First time here, smoker newbie. I picked up an 18" WSM and tried to cook a small (2.68lb) brisket on it yesterday. The brisket came out good, except it took about 6 hours longer than I was expecting. Where did I go wrong? See cook data below.
Outside Temp: 44F and windy -- WSM was in a wind shielded location
Initial vent settings: 3 bottom vents, closed. Lid vent, 100% open.
Thermometer: Maverick ET-73 with smoker probe attached to top grate using included clip.
Water pan: Full
1:36pm - Lit a chimney of charcoal (Kingsford briquettes)
1:55pm - Dumped charcoal, added another 1.5 chimney-fulls of un-lit charcoal
2:36pm - Charcoal ready, assembled cooker
3:00pm - Grate temp at 300F, placed brisket on the top grill, fat-side up.
5:04pm - Flipped brisket end over end and basted with apple juice.
6:07pm - Flipped brisket end over end and basted with apple juice.
7:00pm - Expected completion time (meat only at 156F at this point)
7:20pm - Added 8 more un-lit charcoal briquettes
8:08pm - I begin spin-campaign to wife about how briskets can sometimes take a little longer
8:38pm - Wife makes daughter baked potato and corn on the cob and assures her she can try the brisket tomorrow. A little vegan lifestyle never hurt anyone. :)
8:49pm - Added 12 more un-lit charcoal briquettes
9:57pm - Added 10 more un-lit charcoal briquettes
10:19pm - Added 1 liter of hot water to water pan.
11:45pm - Removed brisket at 187F (was falling asleep waiting for that last degree increase and figured.. wth, these things have to have some margin of error)
12:30am - Wife wakes me up on the couch where I'd fallen asleep watching SNL and tells me that it's time to try the brisket.
12:32am - I try one bite, say mmm and head for bed. Wife enjoys a sandwich and the rest of SNL before coming to bed. (She did say it was delicious!)
So.. Why did this take 5 hours longer than I expected (I figured 1.5hrs per lb.) I did not seem to have any trouble maintaining a constant temperature (remember this is measured at the grate). See below (can also view at http://goo.gl/NqHuU):