Some of you may remember a post from a long while back where I had acquired an unknown brand smoker from a garage sale for $5, which we found later to be a Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5". I finally got a free day to do something with it. Thanks to everyone for the advise, especially Smokin Al for tips on getting started. As photos show, I did minion method, with a more wood chunks than I saw in other photos, and maybe 3" deep layer of charcoal. That was the one question, I really didn't know how much to use. The amount I used lasted about 5 hours, with most vents open full, at about 240, so I was pretty happy with first time. This was also the first time I ever used a water pan. Also, note thermometer that I bought as the unit didn't have one, or a hole to mount one. I assume that this is OK since it's an over thermometer. It does have a nice smokey tint to it now though......
I did two pork loins (the main thing that I do with some ribs thrown in occasionally) that I cut up because I like have the extra end pieces with the rub on them. The three smaller had a rub that I buy from a store in Centerville, TX, the other two I used a brisket rub that I bought at Albertson's. I do have a home made rub recipe that a friend shared his secret recipe with me, but opted to try the other two instead.
Got going about 3:00pm and pulled at 8:00. Since this wasn't for dinner last night, I wasn't in a real hurry to do anything with it. Finally cut a piece off around 8:30 and it was pretty darn good. Seemed a little more moist than I've made before, so that was nice. Will be packing it up and vacuum sealing for use the next month or so.
So the lingering question is still - how much charcoal should I use? Is there a depth that everyone uses, or a rule of thumb, 3" deep by 3" wide lasts roughly, "x" hours? What I did lasted just over five hours, what if I need 10? Do people reload the charcoal in lumps to keep going or continue a path around the ring? Just looking for guidelines/suggestions.
Thanks again to everyone who replied to my initial post months ago....very positive first go with the WSM!