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Length of time to start smoking after starting lump charcoal

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I am new to the charcoal smoking and I am wondering how long would it take to get the heat consistent before I can start smoking the meat.


Is it right after I start the fire and get it steady at 225-250 or do I wait for it to burn down to embers?  And if so how long does that normally take?


Thanks in advance

post #2 of 19

It usually takes mine about 30 minutes after adding chimney of hot coals to settle into temp and start rolling the TBS.

post #3 of 19

I just watch the therm.  When it hits 225, on goes the meat.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks just bought the Weber Smokey Mountain smoker and burned it yesterday to get the factory seasonings gone and  I am going to attempt a port tenderloin and some chicken drumsticks and quarters tonight.


Figured about 3 hours for them to smoke up to the correct internal temp but was not sure about the prep time.  I'll take some pics if they look good.. lol

post #5 of 19

T, Did you get the 18" or 22"? I like mine very much, a lot of smokers have them on this site. If ya need some more help just ask and all qview is accepted (good or bad) that is how you learn to smoke better.

post #6 of 19

Usually once I dump the lit chimney I give it 10 minutes before assembling the body and adding water to  the pan. Then I watch the lid therm like a hawk and damp it down hard to 3/4 closed on all three bottom vents. Then give it another 15-20 minutes to steady out, should be somewhere between 225 and 250. With lump it is importand to catch the temps as they come up and keep them under controll. If you leave the vents open to long or let it get going to much before putting the body together it can run away from you, then it is an absolute pain to try and get the temps to come back down to where you want them. A buddy of mine competes with some WSM's and a couple times they had the temps get away from them, they had to just dump the entire lit ring out onto a sheet of metal and start over.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

bought the 22.5" model started it and it is running hot trying to get to come down now.. way to hot to start at this point.. no sheet metal to put it on at this point got the dampers shut to cool it down and going to give it a min to see what happens.

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

got it on the downslope.. was all the way up to 337 now down to 312 and dropping I'll get it in the 250 range and adjust the dampers to keep the temp there and then time to throw on the goodies.

post #9 of 19

Ouch... yeah... sorry I forgot to mention that they run a little hot the first couple of smokes, don't know why but they all seem to do that. Lump will get away from you much faster then briquets, but once you get a couple of runs under your belt you will be able to dial it in no problem.

post #10 of 19

My story on them running hot is 1) the are all shinny and stuff on the inside and 2) there are more air leaks until the small nooks and crannies get filled up.  Do you have water or an empty pan?  This makes a dif too!   As far as how long to wait if I am doing a minion burn pretty much right after I get a chimney full of about 20-30 coals.  With Poultry and non minion 20-30 minutes after assembly or so to let the smoke calm down a bit


You know you will be smoking so much food in the next month or two you may need to break down and get a food saver :) !

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

I have a full tub of water in it.. I now have it fully open and it is staying right around 250 by the smokers temp gauge.  The gage I purchased with the two probes is a piece of dirt.  The probe I have lying in the smoker on the top rack is saying my temp is 99 when the probe in the meat is at 127.  It may be me but I dont think it is working correctly or should I have placed it on a piece of wood?


I may look at another probe.  Any ideas about the probe?

post #12 of 19

I think due to mass production some WSM's arrive better sealed than others. Mine I have to close the bottom vents entirely after adding the lit coals from the chimney or it will get out of hand with a quickness but as the seasoning builds it is getting better. Johnny makes a great point about it being much easier to manage temps early while it is still rising rather than trying to tame it back down after breaching 300. The minion method works great for me and I find it easier to control temps from the start by adding only half a chimney of lit coals to get things going. Also make sure your access door is making as good a seal as possible. Once the smoke is rolling you can close all the vents down for a moment and watch where the smoke escapes from, those are your leaks.


On edit: Stick the probe through a potato to ensure it does not touch any metal.

post #13 of 19

Most do put in wood I guess.  You can just stick in the top vent a bit to see if it reasonable.   My Lid temp gauge is off (low 15 deg) as measured in boiling water yours could be high I suppose?  But with poultry there is no scientific reason for low and slow so you will be alright once you get some gunk on that bad boy you will be fine!

post #14 of 19

Oh yes the virtual weber bullet site is pretty good for WSM owners.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

The probe is off It is going off saying my meat is at 150 degrees after only one hour.   I think I will be returing this one.IMG_2593.JPG

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

The two items I am attempting.  Will have to take a pic of the finished product. IMG_2592.JPG

post #17 of 19

Nice looking first smoke you got there. Don't worry to much about the digital probes, the WSM lid therm is one of the very few that is usually good enough to use if you have to. First 4 smokes I did I didn't have a digital probe, so I just checked the meat with an old dial quick read probe when I figured I was getting toward the end of my smoke.

post #18 of 19

I get mine up to 250 then throw the meat on, because when you add meat the temp will drop so by running hot early you can adjust back up. I have found it is easier to adjust up rather then down

post #19 of 19

It all depens on too many variables to give you straight answer to that question. How big of a smoker, how much thremal mass, what kind of smoker, the outside temp etc. etc. etc.


You just look at the temp and when its get to 225 or what ever temp you intend to smoke at it, takes that long under current weather conditions allow extra for colder weather and so on.

FWIW I preheat with briquetts then once it's pretty much up to temp I dump what left of the briquetts on the basket of lump then put the basket in the firebox, put the meat to the smoker and walk away.  The electronic controlled stoker fan takes care of the temp from there on outside of adding fuel and wood chunks from time to time.

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