- 101 Posts. Joined 7/2012
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If you fill your charcoal ring to the max. you shouldn't have to reload, unless it is really cold or windy. The WSM will run nice and steady for 18-20 hrs. on that one load.
... however if your temps start to drop off. First thing to do is to gently stir the coals a bit to knock off the ash - this can get you another 3-4 hrs. of steady 250° heat in your WSM. Then if you still need more the best thing to do is get a full chimney of charcoal about half lit, then using the door as a shute dump it in the WSM - the door will be enough of a guide to get it to slide right into the ring. The reason to get it half lit is twofold - 1) to get the charcaol hot and past the "start up smoke" stage, you don't want all that on your food, and 2) being only half lit it will burn longer in your WSM when you do dump it in.
You will get a temps spike when you dump it in, but it should settle down fairly fast. Don't forget to check your water pan if you reach a point where you actually do have to re-load.
If you fill the ring up to the top and shake it down and add more you shouldnt need more charcoal...