New member, new WSM smoker
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Hard to go wrong with a WSM. They are easy to use, make great food, and well built. I bought mine in 2005 and it's still rocking on.
After a while, you may want to take a look at a BBQ Guru or other type "power draft" (automatic temperature controller for a charcoal/wood pit). It's a great addition to a WSM. Nothing like an over night 22 hour smoke where you don't have to touch a thing and the power draft regulates your air flow 100% of the time. But get to know your pit set up stock first.
I would say yes. Reason would be it is tightly controlling the air and therefore the burn rate. No high temp swings would also equal no unnecessary burning of fuel. Using a clay flower pot base I have run 14 hours on a single fire ring load and still had some time left. I'm sure I could go much longer, but the whole idea of having a guru is I don't have to watch the pit like a hawk. I let the guru mind the pit for me.
That being said, I must confess on overnight port butt smokes I run the water pan and after about 12 hours I will reload the fire ring. Then I can sleep all night and let the Guru mind the pit without worrying it might run out of fuel. A Guru is about as close to "set and forget" as you can get with a WSM.
I did 4 pork shoulders last week and it took about 17 hours total. Meat was on the smoker by about 8:45pm and I added some charcoal around 10AM (just enough to make sure I had plenty, not a full ring). Meat was done and in the cooler around 1:15PM for dinner that afternoon at 5PM (still steaming hot in the cooler). I still had plenty of charcoal left and did 5 chicken leg quarters before shutting down the Guru vent and top vent to choke out the remaining coals for reuse later. Still had about 1/3 a pan of water in the brinkman charcoal pan mod (did not reload water at all).
I'm sort of the mind that charcoal is cheap, so I make sure the guru has something to work with and let it mind the store.....
I've just begun using the Digi-Q. It works great but I made the mistake of keeping the top off too long the last time I did ribs and the temp spiked and wouldn't come down. I still use my Maverick to monitor the grill temp (and meat when applicable) and I have to say that sometimes it is way off in temps and then they come back together, even when I put the probes close together. I have done the ice water test and they are both very close. Confusing and has added some doubt to my smokes. I like the Maverick because I can be sitting inside watching a game and have the monitor next to me. Did two turkeys a couple of weeks ago and they came out great. I'm doing two prime ribs this weekend.
I think for a long smoke the Digi-Q is the way to go. I use it regardless because I am somewhat of a geek when it comes to technology.
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Another way to extend your smoke time per load of charcoal (especially on overnight smokes) is to wrap your smoker in a welding blanket, it acts like a combo wind break and insulation. I did butts last night, put them on at 1:00 AM, pulled them off at 1:00 PM, put on 3 racks of ribs for dinner and pulled the ribs off at 6:00 pm. The smoker was still running at 250° with about 1/3 of the ring left. Even at the coldest part of the night I only had to have 1 vent open about half way to maintain 250°.