, you should be able to maintain a hotter cook for the bird. Look at the search bar and find the "spatchcock" method for your chicken. It's the very best way to cook a bird anymore. Also, I would NOT use any water in the water pan of your WSM. I would just wrap it with foil for easy clean up and leave it dry. If you can find a clay saucer in the garden area of Lowe's that will fit your water pan brackets, try using that. Also wrap it in foil for clean up. The saucer will hold some heat and will help with a more even temp.

    Sorry to be so long winded. Good luck and enjoy your new toy. Joe :grilling_smilie:
    rmbsquared likes this.
  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Try verifying the temp probe with boiling water,or an external digital probe.I just used my 18.5 the other day to test an season it a little.Search how to light a WSM Dirtsailor has a good way to do it.Til you learn more go slow one piece of meat at a time.Good Luck

    rmbsquared likes this.
  4. No need to apologize Joe I'm grateful for all the help. I will look into the spatchcock method as I've seen the word everywhere but I've never looked into it. Again thank you for your reply. I'm excited to start this journey.
  5. Is there a thermometer I can get to hold me over till I can get the Maverick? Because it seems like an online only thing. Like a good dual probe I can get locally
  6. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You can check Lowes Wallmart lots of stores have them,the biggest thing to monitor is the meat you can get 2 if they are cheap enough.For the lighting here is a pic This is from Dirtsailos post

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
    rmbsquared likes this.
  7. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Not that I'm aware of. Maybe some of the other guys might know.
    rmbsquared likes this.
  8. Sounds good. Richie thank you for the advice and providing an image for the lighting. I have two thermometers here I figured they'd work fine but I had to be sure.
  9. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ah yes the "side light method".  Works great. I keep thinking I need to do a video one of these days.

    The best method for getting long smokes out of your 14.5" WSM is to use what is known as the side light method. Also note that briquettes will give you a longer burn time than lump.

    Fill you charcoal basket completely full. Add (3-4) 2"-3" hunks of smoke wood. Assemble the smoker. Take a propane torch, light it and stick it in one of the lower vents. Let it run for 3-5 minutes. The temp will be greater than you want but it will drop. You may need to do this again to get the pit temp you want. Using this method I have been able to achieve 12-14 hour smokes (250-265) without needing to refill the charcoal basket.
    rmbsquared likes this.
  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

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  11. wesleyt

    wesleyt Newbie

    I found to be very informative when I got my WSM. My thermometer was about 20 degrees off so I opted to get iGrill2 with and ambient probe to keep track of my temps via Bluetooth.
    rmbsquared likes this.
  12. I'm getting ready to test my thermometer to see where it stands now. I've referred to thevirtualweberbullet many times its outstanding. I have not heard of the iGrill before perhaps I'll look into it.
  13. As expected the manufacturers thermometer was way off. Couldn't find the boiling point (210 here in va) was lower than 200.
    I have another thermometer here I decided to test as well and it reads fine so I'll use it until the Maverick comes on Tuesday.
    Thank you everyone
  14. krex1010

    krex1010 Smoke Blower

    For a first cook I'd recommend cooking one item, I'd go pork butt since they are forgiving, no reason to complicate things on the maiden voyage. I have a 18 wsm, these things are great cookers. Congrats!
    rmbsquared likes this.
  15. Hey thanks Krex. I'm excited to set this thing off I probably won't sleep tonight lol. The question about the chicken and butt together cook was just for general knowledge. However, I have come into a new interesting problem and would appreciate the help in figuring out what to do. I'll add a separate reply containing this issue.
  16. New problem. Maybe consider it a new challenge.

    Because it's Lent right now my Father (who I would be cooking this pork dinner for) observes this religious commitment. And he gives up read meat until it's over. So he eats fish.

    I want to involve the smoke in his dinner as well as the rest of the family. What can I do about this?
  17. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As you already know the WSM forum is a terrific resource dedicated to the WSM. If you need to know anything about a WSM  it's there. I never understood why people are dropping all that cash on the green eggs when these WSM's will run just as efficently and turn out some excellent 'Q.
    rmbsquared likes this.
  18. krex1010

    krex1010 Smoke Blower

    Wsm's make some great smoked salmon, which I do fairly regularly. It's takes some planning ahead as you need to brine it overnight (I like a dry brine) and then let it air dry on a cooling rack in the fridge for a few hours until a nice pellicle forms, the. Smoke it at around 180-225 degrees until the internal hits 140 degrees.....some people say not to smoke fish in a wsm but I haven't had any issues, definitely foil the water pan though.
    rmbsquared likes this.
  19. krex1010

    krex1010 Smoke Blower

    Also....the silver disk is a heat shield. A lot of people recommend not using water, and I don't use water anymore.....but you may want to consider using water for your first few cooks, wsm's run hot the first few cooks until you build up some grease inside (don't clean this the grease that forms around the lid is especially helpful at sealing the lid during cooks) so the water will help moderate temps and basically make the thing idiot proof as far as keeping temps stable. Once you get some experience and can run it without feeling the need to play with vents/open doors a lot and lift the lid often, then try running without water. Temp spikes will be a little more exaggerated with no water.

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