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Thinking about a WSM 18.5in...would love feedback - Page 2

post #21 of 36

Expanded from above.  These are not my photos, I've swiped them from a google search.

 

The Minion Method says to pour unlit coals in the ring and pour a chimney of hot coals on top. As the hot coals burn out the new coals fire up. The Minion method is much better at keeping the temp steady because it lights new coals as the old ones burn out.  A modification to this is to light the coal with a torch stuck through one of the lower vents.

 

A modified Minion Method is called the Donut. Get a medium sized bag of  briquettes. Fill a Weber chimney half way (40 coals), light them, and wait until they are all coated with white ash. The exact number of coals will vary depending on the brand you use and the weather. Fill the ring with unlit coals into the fire ring, and dig a hole in the center all the way down and about 8" wide forming a charcoal donut. Bury 3 to 4 chunks of wood in the donut at different distances from the center. Then pour the hot coals into the hole. The hot coals begin to burn out after a while but as they do, they ignite the coals near them and the new coals ignite the coals near them so the fire moves from the center to the edges.

 

I prefer the FUSE method for the 22.5 WSM because this unit tends to run hotter than the smaller units (especially when new) and the fuse helps me keep the temp down.  Create a donut as above as in the modified Minion but don’t make a full circle.  Leave about 8" empty so it is a big C shape.  Try to leave the empty space under your thermometer if you have it stuck into the side of the WSM.   IF you really want to steady the temps, you could but bricks or a big stone in the middle to absorb the heat and radiate it back, but make sure that they are fully dry.   I wouldn't want to have a stone explode from steam pressure in my WSM!   Light the end of the FUSE with a weber paraffin cube or two.

 

 

post #22 of 36
I use the "doughnut" (as its called in the example above, I was taught it as the minion method) method to light my 18.5 wsm. Depending on how much of a chimney I put in the middle it will burn between 225-275 for a solid 7 hours with no more fuel, just wood for smoke. I try to bury as much wood in the fuel ring as possible to I don't have to add much later during the smoke.
post #23 of 36
did you end up getting the 18.5 in? i think youll love it.

while youre shopping on amazon, get yourself a maverick et 733. theyre great for long cooks- you can even take naps and the alarm will wake you.

remember to foil your water pan when you use it. i didnt foil mine and it ran out of water and the grease burnt on it :( i think i scratched some of the porcelain coating off while scraping off the burnt fat :(
post #24 of 36

I just bought my 18 WSM and I absolutely love it. It is so easy to use and it produces spectacular results every time.  I cannot believe how easy it is to maintain a low, steady temperature in this thing. I've seen mine burn at 225 for hours and hours without even needing to add more fuel. Imho, you will not find a better, easier to use, bang for your buck smoker than The WSM.

post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by blaw View Post
 

I've looked into the 22in, but I've heard that temperature is hard to control (and get under 275), and you go through a lot of charcoal?


All WSM's run hot when new, after about a dozen smokes all the joints seal up and it becomes easier to run at lower temps. Also counter intuitive to standard thought.... a bigger denser charcoal pile burns slower and longer than a loose partial load in the 22.5" WSM. The small pile gets a lot of air all at once and burns hot and fast where as the larger pile burns at a slower more even rate.

 

I use two basic loads half a ring  for smokes of 10 hrs. or less and a full ring for anything longer. In the summer I can run 22+ hrs at 250° on a 20 lb. bag of charcoal, in the winter I wrap my smoker with a welding blanket and I can get about 18+ hrs on the same load.

post #26 of 36
Thread Starter 

This has provided tons of great information. I was just at Bass Pro Shop this afternoon, saw the 18.5, and think it's going to be perfect. Last question (more of preference) that I have. Lump (wood) charcoal or charcoal briquettes and why? I'm no purist, but want to make sure everything tastes and smells good. 

post #27 of 36

I kept hearing about how great lump charcoal was so I tried a bag and wasn't impressed.  For me it seemed to burn up quick so I went back to regular charcoal.  If someone here likes lump charcoal jump in the discussion.

post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by blaw View Post
 

This has provided tons of great information. I was just at Bass Pro Shop this afternoon, saw the 18.5, and think it's going to be perfect. Last question (more of preference) that I have. Lump (wood) charcoal or charcoal briquettes and why? I'm no purist, but want to make sure everything tastes and smells good. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggie94 View Post
 

I kept hearing about how great lump charcoal was so I tried a bag and wasn't impressed.  For me it seemed to burn up quick so I went back to regular charcoal.  If someone here likes lump charcoal jump in the discussion.

 

Lump tends to burn hotter for a shorter length of time.  This is not what you want when smoking.  A lot of smokers use plain old Kingsford, in the blue bag (KBB.)  It is relatively cheap, and very consistent.  It does tend to make a good amount of ash, and may or may not contain "unnatural" binders.  IF you are worried about that, although people have been using KBB for a really long time with no problems, you can find briquette charcoal "all-natural," with things like corn starch as the binder.  My personal favorite is "Sale," but only for known brands.  I stay away from "discount" or "generic" type brands as they tend to be inferior in terms of quality.  KBB or royal oak are my go-to brands.

 

Kingsford has come out with variations on their blue bag - Competition, hickory, apple, etc.  You can use these, but you will pay more for less, and I haven't noticed a flavor increase in the smoker.  

 

Just stay away from "Match light," or using lighter fluid.  That will give you an off taste.  I do use the Weber Cubes to light and do not notice any flavor from them.  But I don't have the meat on when I light.  I light, get the fire going, close the lid, bring smoker to temp, then add the meat.

post #29 of 36

I have the 14.5 and i love it i want a bigger one but its not in the budget, so i intend on building a 55gal UDS for hopefully around 150. With the exception of full packer briskets and full racks of ribs most things fit easily. As far as the charcoal set up for now i use the regular minion method and i easily get around 6 to 8 hours of constant heat with out having to add charcoal, but i plan on tying the side light method for my next smoke.  

post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post


I still don't understand why people waste fuel and heat lighting a chimney. Especially you the king of the side light method. Probably one of the most efficient ways to light s charcoal smoker. No spent fuel and all the heat remains in the smoker.

I only use a half dozen briquettes in my chimney so no waste of fuel. I do see guys using a whole chimney all the time on here. I also never use it right side up but always upside down. This applies to the kettle as well as the wsm and the drum.

post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by timberjet View Post
 

I only use a half dozen briquettes in my chimney so no waste of fuel. I do see guys using a whole chimney all the time on here. I also never use it right side up but always upside down. This applies to the kettle as well as the wsm and the drum.

Actually you are wasting fuel. Anytime you burn any amount of fuel outside the smoker you aren't taking full advantage of it. Just food for thought.

post #32 of 36
I bought my 22.5 a month ago and love it and and after learning the donut I don't use to much charcoal
post #33 of 36
Thread Starter 

Just pulled the trigger on the WSM 18.5. Excited to get going, and learn how to make some authentic smoked bbq.

 

Thank you everyone for your support and wisdom.

post #34 of 36
enjoy
post #35 of 36
Congrats on the new smoker you will love it
post #36 of 36

Congrats and welcome to the WSM cult Thumbs Up

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