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22.5 WSM Pork Capacity...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I've had my 22.5" WSM for a few years now and in regards to smoking pork I've done 4 bone in butts totaling 34lbs (roughly 8.5lbs each).  Took about 10-12hrs by the time they were all done running heat between 235 and 250.  My question is am i pressing my luck with choking off my smoker if I were to add another bone in butt per cooking grate? VWB site shows them putting 4 boneless butts on the top grate, but i remember when i first fired up this smoker and laid 6 whole chickens on the top grate and it choked off the heat from circulating properly up through the smoker and I really don't want to do that with a smoker full of pork butts.  Any experience and advice is MUCHLY appreciated.

post #2 of 5

You're talking three 8.5 lbs butts on each grate?  That shouldn't be a problem at all, especially as they shrink. 


You say the six chickens on the top grate choked the smoker and kept the heat from circulating.  Two things come to mind.  First, if there was no space between the chickens or around the edges, I could see how it could choke off the air flow.  You shouldn't have that problem with three butts on each grate.  Second, that much meat is a HUGE heat sink, absorbing a lot of the available heat which will drop the smoker temp for quite a while.  When I'm smoking a lot of weight, I let the initial temp get up over 350F before I load the meat.  It isn't unusual to see a 100+F drop with a fully loaded WSM filled with cold meat.


I would NOT wet smoke the butts.  Dry smoke them.  50 lbs of meat is a substantial heat sink.  Adding another 20 lbs of water would just absorb heat that could be better absorbed by the meat. 

post #3 of 5

I second what ray has to say. With that much meat in there you might even think about taking the water pan out. You can always put it back in later if you need it. Without water as a heat diffuser. The sheer amount of material in there should be sufficient to be it's own heat sink.

post #4 of 5

You should be fine. I would leave the pan in empty.

Happy smoken.


post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Right, when I put the 6 chickens on it was my first smoke as I recall and I just laid them all out back side down on the top grate thinking it would be easier to not have to access any on the lower grate.  There really was not much space between or around them.  In hind sight it was really a basic thing to overlook, but such is life.


Sounds like I've got nothing to worry about.  I'll give this a go next time I'm doing bulk.  This just upped my max capacity by 1/3rd.  Thanks guys.

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