As I looked at the search related wsm start up threads I see lots of different methods and thought I would show how I do mine so it would be easy for me to find and repost..
I use Kingsford Blue charcoal..it burns nice and lasts a long time...
It also can be bought in fairly large quantity at the box stores on sale in the spring and fall..
Starting at the bottom....
I put a 28 oz can in the middle of the ring and pour the charcoal into the ring..filling full to the top of the ring.
Next I add the wood for smoke..layering from the bottom to the top...then grab the ring and turn it and shake it to settle the charcoal nice and tight..then add the charcoal up to the top again...
10 to 12 pieces of charcoal into the chimney and get them all burning..
Dump the chimney into the soup can and pull the can out..
I dont use water in the pan..it has a 12 inch terra cotta pot saucer in it...dont foil it either..I have a fire pit so everything gets washed into it.
After a few years it looks like a well seasoned Dutch oven..
Assemble the rest of the wsm with all vents wide open..
When the temp gets around 180-200 I close 2 bottom vents and put the other bottom vent at half open..if I am going to smoke above 225-240 I let it get a little hotter before closing.
When it gets up to temp..put the stuff in and leave the top vent all the way open..
Simple and easy..thats how I like to do things...
I did several mods to mine...washers behind the top rack supports and installed evelets from ace hardware..
Picture is from Mr Rodriguez..
I also practice the "Keep the lid on!!' routine.. I found that if I start chasing temps or thinking I gotta look....the temps go up quickly..
I did this method until I bought the guru..it worked for me quite well. YMMV
I still fire it off the same way only now the guru keeps temp perfect for me...Makes doing butts real easy by starting everything going in the evening..
That way all the pulling and cleaning can be done in the morning the next day.
Have a great day!!!!
Edited by fpnmf - 5/30/13 at 3:28pm