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WSM fire is dying, any advice? - Page 2

post #21 of 29

Nice job on the welding blanket! 

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Volsfan View Post


How often do you clean out the ash from the bottom?

I clean out the ash after every smoke. I figured that was the best thing to do. 



post #23 of 29
The issue you are describing is really hard to understand. I sometimes get spikes with my WSM but I have never had any issues keeping the fire going. Could it be bad lump?

I mean WSM's are some of easiest smokers to rub. If have more than 1/2 ring and put a full chimney of well lit charcoal it should run 250 with the bottom vents almost closed.

You have stumped the panel...
post #24 of 29
Originally Posted by undertakingyou View Post

Thanks everyone for your replies. I was starting to get pretty mad at the lump (I wouldnt' stop BBQing, that would be a tragidy).
Originally Posted by Bama BBQ View Post

I am interested why your fire keeps going out. It is either choking or not enough coals were lit. If choking ensure the vents are clear. I like to add a chimney full of lit and give the pile time to catch before assembling the cooker.

Are you using water in the pan?

Can you describe how you build a fire?
I have attached a picture here (very crudely drawn) that will hopefully describe how I build my fire. I have built it the same using briquettes or lump.
Created with GIMP on a Mac

To build my fire I have been placing unlit lump or briquettes (fuel) on OUTSIDE of the No. 10 can, and filling the fire ring. Over that unlit fuel I place some smoke wood, sometimes soaked, sometimes not. INSIDE the No. 10 can I put lit fuel. Full charcoal chimney worth (I have a couple charcoal chimneys from dutch oven cooking). This lit fuel always overflows the No. 10 Can. I then use pliers to remove the No. 10 can, so there is no barrier between the lit and unlit fuel.

When my fuel has been Briquettes I have had great heat for a long time (11 hours worth). With Lump ... it just struggles.

About Dampers: When using the lump I have left all four (the three bottom and one top) all the way open. I never close them, because I don't want to choke out whatever little fire I may have. With the briquettes I started with them open, and then closed them down as needed to pull down temp, starting with the top one.

To Bama's other question, yes, I keep water in the pan.

Nobody has noticed you said you start with closing "THE TOP ONE"... when you say this do you mean the exhaust vent ?.... as others have stated you need to leave the top one (exhaust vent) open AT ALL TIMES... only time you close it is when your not using the smoker to keep rain and bugs out...
post #25 of 29
Also if you could update your profile and add where your at... that will help in giving advice
post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by JckDanls 07 View Post

Also if you could update your profile and add where your at... that will help in giving advice

Thought I did, Sorry. I am in Salt Lake City, Utah.

post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all for your replies. I am going to do a smoke tomorrow for Labor Day. I think I am going to be doing some ribs, but we will see. 


With the suggestions that I have gotten here there are three things that I will do differently.


First, mix lump and charcoal, about 50/50.


Second, not do a hollow center in building my fire that then gets filled with hot coal. But I will make a small impression in the unlit fuel and cover it with lit fuel. 


Third, I will fill my water pan with hot water, not cold (which I have been doing, but doesn't account for the fire going out).


I'll post how it turns out.



post #28 of 29

UY, evening.....  at an elevation of 4300+ feet, the air is thinner and can pose a problem keeping the charcoal lit...    I would suggest not using a water pan....   steam will smother the coals also....  adjust your temp using the air inlets...   Have the upper vent open at all times to allow for air flow..   Dave

post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

Well, I did my smoke tonight. I missed DaveOmak's advise, but I doubt that would have hurt my results much. 


I started the smoker at 12, and put meat on at 1. I did a nearly full charcoal basket with a mix of lump and regular briquettes. The smoker idled around 225 and slowly just kept rising, even though the dampers were closed. At 4:30 I took off my ribs and closed all the dampers all the way. Now, at 8:30 the smoker is still sitting at 230 degrees.


Thanks for all the advise. While there are 1000 little things that can affect the smoker results, it is nice to learn more about one of them. 


Food, my ribs from tonight.

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