Originally Posted by Rene
After struggling with a cheapie horizontal smoker I finally broke down and purchased the 22" WSM so now I have a couple of newbie questions.
1 - I am planning of doing a pork butt this weekend. Is it better and faster to do one large butt ie 10 pounds or two smaller ones at 6pounds each.
2- for a long smoke, how long does the water last in the supplied water pan.
To answer your first question, a larger piece will take the longest if smoke chamber temps were held the same as if you were smoking two smaller pieces. I would suggest a bit lower chamber temp for smaller cuts, as it will help to slow-down the cooking process so that the smaller piece will benefit more from the low & slow cooking. If I were to smoke a 10lb butt @ 230-235*, then, I would drop to 215-220* for a 6-7lb.
I can't answer your second question, as my only vertical charcoal rig is a heavily modified brinkmann gourmet. I will say this: mine holds 1 gallon full to the rim, and on a long smoke with a full charcoal basket, my coal bed is nearly touching the water pan, so boil-off rates are pretty high @ over 1.5qts/hr. If the WSM has a good amount of space between the pan and coals, it should use far less water...somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.5qts/hour, so probably 8 hours before it runs dry. Adding water mid-smoke won't cause much loss of smoke chamber heat. I use a 1 gallon plastic plant watering can with a long spout...works great. Also, when the water pan runs low, temps will start climbing, so that's usually my indicator to add some cold water and this will bring temps back down withing a few minutes.
I'm sure some experienced WSM enthusiasts will be along to give you a more definative answer about water consumption. Have fun smoking with that bad boy...from what I've been reading, you have a top-notch rig on your hands.