This is my first post on here. I have read this forum for about a year, and had my mouth watering several times. I have purchased a WSM 22.5, and jsut got done yesterday with my second smoke. This first smoke that I did, I had a little trouble bringing the temperature up past 200, but eventually got it there and was able to make some very good ribs!! Yesterday I had the same problem, plus many more. I will explain with the best detail that I can....
1. Smoking a 7.25 pork butt, I wanted to use plenty of charcoal so I did not have to mess around with adding more coals to the fire part way through the smoke. I used 20# of Kingsford blue, with mesquite wood. I had a "bowl" in the center of the ring for the hot coals.(I know that is to much charcoal for that smoke, but I was less worried about wasting charcoal my first couple times using it, than not having enough fuel for the smoke)
2. I used a chimney starter and started a full chimney of hot coals. I put these on top of the unlit coals. At this time I had all 4 vents fully open. I filled the water pan with hot water so I did not have to heat the water from cold. The temperature came up once again to about the 200 mark(lid temperature) and stalled there for about 1.5 hrs. It did not seem to matter what I did, I could not get the temperature to come up to the 250 mark(this is where my lower rack cooks at about 235 degrees with an accurate thermometer just above the lower rack) It took close to 2.5 hrs for the temperature to get to 250.
3. I had a tremendous amount of charcoal smoke coming from the smoker for approx. 2 - 2.5hrs. I could not smell any mesquite smoke, but the charcoal smoke seemed to be overpowering. I put the pork butt on right away, and it still turned out ok, but I can taste more charcoal flavor than I can taste any mesquite flavor.
4 The day started out in the mid 50's, and was into the mid 70's in the afternoon. We were in a well protected area, and there was virtually no breeze to affect the smoker.
After the coals got going more, the charcoal smoke died down, and I was able to successfully smoke some BB's in the afternoon. These turned out very well. Here is what my thought is on the situation, and I am open to suggesstions, just want to know if I am on the right track. Addressing the smoke situation first, I believe with the amount of charcoal I had in the smoker, I had enough going, and continually lighting in the smoker, that I was eventually able to bring the smoker up to temp, but the coals may not have been burning hot enough to actually burn the wood effectively. I would be better off to use a smaller amount of coals, and make sure they are more fully lit before I place the meat on the smoker to eliminate the charcoal smoke, and be able to utilize the wood smoke.
As for the temperature stall, I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I am trying to eliminate getting the smoker too hot, as I dont want to deal with bringing the temp back down. Should I get the temperature of the smoker hotter than I want it initially before I put the meat on? I had the meat out of the fridge for about an hr, before I put it in the smoker, and still had the temp stall. I eventually get it there, but figured it would not take so long to get the temp up. Any thoughts and comments are appreciated. Thanks
Hope I remembered all the specific details!