WSM 18inch on its way!

Discussion in 'WSM Owners (Weber Smokey Mountain)' started by andybigwood, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. Just ordered my first smoker - the 18inch WSM, and I'm quite excited to be honest :)

    Due to arrive on monday.

    I've read that these units need a few burns to get the temp to stabilise?

    One thing I'm unsure of, is how long will a full load of wood smoke for?

    For example, I'm looking forward to smoking a brisket, and a boston butt, although on saperate occasions,

    and I wonder how often I would need to be adding more wood?
  2. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Congrats on the new smoker.

    A few runs before cooking on it is good so you can learn how to adjust and maintain the temps.

    Good luck and enjoy.

    Thumbs Up
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    With a full load of charcoal your 18.5 should be able to do an entire brisket or butt without reloading it - unless it's cold and windy and you don't have a wind break or wrap for your smoker. I use a welding blanket and some big spring clamps - this lets me smoke year round and maintain chamber temps even in bellow freezing windy conditions.

    Don't waste your test burns.... at least cook some chicken at the same time! [​IMG]
  4. Thanks for the replies guys -

    since posting this, I have thought about using the test burns to see how much wood and charcoal the smoker uses over a given period.

    Just looking forward to it arriving now [​IMG]
  5. Use chicken quarters for your "test" burn to help season it. It will burn hot for the first 5 to 10 burns. With my 22 1/2, butts are no problem on one load of lump charcoal, briskets I have to add. Can't comment on wood, may have to try it some time.
  6. Thanks DumasBro2.

    I was expecting delivery today, but I just spoke to the company who I bought the wsm from, and they're awaiting stock from Weber, so I now have to wait [​IMG]

    Ho hum...
  7. Well, it finally arrived at lunch time today.

    I fitted it together quite easily, and decided I might as well burn some charcoal.

    I have half a bag of restaurant lumpwood which I used to set in a horseshoe shape on the grid.

    My reasoning was that it should be easier to control the temp of a small amount of charcoal burning in a 'fuse', rather than minion style where a larger quantity of charcoal is all burning at once, from the centre to the outside. Or hot coals accross the top, burning down through unburnt coals.

    It all took a while to get going, mainly because my chimney starter doesn't arrive till midweek, and also because to start the colals burning, I used a hot air gun, whose normal job is paint removal.......... but it did the job :)

    So the smoker temp rose slowly and stalled at 75C(167F), so I took the cylinder off and added some more pieces of charcoal throughout the horseshoe to bulk it out a bit.

    Within 5 minutes it was up to 110C(230F) [​IMG]

    Now I had to try and regulate the temp with the vents, and I've read a lot on here about adjusting these, which made the fluctuations a lot smoother - it's a new wsm, I expected some fun getting bedded in. So I got her fairly steady at ~225F, then put on some 1/2 inch beech discs to start the seasoning. Next thing I know - TBS [​IMG]

    So now I'm thinking I might as well see if I can smoke some chicken legs, seeing as the charcoal seems to be burning quite slowly. So I went out, bought some chicken, came home, and after reading that it is okay to smoke without brining, added a quick salt/pepper rub and stuck 4 legs on the middle shelf (after adding the empty water bowl), in the hope that this would raise the chicken IT slower, and try to smoke for 2hrs.

    Well, after 1.5hrs the IT was 74C(165F), so I had a peep and a prod - all cooked but very little colour change and not that tender...[​IMG]

    I moved them onto the top shelf on some ally foil, removed the empty water bowl, and continued for another 15-20 mins until the IT was 80C(176F) - Done. The chicken tasted great with some coleslaw, and I'm boiling the bones'n'bits to make a stock.

    Tomorrow, more chicken and some lamb steaks.

    I'm going to try removing the chicken skin, brining and a simple rub, then using some water in the pan - just to see how it tastes.

    Thanks for the advice I've received and tips I've read on this forum - it's made my first day with the WSM a real pleasure.
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Grats on the first smoke!

    Remember that the lid therm can be off by up to 50°, so either use a probe therm or a couple of oven therms and get temps at each grate level (they will be different), then note the difference between the lid therm and the racks. This will let you use the lid therm as a rough guide as long as you mentally account for the variations.

    I personally just leave the skin on the chicken, then remove it before eating, the skin really does help keep it moist and tender during the smoke..... and the dogs love it when I chop a little up and put it in with their dog food.... lol.

    The color change is hard to get with chicken it cooks to fast for the smoke to penetrate very far, unless you are cooking low-and-slow (225°-230°). The tenderness could also be because you were hotter on the grates and cooking faster than you thought. Brining will help with both of those and its a great opportunity to add some great flavor to the bird as well. Keep practicing and you will get it nailed real soon!
    andybigwood likes this.
  9. Thanks JIRodriguez - I didn't know that about the lid therms.

    I was however using a basic proble therm - stuck in and left in the meat with a cable running to a display beside the wsm, giving me IT readings.

    That said, and added to what you have pointed out, the lid therm is way up in the lid, so grate readings would be very helpful.

    I quite like the look of the Maverick 733, but cant afford it for a month or so, but practice is what counts.
  10. What I do (kinda discovered by accident and then found out it is reverse searing) smoke them to 145 or so, then have the Weber kettle ready to go and finish them the rest of the way on the grill. Best of both worlds.
  11. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have just taken delivery of my ET-733 and to be honest my initial impressions are that the meat gimmicks do not really add much to the ET-732 - unless of course you have a good supply of Moose or Elk [​IMG]. The twin dual purpose probes are good however. I would recommend that you consider going for 2 x ET-732s than a single ET-733 as you will probably find them more versatile and less fiddly. 
    andybigwood likes this.
  12. Thanks DumasBro2 - I'll have to give that a try.
  13. That Wade, is well worth knowing - thankyou.

    It was the 2 multi-probes that looked like a worthwhile advantage,

    however the 732's will drop in price due to the new model, so buying 2 x 732 would be a good alternative.
  14. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am not a great fan of chicken legs and I am not totally surprised that you were not that happy with them. Unless they were chickens on steroids they were probably quite small with lots of bone and relatively little meat on them. I suggest that you either try a complete chicken (whole or spatchcock) or if you want chicken pieces then go for the chicken thighs - preferably boned as these are likely to cook much more predictably
    As Dumas says, do not be afraid of adding colour at the end by searing if you need to. When cooking at relatively low temperatures it can be difficult to get the caramelisation on the lighter meats that many people have come to expect as they cook quite quickly. I must confess that I mostly serve my chicken without the skin so it doesn't really cause concern. My thoughts are that if you want it to look like a roast chicken then it is probably best to cook it like a roast chicken.

    If I hadn't already produced some very tender chicken legs, together with crispy skin, on my mother's gas grill weber, that I made into a makeshift off-set smoker,

    I might just go with your advice Wade, but now I have a proper smoker, it would be good to replicate those good 'uns.

    I will add that the chicken I mention, was brined and rubbed. That might have made all the difference but I don't know for sure.

    These are a good size chicken leg too, pre-packed M&S, but it's because I've got it right once, that I've now set myself a precedent.

    Most of my cooking is done for just me, occasionally 2 people, so I have to consider what I'm cooking as to whether it will all get eaten.
  16. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes volumes can be quite a challenge. It is always easy to cook too much but then freezers come in handy.

    As you found - different smokers cook very differently. The WSM will provide a much less harsh heat than the gas grill. 

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