WSM 18" hard time controlling temps

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by ocsmoker13, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Hey everyone, I'm having a hard time keeping my WSM 18" at temp even using a Stoker II wifi controller. I've only cooked pork ribs on it approx 5-6 times but each time it seems difficult to maintain set temp even with the controller. All bottom vents are closed and top vent is only open 25-33% during the cook. The end result turns out ok, but it shouldn't be this hard to maintain a set temp even with the controller. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Next cook will be an 8 lb brisket but I want to figure the temp problem out before I cook it. Thanks for your help.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Need some more info on your fire. Are you using lump, or briquettes? How are you lighting the fire? Are you using water in your water pan or are you running a dry pit?

    I don't use a stoker, and have no problems maintaining temps. I don't fill the water pan with water.
  3. I run my WSM with top vent 100% open and make adjustments with bottom three vents to whatever temperature range I need. Most of the time, I have one bottom vent open 33-50% to maintain 225-250.
  4. I'm using kingsford blue for briquettes, lighting the fire with a charcoal chimney using the minion method, and I'm running a dry pit. I dump the charcoal chimney into the smoker and I let to settle for about an hour before I start up the Stoker. If I set the temp to 250 it will get there but then keep climbing until I close down the top vent, then temp will drop and Stoker will kick in the fan and temp will go up too hight to approx 275-280. Then the cycle keeps repeating.
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    One too many lit briquettes to start with. Try 5-8 lit start there.

    I use what is called the side light method. Which involves using a propane torch to light the fuel. I fill the basket with the fuel of choice and smoke wood. Light a propane torch and stick it in one of the lower vent holes. Torch until I get 20-30 degrees above my target temp and remove the torch. The temp will drop below where I want the temp to be. Torch again and repeat. Usually takesa couple torch sessions. Let it settle
    And go.

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