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WSM 18.5 temp control. - Page 2

post #21 of 23
What Drew said!!
post #22 of 23
Use of water is great for low and slow. The reasons given above are valid. The driving force behind is is called "latent heat of evaporation". In physics, heat and temperature are two different things. But, the idea to take away is that water will maintain 212°f until enough heat has been added to cause it to steam. It's just like ice melting. The water stays at 32°f until every little piece of ice has melted. So, water is more of an " active regulator" as opposed to a large low conductivity mass which just slows down the changes.

For my thought process, filling the bowl with sand or rocks or whatever is akin to yanking the thermostat out of your oven and shoving a few hot bricks in it and turning the heat on and off. Just more work in the long run.

So, I use water if I want the low and slow. It takes more practice because you can over fuel it and have rock steady temps but go through fuel like crazy. Or, learn to back the heat down and keep those temps with low fuel usage. Think about a pot rapidly boiling water as opposed to one in simmer. They are both 212°f! One is using a lot more energy to achieve the same temp.

If I need a hot cook, I leave the water out. Just make slow and deliberate adjustments to the vents.

Last thought: sand and planting pots aren't generally good eats and stuff happens...JSNS! (Just sayin' Nuff Said!)
post #23 of 23

I've found with my wsm, that it can easily hold consistent temps for hours without me touching it.  I did get a PartyQ for it this christmas though because I plan on doing overnight cooks from now on for pork butts and whenever I start doing briskets.  It will hold steady for 5-7 hours, but then I have to gradually start opening up the vents a bit to keep the temp up.  Now keep in mind we're talking only one vent cracked open and ending with the same one vent maybe 3/4 of the way open.  I usually shoot for 230-240 to start and don't touch the vent until it drops under 220.  Not a big deal, but now I really don't have to worry about it with the fan.  Only bummer is I've learned that I need to turn the fan off when I open the smoker because it just cranks air into the coals while I'm wrapping or putting temp probes in, and the temp spikes really bad.  

 

To start the thing, I load the sucker up with charcoal and start up about 12 briquettes in my chimney and dump them right in the middle in a divot I've made.  I have the 18.5 inch one and I've had it go without needing a refill for 16 hours.  Probably could have gone longer, but the food was done.  I also have a foil wrapped terracotta dish in the water pan for easier clean up.  Instead of a giant pool of greasy water, I just have to tear the foil off carefully and toss it in the trash.  I haven't noticed any differences in charcoal usage.  

 

My method of changing things was to start with the basics.  I had originally lit way more charcoal than necesssary, and used the bottom vents as instructed with a full pan of water.  After a couple cooks by the book, I then started to change things to what I felt would work best for me.  I hated the nasty water disposal, so I got rid of that.  I learned that I didn't need any more than a dozen briquettes to get the thing going, and I learned what temps the smoker liked to stay at with the vents being adjusted.

 

I think a lot of people overthink things and read too much stuff online about how things be.  Cook for yourself, find out what works for you and what doesn't, what you like and what you don't like and change things until you get to where you want to be.

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