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1st Smoke on the 22.5 WSM

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

 

OK...this was my first smoke, baby backs. I used Stubbs charcoal briquettes and hickory for smoke. Set up was the doughnut with a half chimney of red hot coals with 3 chunks of wood. The temp came up quick so I had to close the lower vents 3/4 shut and the top vent the same to get below 250 at the start. The temp bounced between 225 and 240 for the first 2 hours...it was a windy low 70's degree day. Every hour I sprayed them down with a 50/50 mix of water and apple cider vinegar. At the three hour mark, I removed the water pan, sauced the ribs and loaded them on the lower rack for just a few minutes on each side. The result was not expected...some of the ribs were a bit dry, some very juicy and tender. The vinegar ended up being to much, and I think there was to much smoke as well...edible but I can do a lot better. After the smoke, I have questions:

 

1. the lid and the door leaked. I picked up a gasket hit but I honestly dont know if i should continue to use the crappy front door. I only found one aftermarket door on this site...but they are sold out! Need help on locating a new door!

2. hickory may not have been a wise choice, apple or mesquite would probably have dialed it down a bit.

3. too much coal...probably only needed half of what I loaded. I will re-use the leftover coals though. The Stubbs coal has a lot of flavor as is...IMO.

4. Whats the vest way to monitor grill temp? I picked up a Maverick and used one probe to monitor temp, placed about 3inches in from the edge of the WSM. However, if i am using both probes in meat, how should i monitor grill temp and any suggestions on what thermometer to pick up?

5. Is replacing the lid thermometer worth it? The stock thermometer was 24-50 degrees off on the lid.

6. Would it have been better to put half the ribs on the lower grill in the center and the other half on the top rack? Thinking the edge is the hot part, maybe moving them to the middle would even out the hot spots.

 

Long post...but I really want to fire this back up for a second attempt...after mods though! 

 

post #2 of 9

I can't answer all of your questions but I'll share my experiences and research. I have the 18.5 but pretty sure everything is mostly the same except for size. 

 

I have the original door and thermometer as well but I have about 5 smokes or so on my WSM. As you get more and more smokes in, you get more buildup on the door and lid and you see less and less leaks over time. The WSM also tends to run hot for your first several smokes and just needs more babysitting early on to keep temps steady I have found, especially with days that are more windy. 

 

As for wood, it's all about taste. I don't care much for mesquite or apple. I tend to use hickory, cherry, and pecan or some combination thereof. My last ribs I did a cherry/hickory combo. 

 

I'll have to defer to others on your remaining questions.

post #3 of 9
On my phone so overlook my brevity.

1. Temps were fine.
2. Time was a little short. Four hours is better at your temps.
3. Since you bought the gasket kit, install it. It will decrease the leaks. Will help with the door too.
4. Hickory is a strong wood. Mix it 50-50 with cherry or apple.
5. If spraying (I don't), avoid vinegar in the spray. Use something sweet like apple juice.
6. No need to use two food probes. Always use a chamber probe. If you want to track food probes on two different levels, just label them "food top" and "food bottom" at the end that connects to the transmitter, then switch them to check temps. You won't drop link.
post #4 of 9

Seems a bit short on cook time as was mentioned. Most of the time I have top vent 100% open and one of the bottom vents 25% open and the remaining ones closed. It will be erratic your first couple of burns. The dome temp is ok, it will run 25 degrees hotter than the temp on the grate, this is normal. Use apple cider/juice to mop is a good suggestion. Ribs have a built in temperature probe, no need to probe them. I just go until the bones are showing 1/4' to 3/8". I also use hickory on ribs or apple, mesquite will be stronger. 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noboundaries View Post

On my phone so overlook my brevity.

1. Temps were fine.
2. Time was a little short. Four hours is better at your temps.
3. Since you bought the gasket kit, install it. It will decrease the leaks. Will help with the door too.
4. Hickory is a strong wood. Mix it 50-50 with cherry or apple.
5. If spraying (I don't), avoid vinegar in the spray. Use something sweet like apple juice.
6. No need to use two food probes. Always use a chamber probe. If you want to track food probes on two different levels, just label them "food top" and "food bottom" at the end that connects to the transmitter, then switch them to check temps. You won't drop link.

3. Install the gasket on the stock door or wait and get the good replacement door?

6. I had the probe attached to the cooking rack, not inserted in the ribs. 

 

Friend recommended the texas crutch after 2 hours. Anyone doing this?? 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Forgot to mention....no water in the pan. I filled it half way with play sand...foil wrapped the top and bottom with 2 layers.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by badjujumatt View Post

3. Install the gasket on the stock door or wait and get the good replacement door?
6. I had the probe attached to the cooking rack, not inserted in the ribs. 

Friend recommended the texas crutch after 2 hours. Anyone doing this?? 

I like the looks of the aftermarket door. Very solid. The seal works too so smoker's choice what you want to do.

I'm not a fan of baby backs. Spares are so much better IMO, and more consistant. I do crutch BB's when folks insist on the cut. Try to get them as close as possible in weight and thickness.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by badjujumatt View Post

 

Friend recommended the texas crutch after 2 hours. Anyone doing this?? 

 

I'm definitely a fan of the crutch. For baby backs, 2 hours on smoke, 2 hours in HD foil, 1 hour back on smoke.

post #9 of 9

Once you get the hang of your WSM I highly suggest you try leaving the racks of ribs whole, and cooking them un-foiled for the entire smoke. I used to foil mine, but after doing several un-foiled runs I got to where I can get great results that I actually like better than the foiled method.

 

I run at 250 for 5-6 hrs. and check for done-ness using the bend test. No mopping, no spritzing, just ribs, rub, and heat. At the 5 hr. mark I pick up each rack at the thick end, about 1/3 to 1/4 from the end, and lift it straight up letting the rest of the rack bend down. If it bends easily and the end points straight down they are done, if not keep going for another hour.

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