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Charcoal not turning to ash?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi, this is my first post here, so I hope this is the correct place to put this... I just started cooking with charcoal for the very first time on a new Weber bullet, and I have noticed that my briquettes aren't completely turning to ash. They are definitely ashing over, but even if I try and squeeze them with my tongs they are still solid. Does this mean that they are not burning all the way through? The fire seems to be burning fine otherwise, I have had a dry run going for about 4 hours and the temps seem to be good, I just thought it was odd when I checked the coals that they weren't turning to ash like I though they would.

 

If this is not normal, is there something I can do to help ensure that my coals are burning all the way through? I did just stir the coals, but it hasn't been long enough yet to see if that had any effect. It did seem like 4h was a bit early to have to stir the coals, based on what I've read.

 

I also noticed that the chunks I placed on top did not burn all the way through either. Would it have been smarter of me to put the chunks over the unlit coals before dumping my chimney on top?

 

EDIT: Do I maybe just need to be more patient?


Edited by RyanL - 8/7/14 at 11:28pm
post #2 of 8
Be patient they will turn to ash. If you are only 4 hours in you probably have 4-6 more hours to go...
post #3 of 8

To maintain low temps, 225 to 275°F, the the vents are closed down limiting the air getting to the coals. They will burn much slower than they would as if in a Kettle Grill. You are fine...JJ

post #4 of 8

And when you're done, close your vents until the coals cool and reclaim all of your leftover charcoal to use next time. It's one of the perks of having a quality, high-efficiency smoker, it cuts down on your charcoal bill.

post #5 of 8
Sounds like you're covered Ryan....now get over to roll call and introduce yourself so we can welcome you properly into the SMF family! ;) http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/f/133/roll-call
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies everyone! It looks like they did indeed burn out, I left the cooker running overnight with the Maverick by my bed and it ran quite well, the temp actually went up a bit on it's own around 3am. It's still going right now, dropped to about 180, but I opened the vents just to see if it will heat back up. First cook is scheduled tomorrow, going to do bacon wrapped chicken thighs to try and season it a little more. And I've already committed to doing pulled pork for a family event next weekend. Pretty excited about this, I was nervous at first as I'd never used charcoal in my life, but it was a LOT easier than I thought it would be.

post #7 of 8

Yup the WSM is the set-it-and-forget-it of charcoal smokers. It holds a steady 250° with little to no input from you, which is what makes it such a well loved smoker in the charcoal using crowd.

post #8 of 8
If using wsm, here's how I smoke. Place 1 full chimney of coals in your ring. Place 4-6 wood chunks on top. Light 3/4 chimney full of charcoal. After 15 min add chimney of lit atop unlit. Assemble smoker. Fill water pan. Put lid on. All vents open. Once white billowing smoke turns to blue whispy smoke...you're ready.
- don't trust temp gauge on wsm. Get a maverick dig therm and clip atop grate. It is far more accurate than lid therm.
-I took out one of the grate screws and run my thermometer thru the hole. (Grate still stays on but gotta be careful) this avoids closing lid on wire and allowing heat escape.
-key points: only takes a little charcoal for 4-6 hr smoke (2)don't put your meat on if your smoker is billowing dirty white smoke.
(3)more often than not your bottom vents will be half closed or even 2/3 closed to keep temp under 250
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