I just scored a 22" WSM. My work gave me a 10 yr gift, but it was a catalog of crap except for a $150 visa card that would only work at certain retailers. Luckily Cabela's was on there so I figured that would work. Then I saw that they had smokers! I conned the wife into letting me spend more and get the big WSM. $265 out the door after Cabelas rebate and my work $$. I've been looking on here, and there is tons of info, but it's very scattered. Is there a couple threads that give the basics of temp control with this?
I have had 2 cheap brinkman coal smokers, but they needed tending every hour or so and it was hard to keep the temps over 200 without burning logs on top of the coal. Most of it is due to the crappy little charcoal bowl that smolders the charcoal and requires cleaning during every smoke. The WSM holds probably 10x the amount of charcoal if I really loaded it up, and it has a grate so the ash will fall down instead of smolder the coals. I'm hoping I can get the hang of it and run some long smokes without having to mess with it all the time! I want to smoke a good brisket. I've had trouble getting a real tender brisket in the cheap brinkman because it's hard to keep the temps high for 8 hrs. Sometimes after an hour it would drop back to 160 from 210. The WSM directions say to use 250 for most smokes, and I've never been able to get that high with my old brinkman unless it ran out of water and lit the fat on fire. I've smoked lots of turkeys, bacon, and pork loins with great success. Here is one thanksgiving out in Joshua Tree smoking a bird. I put the pork loin on the top rack, covered in bacon, then the turkey below that, also covered in bacon so the double pork juices drip on to the pork covered turkey! Mmm.