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My improving 18.5"WSM

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

    I'm not saying I am improving my 18.5" WSM but the more I use it the better it preforms. I've used it about 10-15 cooks and have noticed the seal has gotten much tighter after each cook.    

There is still a bit of smoke leakage but it is decreasing with each use. 

   One thing I have noticed is the temperatures.   My last Pork Shoulder cook had virtually all 3 lower vents closed with the upper vent 100% open. That was the stable temp-250

  I could only raise the temp, not lower it   

   I read all these threads that they smoke at 225 for 8-10 hours and reach internal temps of 190+.   I've never had anything close to that.  My last try was a 4# pork shoulder at 250 and it still took 8 1/2 hours.to get to 200    This was a 4lb pork shoulder.   Do larger cuts of meat make that big of a difference?

    The last time I took it off at 201 degrees,   Should I have waited until 205?   There were pockets of slightly tough meat.

 

Thanks for replies.     TB

post #2 of 6

It sounds like you are starting with too big a fire. I have no trouble keeping my WSM in the 215-225 range.

 

Also if you had tough meat the shoulder was under cooked, I take them to 205 & make sure they are probe tender all over.

 

Here is a photo of how I start my WSM for a long smoke.

 

 

Hope this helps,

 

Al

post #3 of 6

First, no two WSMs are identical. With that in mind I will tell you what I do to control temp. I always use a minion method with my fire. I start with all three lower vents open. As the temp approaches 200, I close off two of the vents completely and close the third to 1/2. I then slowly close my third vent as I approach 225. I'll even go so far as closing the vent completely to stall the temperature rise above 225. Once the temp has stabilized, I'll manipulate the third vent to get desired temp. At that point, I'm ready to start cooking.

 

I have found it very difficult to lower temps in the WSM more than 5#-7# once the temp has stabilized, short of completely smothering the fire. Even then it takes a while for the temp to drop.

 

Just for your information there is not a lot of difference between cooking at 225 vrs 250. I will accept stable temps between those values all day long.

 

Your therms are calibrated, right?

post #4 of 6
BBQ Willie and Al have you covered on temps and heat management. As BW mentioned I wouldn't be concerned if your smoking at 250 for a shoulder or butt. I've actually started running my pit at higher temps when cooking pork shoulders-butts. 285-300, gets done faster, usually no stall, and nice tender juicy pork. I don't bother with smaller butts. Everything I smoke is 8-12 pounds and bone-in With 40-50% lose during the cooking, pulling phase I'm not too concerned. If there are leftovers it gets vac packed in small portions for quick reheat sandwiches and meals. For a finish temp I look for the bone to pull free with no resistance. Probe tender in multiple spots. I've had this occur as low as the high 190's and as high as 212.
post #5 of 6

For low-n-slow smoking...

I use the minion method and water in the pan to help maintain a steady "low" temp.

I bring the WSM up slowly to not overshoot. 

Ambient air temp, wind speed and direction guides me in damper control.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Yeah, Yer right about starting out with too many hot coals and letting it get out of hand after it's too late to hit the right marks. I'll keep experimenting  with the amount I start with. It was 20 but next time I'll try 15.  My new favorite meat now is Pork Shoulder I got at Costco. Good price but de-boned.

 

     Thank you all for all your advise. I'm just beginning but have learned so much  since I started.  Thanks again.

 

Terry

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