WSM tips

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bbqbeginner, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. bbqbeginner

    bbqbeginner Fire Starter

    GF just got me a 22 WSM for my birthday. Already placed an order for Maverick thermometer and injector. Anyone have any tips/tricks or must-dos that they'd like to share to get the most out of my new WSM? Also, I'm looking for a good spray bottle to get for spritzing. Does anyone have any recommendations on a good food safe spray bottle with a good nozzle? Thanks!
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Congrats on the new WSM and for having such a thoughtful and insightful GF! 

    The WSM requires no "seasoning" other than a good wash of the grates.  That said, you still have to get a bit of a feel for temp control and thin blue smoke.  I did a dry run of mine with a half load of briquettes in the charcoal basket, wood, and no meat in the smoker.  I played with the vents to get a feel for temps.  If you get the hang of it early throw something easy on it like brats or some other sausage.  You can smoke them at any temp.

    I rarely spritz anything these days.  I use a 99 cent spray bottle from Home Depot, clean it well, mark it "food only," and fill it with only enough liquid for that smoke.  Soak and clean well after every smoke. 

    There are quite a few different ways to load the WSM.  I keep it simple.  I put down a layer of briquettes, add 4-8 pieces of wood chunks, cover that with another layer of briquettes, then add another 4-8 pieces of wood chunks (depending on size).  After a smoke just close all the vents and snuff out the charcoal.  When ready to smoke again knock the ash off and consider that your first layer next time.  I clean the ash our about every other smoke, every third if they are short smokes. 

    How much hot charcoal you add initially to the middle of your fuel load can help control temps.  1/4 chimney for low chamber temps like 225F, full chimney for 325F+.   

    The water pan serves two purposes.  First, it is a heat deflector/heat mixer.  Second, if you put water in it understand that water is a heat sink and is there to help maintain low temps.  250F is about the highest chamber temp you can get if you use water due to the physics of heat and water.  Quite a few of us WSM users "dry smoke," meaning there's nothing in the water pan.  Temp control is more challenging with an empty water pan but can be easily mastered. Some folks use sand instead of water. Starting off, use water.  Try dry smoking later.   

    You'll be turning out world class Q in no time flat.

    Have fun!
  3. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome from SC. This is a great site with lots of folks who are ready to share their ideas and tips. All you have to do is ask and keep reading. You just found out how easy it is. Noboundaries just gave you some great tips on a WSM. I had one for several years and they are very user friendly. My tip is, unless they have changed, the Weber cover is not waterproof. I used a large black plastic garbage bag under the cover and it worked great. If you don't do this, water can get inside and really screw with your ashes.

    Good luck and good smokin', Joe
  4. freiesleben

    freiesleben Meat Mopper

    Hi bbqbeginner,

    Congrats on your WSM, I have a 18.5 myself and really like it. I have bought the gasket set for it and have added an additional grate, so mine now holds three, which is relax good when making several ribs :) In addition to this I have made a table for mine where it fits in, so that I can move it around, but also to have a surface where I can handle the meat during the smoke.
  5. bbqbeginner

    bbqbeginner Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the tips! Can't wait for my first cook.
  6. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you end up using it a lot and like to do long overnight smokes on pork butts, you can't beat a power draft for a WSM.   They pretty much all do the same thing and there are several brands and flavors out there.  I have a BBQ Guru Digi-Q2 with a 10CFM fan on my 18.5".  I've been running that with my WSM since 2007 or so. How they work is you close off all the bottom vents and on one vent all but one of the holes.  The adapter for the fan mounts on that hole.  The fan is connected to a computer control which has a pit temp sensor.  You set the desired temp, and if the pit is too cold, the fan stokes the coals.  If the pit is too hot the fan stays off and since it's the only source of incoming air for the coals, it chokes back the fire.  Generally what happens is the fan puffs every few second to keep it just right.  A decent power draft should hold the set temp as long as there is fuel to burn.

    Learn the WSM with natural vent control, but for ease of use, nothing beats a power draft.  It's as close to "set and forget" as you will ever come with fire.
    bbqbeginner likes this.

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